Eyes on Copy

When I was in high school, I took Typing 101 (now my daughter is in high school, taking Keyboarding). We learned to type on huge metal Underwood monstrosities, with keys that actually needed force to depress, rattling carriage returns, and clanging warning bells as one approached the margin. Our typing teacher had the disconcerting habit of creeping up behind you during timed exercises and screaming “eyes on copy!” in your ear if your eyes happened to stray from what you were typing to the keys or your work. This invariably resulted in fingers being jolted off the home row and at least one line of sbdp;iyr honnrtodj nrgptr upi trs;oxrf ejsy jsf js[[rmrf/

However, this morning I am considering another meaning of “eyes on copy,” after listening to the latest episode of Writing Excuses during my morning walk. The topic was “Strategies for Getting Published” or in other words, getting eyes on your copy. Editors’ eyes, readers’ eyes–really, anyone’s eyes.

It’s a great episode, covering the various uses of social media, approaches NOT to take with submissions, and both caveats against and ideas for trying something new. (If you’re an aspiring or struggling writer, especially in the speculative genres, you really should be listening to this podcast. It’s like a master class in genre writing.)

One comment, however, particularly resonated with me, stuck as I am right now (as I always seem to be) in the rut of trying to figure out how to balance writing, writing-related activities, and ROML*. Brandon and Howard, sort of together, said the most important thing is still to have great writing, and lots of it.

Great writing. And lots of it.

That seems to be where my planning always falls down. I think I do have good–sometimes even really good–writing. But I’m not doing enough of it. I am always struggling to keep writing at the top of the priority list for myself and for those around me. Writing at home–really, doing any job from home–is a very difficult job for other people to take seriously because they think your time is flexible and unstructured. And on my part, it’s very easy to get caught up in many things that are writing-related and relevant to my writing career–but not actually writing. Another meaning of “eyes on copy”–keep focused on what you’re doing.

Great writing. Lots of it. Eyes on copy.

I’d better get to it.

*the Rest of My Life
**Thanks to mconnors for the great typewriter photo

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