Things I would like to be better at.

Before I get into that, guess what?

You can go buy the new issue of Thuglit with a story by yours truly inside, for kindle (which you can read on your phone or your pc or your actual kindle..fuck yeah technology) for just 99 cents dudes. You can get it in print too. Go check it out here and here’s a bite from my story:

Kiki the Killer was the kind of girl you saw in videos. Dark brown skin, a few scattered tattoos, long braids and a big, high, round, proud ass that she knew what to do with.

The four of them were as rapt as the rest of the crowd.
“Aw shit man, I’d hit that raw dog.”

Also let me mention that Todd did an amazing edit on that story. Another example of why I need a very good editor with a sharp eye.

Oh also if you visit my official author website, you can see all my new work. 

Okay.

While I will say that yes, my editing skills have improved by huge bounds over the years. I wish I was a better editor.  one of my problems is that (no I don’t want to talk about it in depth kthnks) I have a bit of a learning disability and at some point editing just gets too hard for me to do. Being that I did not have the opportunity to deal with it when I was a kid, I have learned to deal with it as best I can but sometimes y’all, some times I just can’t and it’s really frustrating.

Along with that, I do have very bad vision issues and occasionally when I’m overworking myself I plain just can’t see to properly edit.

Also something I can’t really do a lot about.

When I was teaching myself to edit, somehow I got the idea that I should slash and burn. No actually let me put it this way. I did not edit my work so much as I raped, pillaged and burnt it like some kind of conquering mother fucker with emotional problems.

Part of that habit came about because (as you have probably noticed) I am a wordy windbag. I always have been. I recall very vividly having adults tell me as a child that I had a bulky vocabulary and I was not afraid to flex it.  Then along came teachers who were very strict about word counts on things thus, the hack and slash was born.

I have since developed a system for editing. I write a thing, I put said thing away from 1 week to a month. I print out thing, read it on my commute home and make some minor adjustments. Do the best I can with my comma overuse and whatnot. Rinse repeat a few times until I feel like I’m ruining it then I put it away again and do another pass to fix editing burns and then with that done as best I can, I send it out.

So far I am actually pretty pleased with how far I’ve come in terms of dealing with my editorial issues. As they say, practice makes perfect.

Second thing.

I wish I could write on theme when I see one.

I’ve never functioned that way as an author and when I force myself to try, it sucks. However, that issue did birth my habit of having a stash of varied finished things. Occasionally, I see a theme and voila right there in my little folder(s) is just the thing.

Third.

I am working on this but I am still so fucking uncomfortable self promoting. See also my ridiculously terrible at crowd funding/asking for donations. I am so uncomfortable doing it.  Granted I am far better now. Once upon a time (maybe four years ago) I might have put up a link in my personal blog and sent a link to a few friends but that was it.  I am miles beyond where I was. This is one of those things that honestly I have to work really hard on. I have to brute force my way through feeling proud/embarrassed/like I’m being annoying to promote my work.

The point here is that sometimes I have to remind myself that I have come a long way from the days of my secret scribblings on paper that I often later burned or flushed. I have come a long way from crying into precious pint lit journals that I bought with saved up lunch money.

I wish I could go back and tell baby Shannon writer that she would get better. Some people would read her work and that it was okay to struggle and cry through it. It was okay. It felt terrible and was so fucking hard but, baby self it was worth it.

Now if y’all will excuse me.

OH wait no one more thing.

So if you tumblr you can follow this thing I made where I reblog/post visuals that I find inspiring. I honestly suggest doing something like this if you are a visually oriented type like I am. Right here. Enjoy!

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6 thoughts on “Things I would like to be better at.

  1. Tapati McDaniels

    Oh god I hear you on both the wordiness and the eyesight. I used to be a great copy-editor at least but now have cognitive issues that make it difficult and I am just figuring out workarounds. But my eyesight is also failing with age and cataracts (not yet bad enough for the surgery). BIG PRINT IS OUR FRIEND. I can’t even try to edit unless I print it out in a larger font.

    I have been self conscious about how wordy I am for years. I never know quite how much to remove or leave in. SIGH.

    I am so glad you kept pushing yourself even when you didn’t think you could or maybe even should. It’s always easy for others to see that you deserve self promotion and so difficult to believe it for yourself. I was taught not to brag and self promotion seems like bragging. It is possible to over do it, but few women actually do. We mostly go the other way. (My definition of overdoing it is spamming every blog you know in comments, for example, or inflated bios that are not truthful.)

    Good editors are worth their weight in gold and don’t often get the attention and validation they deserve. They are like the brownies that clean homes in the middle of the night, eat the food you left for them and are gone by day.

    Great idea to keep a file of things to plug into themed issues!

    LOVED the new story. I’m liking the rest of the issue, too.

    1. Thanks Tapati 🙂 It’s really a beautiful thing to look back and make myself realize I’ve come a long way. It’s pleasing.

      I started working in a larger font, that actually helps a lot for me. Especially since I tend to not use special formatting for the most part. I work and edit in 16pt then submit in the standard 12 or 14 depending on what editor want.

  2. A lot of writers have this thing where they feel bad about not being so great at editing.

    The thing is this, though: being equally proficient in both is not as common as one might think.

    There are lots and lots of writers who are excellent writers but aren’t all that great at editing, and vice versa. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s really normal to be better at one than at the other and that people all over the intertubes need to stop feeling like that’s a deficit. There’s this misconception floating around that if one can write very well then one should be able to edit very well; that’s like saying that if you know how to speak English very well (or whatever your language is), then you should be able to write it very well. Or that if you know how to fuck, then you know how to write a good sex scene. And we all know that’s not the case.

    Congratulations on Thuglit, too, seriously. I once bought a Thuglit antho purely because it contained a story with the title “A Flood Of Mexican Porn Star Tits.” And it was worth every fucking penny, too. 🙂

    1. It’s such a mystery thing to me. I see a lot of editors of zines express the total opposite thought, that if you think you’re a good or great writer you have to be a good or great editor.

      My gut feeling is that not all of us can be both. My own issues aside. I’ve always found it to be one of those uncomfortable spaces to talk in because…reasons I suppose.

      Thanks on the congrats. I’ve been such a huge fan of them for years. I was so tickled to make it in I can’t even say how much.

      1. Your gut feeling is my gut feeling, as well.

        I think that being a good or great editor certainly helps one become a better writer; I know that once I started editing things in addition to writing things, it made me see the things I was writing in new ways (sometimes to my detriment—trying to write while locked firmly in editor mode is both exhausting and irritating).

        But, in my experience, there is a lot to be said for the person who is amazing at one thing but needs to delegate out the rest of the things. I think that within our media culture, it is no longer impressive to be amazing at just one thing. You can’t just be the most amazing singer in the history of ever; you have to be a songwriter too. To be legitimately awesome, you have to be like Broadway, able to sing and dance and act.

        The people out there who are editing zines are the Broadway kids of the literary world. They can write well, and edit well, and design the layout of their zine; sometimes they do covers and graphics too, if they’re printing any hard copies. They’re dealing with each other (if it’s more than one person running the show) and with writers and with the general reading public. It’s a lot of work. Running a zine is absolutely not for everyone.

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