Publish or Die! Part 11: That’s a whole lot of blood for nothing.

November 17, 2009

“You should leave Brown Girls alone for awhile,” Viking Woman advised me the other day, “and work on your other novels instead. See if you can’t get those ones published.”

Yeah, good one, honey. Because, after 20 years as journalist, being reduced to washing soiled knickers in a seniors’ residence isn’t humiliating enough. Now you want me to return to banging my head against the front gate of the Ivory Tower of Publishing? I’ve done that for a dozen years now — I have so much disappointment stored up, I could bottle and sell the stuff.

I have a confession to make: I only write for money. That’s why I made such a good reporter — if someone paid me the big bucks, I’d put my blood and soul on the page for them. I’ve worked the equivalent of several months’ worth of unpaid overtime to polish those words into precious nuggets of stories. Pay me every two weeks and I’ll die for you. Or, at the very least, type very fast.

In basic terms, money = words. No money = I’ll be over here in front of the TV.

Except that isn’t how it works when it comes to publishing a book, is it? In that business, you put your blood and soul on the page and all you get in return is a stain on that page where the literary agent spilled his coffee when his secretary used a bit too much teeth while administering her boss’s morning blow job.

Simply put, I’m a mercenary. I don’t possess a burning desire to write. I don’t have words bulging out of my brain demanding to be committed to paper. I’m not awakened in the middle of the night scrambling for a pen because a fully-formed plot arc burst forth from a dream like one of those Alien chest-bursting things.

Writing is hard slogging and I like to be rewarded for my efforts. I once had a student job where I was paid at the end of each workday and loved it. It’s all about instant gratification, baby. I want it all and I want it now is, I believe, how Freddy Mercury once put it.

Even this blog was started with the idea of scoring cash via Google ads. Except, according to my sources, only one blogger in the entire world — Heather B. Armstrong — actually makes any serious money from ads on a blog site. That’s because she’s not afraid to — figuratively speaking, of course — put her vulva on display for her fawning mommy fans. And, one suspects, because her husband spends his time using random computers to log in 50,000 times a day. Lucky bitch.

So the only reason I bother writing this blog at all is to embarrass my children and leave a legacy for their offspring. Good ole Gampy Bitemymoko, they’ll all reminisce one day, he sure was a miserable old fart. But cuddly in a lumpy sort of way.

Having the tenacity and the ambition to stick to a writing routine no matter what the future of the project is why I admire my UK friend at This English rose is participating in the annual NaNoWriMo competition. I’m not quite sure how that abbreviation rates on my Lame Scale, but it stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal, according to, is to complete a 175-page (50,000 words) novel between 12:01 a.m. Nov. 1 and midnight Nov. 30.

NeToWriGir (as I like to call my UK friend) is keeping track of her daily output in her November blog postings and, to date, appears to be doing her best to bang off the 1,667 words she’ll need to average each day to reach her goal. I have no idea what her novel is about but maybe, if I send e-chocolates, she’ll let me read it when it’s finished.

While I wasn’t involved in a competition at the time, that’s pretty much how I wrote the first draft of Brown Girls. My goal was to average 1,000 words a day and thus be finished in 120 days. I maintained that average for several long stretches at a time, amazing myself in the process because I don’t nornally tend to be very disciplined, especially when it comes to coffee and O’Ryans sour-cream-and-onion chips.

In the end, it took me some 270 days to finish the book, but that included a number of drafts and several weeks of editing and snipping and polishing.

Was it worth nine months of my time? My bank account would issue a resounding no. But I (and several others, including the Langley library) now own a book with my name on it. When it comes to having your ego stroked, nothing feels better (and you won’t spill your coffee in the process).

Should I turn my attention to the Brown Girls sequel and the other five or six novels I have stored on my computer in various stages of completion? I’m going to say yes.

And I’m going to start tonight — right after I check what’s on TV.


You can buy Brown Girls at


One Response to “Publish or Die! Part 11: That’s a whole lot of blood for nothing.”

  1. newtowritinggirl said

    From someone who has read the 1st Novel, I definitely say – YES! Carry on with the next Brown Girls! And hurry up about it, I’m looking forward to it (no pressure, honest!)! 🙂

    I like my abbreviation. If all this abbreviation thing is going on, should you therefore be BiMyMo? I actually quite like that!

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