Jan. 8th, 2009

desayunoencama: (Default)
I generally think of myself as a pretty easy going guy, and I'm also often game for what people propose to me (I'm taking literarily right now) since it's flattering to be asked and my creative stomach is invariably larger than my myopic eyes. (Doesn't it always seem like a good idea at the time...??)

I've had a busy 24 hours just now rejecting assignments and gigs. It's not something that comes easily to me. For one thing, I've been a full-time freelancer for over a decade, and it's hard not to accept every gig that's offered to you, from the dual fears that if you turn them down you'll never be offered another assignment from them again and the usual anxiety about lost potential income (no matter how large or small said income might be).

Especially with the tight financial outlook across the board, it was even harder to turn down a paid writing assignment, and especially for an anthology (I have a history if not an obsession of appearing in anthologies). But I am glad I did it.

It is a question of two main things: one, I don't have the physical time to write the story, especially since it would require me to do research that I don't have the time to do just now.

And two, it's not something that I find I write easily, at least not any more.

I used to write a lot of fantasy and science fiction, but I haven't really done so in many years and those muscles have atrophied. (I haven't even written much fiction, period, over the past few years, although I'm starting to flex those muscles again.)

I've changed over the years, and what and how I write has changed.

Knowing what is a good match for the current writerly-me and what isn't is an important step, as difficult as it might be at times to look past the spectre of the me-who-used-to-be.

I'm glad I did turn the gig down on general principal--and even moreso since some new translation assignments fell into my lap today. (A 4,000 word article and another article to come, extra bit for one of my current translation gigs.)

Considering that the anthology assignment would only have paid 6 US cents (4.3 centimes in Euros) per word, and these translations pay 11 centimes (15 cents US) per word... it behooves me to do the translations, in what time I have between trips and other obligations.

Aside from which, the fiction would've been more difficult to write, whereas the translations, while not EASY, are almost relaxing. There isn't the same sort of performance anxiety in translating as there is in writing, it's often stimulating in the way that solving a word game can be (at least for a word nerd like me).

The deadline for the story was not until the end of the month, but knowing that I wouldn't be able to do it, I wrote to the editor yesterday, explaining the situation and regretfully bowing out of the project, hopefully with time enough for them to look elsewhere to fill a gap if need be.

Next week I will be in Barcelona, where I will be doing a number of events to promote two new books in Spanish.

And one of the other things I canceled today was a talk I was going to give next week in Barcelona.

I have been frustrated for some time not to have the details of when and where the event will be held, especially since I'd nailed down the other events I'm doing weeks ago--time enough to make sure they were included in the monthly literary agendas for January, all of which had early closing dates because of the Holidays.

I was in touch with the person who in theory was organizing this (extra) talk with plenty of lead time, but he's just dragged his feet about getting back to me and when he does answer any of my questions about the event, he still hasn't nailed down these details (or at least, has not provided them to me despite my point blank asking him to do so).

Now, on the one hand, the event is a potential venue for me to reach a different audience, or a different subset of an audience, and to possibly sell some books.

At the same time, it's not an event I'm being paid for so the value of the event is in generating publicity.

And at this point, said value is pretty low, given how non-publicized the event is a week before it is to happen.

And the general lack of enthusiasm (not to mention lack of responsiveness) of the organizer isn't making me want to bend over backwards to accommodate him either.

So when I didn't get a response to yet another request for the exact time and location of the talk--so I could at least promote it myself, here on the blog, on facebook, etc.--I wrote to the organizer and canceled it.

It was hard for me to overcome my instinct to try and amortize the trip as much as possible, overbooking myself with events and commitments, etc.

I think I did the right thing.

Having an extra "free" night now in Barcelona will give me time to see friends and acquaintances in a less-pressured and frantic setting than the events I am doing.

Or not do anything.

It's easier to say no to something because you have something else to replace it with. But it's sometimes good (or even necessary) to say no to something just because it's not a good match for you.

Maybe slowly, and maybe late (since I'd already said yes in each of these instances), but I'm learning.

Learning when to say no.
desayunoencama: (Default)
OK, I think it's sort of pathetic that as a way of relaxing from (and procrastinating working on) a revision to some translations I did last week, I went and translated 2000 words of the new article that I was sent today.

{sheepish grin}

But I enjoy the rough translation much more than the editing/revision process. Feh!

I've been up since far too early this morning, since I had to visit the U.S. Embassy so they could add more visa pages to my passport, but I guess it's been a productive day, all told (aside from the above translation, I also read half a novel while at the Embassy waiting for them to return my expanded passport).

I've got only two more pages to revise on one of the articles--and then to input all the corrections. Will email it to the editor tonight and then go collapse.

The other article to be revised can wait until tomorrow.

(Although I may also want to take in the laundry since the weather report is saying snow again tomorrow... not that they're often accurate lately, but... BRR!)


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Lawrence Schimel

July 2009

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