Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year from One Tired PodPeep -- c.anne.gardner

Any resolutions folks? I have a few, though I don't really believe in making resolutions on The New Year. Too much pressure to perform, and for me, making resolutions is all part of the process of living. We are continuously running up and down the twelve steps in an attempt to become better more enlightened and happy people. Resolutions are all part of the deal, and so here are some of mine:

1. Quit smoking. I don't smoke that much: 1/2 a pack a week, and I only smoke on the weekends, but I really need to put an end to it once and for all. This goes along with keeping my weight stable, eating healthy, and continuing my daily running regime. Problem is: I like to smoke. Especially on Sunday’s when I am in full blown writing mode.

2. Blog at the Podpeople for another year. Let's face it: I am getting tired: reviewing is exhausting work, and it gets frustrating hearing yourself talk all the time, not to mention that some of the submissions we receive are astoundingly bad. Admittedly, I have begun screening my review books with a more stringent eye, and I am taking a lot longer to read and review the ones I do accept. This has helped a lot, as I have read some really excellent stuff this year by some very talented writers, but sometimes I flounder for things to say on a regular basis, article wise, that I haven't ranted on a millions times already. I love giving to the Indie community, and have met a ton of wonderful people over the years, but sometimes the me-centric attitude from Indie writers can get to be a bit much. We had to retract a review for the first time this year because the author "didn't like it" according to her publicist. Even though it wasn't one of my reviews, that sort of thing doesn't sit well with me. The reviewer took the time to read the book and labour over a very lengthy review only to have the author act like an ass-hat. I could make a million really nasty and snarky comments about the situation, but it is the New Year, so I'll just say that if the Indie community wants people to review their books then they need to get a bit more Zen about the whole process. The number one reason bloggers state for lack of interest in reviewing self-published books is that the authors are immature jerk-offs, and that is second only to the crap quality of the books received. The universe doesn't revolve around your book, or my book, or anyone else’s book, for that matter, and while snarky reviews aren't my cuppa, and some get way out of hand, glowing gold star please-refrain-from-eating-the-paste reviews don't do anyone any good at all, either. I mean let's be completely candid here, this is a second job for me, one I don't get paid for. I am honest as are Chris and Emily, so if you are just looking for a glowing review, you might want to go pay for one because it's no guarantee at the Podpeople. That's the price of honesty, and some people must like it because our review queue is backed up out the door. Note: this is my last Rant of the year, and as a second note, we will not be retracting reviews in the future, so if you can't take critical commentary, please do not submit your book to us for review.

3. Finish my current manuscript and get it out in print. I am looking at Halloween 2011, but my resolution for 2009 was not to rush anything creative anymore. That is an active resolution because I am such a Type A nut bag that sometimes I feel the need to masturbate with timetables and lists instead of just rocking back and forth, drooling in the corner, while letting creativity get the better of me. I am a work in progress that way. I always feel the urgent need to set deadlines I know I can't make. This is why I am not and will never be a career writer. My muse doesn't work well with deadlines.

4. I have begun sculpting again, and I want to devote more time to that. I love writing, mind you, but there is something about using your hands and your creative mind in unison that is more fulfilling for me. Don't know why, it just is, and I have neglected the sculptor and the painter in me for far too long. I am one of those artists who can't focus on one process for too long, otherwise I stagnate and my muse shuts down on me. Sure, each story is new with new challenges, but the process of writing is the same, and if I don't take periodic breaks from it, it becomes an exercise in tedium instead of a passion. Oh and that would be the second reason why I will never be a career writer: My muse is fickle. The little bird is just one of many sculpting projects I have been working on over the past weeks. Cement is not the easiest medium to work with, but I am liking the results very much.

5. Make a conscious effort to "unplug" more often. I think the interwebz is the best and the worst thing to happen to humankind in a long time. Best because it eliminates the distance and worst because its a distraction that has made us lazy and illiterate. I unplug on the weekends now anyway, but in the New Year and moving forward, I plan to extend my time away from the matrix and all its white noise.

So, what about you? I did have a resolution to get readers to comment more, but that is completely out of my control and I don't think posting naked will have any effect besides grossing people out. I enjoy comments, but I rarely comment on blog posts myself. I'm just shy that way for the most part, and I don't like getting into the fray much. I am not really good with the lynch mob mentality or the shout it at the top of your lungs opinion sharing thingy. Others mileage will vary, but I do like replying to comments when I have the time, so I hope to see more interaction here. If there is a topic you want to discuss, feel free to send it along. We are always open to guest posts about the art of writing or the publishing industry. We love opinion pieces. Lord knows we are vocal enough on our own. We will be continuing the weekly Indie Page 99 column as well as the My Story Interview column and my Thoughts on The Craft, providing I continue to have any.

So Happy New Year Everyone. We, The Podpeople: Chris, Emily, and I wish you much happy reading and writing in the new year.

Cheryl Anne Gardner

The Art this week is: Midsummer's Dream by David Robert Hughs. I like it as my version of watching fireworks.


Shannon Yarbrough said...

Couldn't agree with you more, especially on #2 and #5. You'll see me cutting back at LLBR next year to devote more time to my own work. #5 happened a bit this year for me when I left Facebook (twice). Now that I'm back - again - I'm already bored and find myself checking it less and less. My own personal blog is even suffereing from my absence, but I really don't care. I'm enjoying being unplugged.

Happy New Year!

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

I don't spend a whole lot of time on Facebook. Once in the morning and then once at lunch, so maybe I am on it 15 minutes total during the day. Enough for me to check on the news and everyone's status, make a few comments, cross post the blog stuff. I'd rather focus my online time on the blog and the review books.

DED said...

I have begun screening my review books with a more stringent eye, and I am taking a lot longer to read and review the ones I do accept.

Over at Podler Reviews, we screen out the submissions that are in obvious need of an editor. For the rest, we try to stick with stories that grab us. We don't have the staff to review everything that comes in (and we've had to close to most genres for a while until we're caught up on the backlog). Unfortunately, we have to reject a lot, even well-written stories, but if reviewing stories becomes a chore then it's just another unpaid job and we'll quit.

The only resolution I've set for 2011 is to finish writing the rough draft of my next book.