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Summer check-in

May 20, 2012

It’s been awhile since I posted and I thought I would take a moment to do so.  I’m crafting this in a small break time between writing and moving onward to firing up a Sunday grill and dinner.  Please pardon any horrible grammar or typo issues!  I just wanted to get this out there today.

I think I’d really like to review where I stand since kicking off this “Writing Semester” thing back at the first of the year.  Quite a bit has happened and I’ve learned some pretty powerful bits of writerly wisdom.

I’ve mentioned a few here but I’ll re-state them.  First, the writer’s gig is a lot harder than it sounds.  Sitting inside during some of the most amazing Spring days I’ve seen in awhile was one of the toughest things I’ve put myself through.  Secondly, digging down to understand why you subconsciously seem to resist the one thing you want the most is perhaps one of the most exhausting experiences one can have!

Other things learned?  Scheduling is invaluable in trying to get a daily dose of words done.  Another is learning how to say no to people when I should be writing.  I failed at that more than I was successful but I learned how to do it.  This is more than I can say for the first several decades of my life!

The cost of learning that lesson?  I ended up being about three weeks behind my schedule.

The main success?  The goal of getting a short story done, taken through a round of drafts, finished and being ready to start submission by May is still on track.  It’s coming in at about 15K word wise and I can’t wait to get my first rejection notice!  The submission process may not begin till June but, again, I’m closer to it than I’ve ever been before in my life.

I’ll take it as a win.

Another success? I ran smack dab into another story idea.  In resurrecting a short story I’ve wanted to do for a long time, it morphed on me and as of right now appears to be turning into a novel.  I’m happy about it since I love the main character.

I’ve learned a veritable slew of new tactics and ideas to bring into my daily writing.  One of those came from a very dear writer friend who turned me onto a series of podcasts called “Once and Future” hosted by author Anton Strout.  These podcasts are interviews with successful published authors in the very fields I am looking to place my work.  It’s good to hear their stories and, honestly, they’ve inspired me and brought me hope on days I was really struggling.   I’m working my way through the list but each interview opens up my eyes a bit more to the world of writing.

The most surprising thing I found from listening to them?  I’m not as far off track or as behind as I originally had thought!

Ok, so I had a bunch of successes.  Cool.  Now, let’s look at what went wrong.  It’s as crucial a part of the review process as looking at the successes.  Besides the above-mentioned habit of letting myself get a bit sidetracked by other people in the middle of the day, I have to admit that I did not get the horror novel re-write done.  I wanted to do it but every time I started it seemed to just slither and slide away.  Maybe it’s because of it’s Lovecraftian origins?  Maybe because it’s not that good?  It’s caused me to take a very healthy pause about the piece.  Perhaps it needs to sit longer or maybe I really do need to simply start all over from the beginning?  It has a lot of issues and I need to re-evaluate where I am in my time and energy behind it.

Other things –

I didn’t log my time very well.

I was distracted/blocked with my short story, “Spex,” about halfway through the third draft because I couldn’t come up with a solid ending to a scene.  I let it bounce me off track for about a week.

I played around too much with trying to find different writing times instead of sticking with what worked.

I also never really gave a steady effort to finding an “outer office” or somewhere to go that wasn’t my desk in my house.  This was something I really wanted to try and somehow, in all the chaos of what I was doing, fell down on that one.  I’ll be looking into this one in the next few weeks.

Now what?  Well, to be honest, the past several months feel like the first months of a new job or a new semester.  It took a lot of energy to get myself acclimated towards what will NEED to happen and what is simply distraction,  delineating between what works and what doesn’t work.  My aim now is to take that knowledge and to move forward even stronger towards finishing and submitting more pieces.

I want to get more short stories out but I’m struggling with the fact I may be more of a novelist.  The jury is still out and so for the next few months I want to continue to push myself.  I’ll be crafting my new fantasy novel idea from the ground up as well.  Shouldn’t be too difficult as the story has lived in my brain for several years.

Another thing I’m working towards is to actually get some fiction up here for you to read.  I’m considering a series of stories and a character whose home would only be here.  I never wanted this blog to just be me talking about my “thuper theekrit projects” but never getting around to sharing them!   Hopefully, I can change that in the weeks or months to come.

I had one more success over this time period.  As May started to come up hard and fast on me and I was struggling with the craft of edits, re-writes and plotting I had a moment.  I realized that I was deeply in love with this craft.  That taking a piece from a chunk of raw idea and getting it into something that was shiny and pretty and entertaining toggled all of my creative switches.  Even if my time diminishes in the next few months as financial pressures push me towards taking a full time, low paying job, I’m going to keep doing this.

I just don’t think I have a choice in stopping anymore.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Chair Spinner permalink
    May 24, 2012 10:58 am

    I love you. You can do this. Even around a job and family and friends, you can do this. You have SUCH creative and fun ideas, and I know from reading your COH fiction and other stuff you’ve let me peek at that you write stuff that is fun to read. I like reading fun stuff. Go write some.

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