That One Time I Started a Publishing Cottage in the Middle of 2020

This is a weird little post thingy, mostly to let you know I’m still alive and kicking, but in brainstorming it I’ve realized a pretty important lesson: writers need rest just as much as the next person… but I won’t be getting any in the next few weeks or so.

Oftentimes I feel like a fraud when I dwell upon how much of my day goes into reading other people’s (mostly romantic) fiction, or putting together jigsaw puzzles, or knitting alongside season two of a US reality show I’m not going to name for obvious reasons. Since I’ve literally become a part of a two-person publishing operation two weeks ago (yay!), and since we’re releasing three separate things in October alone (luckily, only one of them’s a novel), lately, rest has been… elusive. And, in the next two weeks, NaNo starts. I already have a short novella planned for publishing in December, and I’ve only just started writing it.

In all the ruckus about getting the first few releases ready I came to the inevitable conclusion that writing, editing, copyediting and revision is fucking hard work, when you’re doing it with publishing in mind and a solid deadline in place. It’s incredible how easily procrastination goes out of the window when you answer only to yourself and your partner in crime. I could’ve opened a new puzzle this past Sunday morning, but I spent it putting the final few touches on Antonija’s What do Nightmares Dream of at basically the same time its author was going through my copy editing suggestions in a different part of the document. By the time we were done, I’d already gone through several soundtracks (best of Queer as Folk, a little of CW’s Nancy Drew and basically the whole Zooropa album—talk about bringing back memories!) and was ready to give up for the day. I’d forgotten how much work line editing (we do it together with copy editing since there’s just the two of us for now) is.

Of course, the weird part is that I started writing this post as my break. A busman’s holiday, as Holly Lisle once called it. (Hey, there were only so many books about writing you could get your virtual hands upon in the 2000s in Croatia.) I’m holding my winter novella (a self-indulgent tie-in for Johnny’s Girls, with a background couple as the MCs) as a just-out-of-reach carrot over my own head this autumn. By the time I find the actual time to write it, it’ll already be November. Dammit.

So. Writing’s a marathon, not a sprint, yeah? And getting shit published is… I dunno. I don’t even have a comparison to use. It’s always weird when I remember that my favourite book series of all time has been getting published, slowly, for longer than I’m alive. (And the most recent book, just a few years ago, made me rethink everything I thought I wanted to do with my writing in total, so there’s that, too.) That’s what being a writer means to me, I guess.

I’m rambling. I still want to share.

One of the things which have started coming up to the forefront of my mind almost every day in the past few weeks is the following line from Hadestown (go straight to Youtube without your supper if it’s a new title to you): and our work is never done / and the war is never won.

For the first time in my whole life I know that most of what I write, in the next year, will get published. There will be no more waiting for people’s feedback. No more excuses—we need to pay our fucking taxes even if we make absolutely zero money in the whole year. (No worries, we enrolled in the cheapest option available nationally where we live.) No more ‘oh, but I want to write that new trilogy, not the sequel to my already started series’ (at least not during the next six months or so). 

What you see is what you get. What we do is what we get.

And suddenly, there is so much to do. Even with the stuff we’re definitely on top of (like, say, most of our social media), we need to do it every day. A lot of things will be getting easier with time (there are only so many times I can fill the W8BEN form in my life, right?), and a lot of things harder. Planning novels and stories (and keeping my shorter fiction options open) is scary, right now. Once we get to the next story which will need more research, which always slows me down, it’ll be even scarier.

So, what I’m going to do is turn the old U2 albums up even louder, cue the next episode of iWriterly, take out the fucking jigsaw puzzle, and forget there’s ever been such a thing as the a and the distinction, and past perfect. I’ve fallen in love with past perfect in the past few weeks, but dammit, it’s hard being an editor responsible for the details in your second language. (Croatian is hard enough. Don’t get me started on Croatian.)

My work, at least for this morning, is done. Thanks for sticking around, nice chat, gotta go. See you next Wednesday.

(Also: there are just two more weeks left before NaNo!!!)

Photo by Max Felner on Unsplash.

One response to “That One Time I Started a Publishing Cottage in the Middle of 2020”

  1. […] of a pandemic is hard. Not impossible—but way, way harder than my enthusiastic, too-optimistic, recently-turned-publisher self could’ve predicted. Creative work is both work and creative, and no matter what literature […]

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