Today is the first day of autumn in the northern hemisphere, spring for those in a more southern clime. Here in the north, the air is crisp, the trees starting to change into their fall colors, gardens being put to rest for the winter, clothes changing from light and airy to warm and cozy. It's also time to put away the iced tea and get out the mugs for warmer drinks like cider, chai, cocoa.
And since it is a time of change, I am also changing. I've already taken the first step by channeling my website to this blog instead of trying to keep up with a blog, myspace, facebook, website, and all the other places I'm on. It's a small thing, but it's one less thing to remember to update.
Other changes I'm making - some of them personal that I will not discuss here, but some of them dealing with my writer life. I admit I've been slacking of late. Okay, not if you look at my statistics over the summer, but it feels like slacking to me. So I am working on that by challenging myself to write every day. And to read more books on the craft. And take more classes - like the one I'm currently taking - in order to improve my skills.
But I also want to read more books for fun. I haven't done that in a long time. Oh, I read a lot - but mostly for critiques or reviews or judging or some other reason because I have to. I want to read a book because I want to. But I also know I don't have time to waste on books I don't care for. I just added two books to my "give away" pile because I couldn't get past the first chapter. I loved the blurbs on the back and, for one of them, picked it because she is a favorite author. But there was so much back story and narrative - nothing was happening. They were introducing the characters and setting up the worlds, but in both cases, it was like reading a textbook. "Here is the history of Land A and why the people are the way they are." I was incredibly bored. So without even going further, I added them to my discard pile. A few years ago, I'd have struggled on to find that nugget that I'm sure is there. But not now. I simply don't have the time.
And now I understand what editors and agents go through. The book has to grab me within the first ten pages or I'm not going to continue.
So another change I will be making is checking out my own manuscripts to see if that "nugget" is there in the beginning, and not half-way through.
"A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way." - Caroline Gordon