Where’s the Reset Button?

My apologies, this is a convoluted goals update...

My apologies, this is a convoluted goals update…

Have you ever put a significant amount of work into a project just to discover that, somewhere along the line, you took a wrong turn and need to reset everything back to the way it was?

I had at least one student do that today during their final exam. They had to take an Access database and perform a list of additions and modifications. If you’re not familiar with MS Access, it is often truly simpler and easier to restart than it is to fix whatever mess you’ve created.

I spent April on blog hiatus. I attended my first writer’s conference (about which I’ve already blogged and will blog some more) It’s been just over two years of writing seriously with intent to create a career, and I have several small pieces published.

I don’t need to reset to an earlier status, but I do need to set myself in some direction that has purpose and makes sense. I’ve been going—not in the wrong direction—but in too many directions. I went from working steadily on my novels to chasing short stories and back to the novels again. I was kermit-flailing all over, and not necessarily in a good way.Kermit Flail

The one big certainty is that I must submit. It’s not as important what I submit as it is important that I do submit, preferably frequently. I need to collect rejection slips (Lord help me, I have a thin skin…) and put myself out there more.

What I’m not so certain about is exactly how to divide my energies. Tuesday was the end of the semester for me, so I’m done teaching for now. In September it gets even better because I don’t usually teach in the fall semester and my youngest child will finally be in all-day kindergarten. I will have more discretionary time.

I have both short stories and novels to work on.

I need and want to get my Pangalactic Sojourners series (5 books) out there. Firstly, it means a lot to me that there be Quiltbag Christian Romance written as simply sweet, maybe just a little steamy, stories of two people of faith falling in love.  Secondly, an editor expressed interest, and that is a HUGE impetus for a writer to finish. Yes…finish. I’ve almost finished book one and I’ve written a significant portion of book two. I have books three, four, and five roughly outlined.

Short stories are still a good idea. For one thing, I can write a short in just one night, or a few nights for the longer works. I’ve found that the markets are much more numerous than I originally thought. If I send out twenty stories and only one is accepted—huzzah!—I have an acceptance!

I’ve definitely grown and improved as a writer in the last couple of years. But I still have trouble differentiating between my own diva-behavior and genuine needs. Uninterrupted time is invaluable. But does that mean I shouldn’t even bother trying to write if I know I’ll be interrupted? Sometimes yes. Sometimes it ends in tears and frustration if I try to force my way through. I’ve listened to other writers describe their writing habits. Some, when working on a novel, push hard and get the first draft out in as short as time as possible; a few weeks or months. This appeals to me, and I think it will work well. But is it practical? I won’t know until I try.

The remaining question is with my Steampunk stories. Admittedly, they’re foremost in my brain at the moment. I used the first page of Give Me Your Answer Do (my Steampunk Mermaid story) as my sample for critique at the conference. What it has going for it: it is finished (the first draft) and it is fun! And quite a few of my friends and followers would love to see it published. What it has going against it is that the anthology I thought I would submit it to may not be the right fit after all. Namely, it is too long. I am able to cut the story back, and I’ve done so, but it is more appropriate for this story to be around 10k. The other thing against it is that I have not read nearly as much Steampunk as I should before I can believe my own story is true to the genre.

So…I’m still figuring out how to divide my concentration between the Steampunk novellas, the Pangalactic Sojourners, and the shorts. I might try spending a few days a week on the novels, and a few on the shorts. I may put aside the novels until I can dedicate a few solid work weeks to them. I don’t know.

With the blog, there will definitely be some differences. I have been doing a SciFi Question of the day post every Tuesday, a ROW80 update every Wednesday, and an interview every Friday. I’ve been trying to add to the Pangalactic Sojourners Blog regularly, but that hasn’t happened lately. I am going to cut back a little because I’ve been spending too many hours on the blog and I need to spend more on actual writing. I will do either an interview or a SciFi Question of the Day post every Friday. Some of my best writer-relationships have grown from the interviews, so I’ll keep that up. The SciFi Question of the Day posts aren’t very popular, however the original questions on social media are very popular. I’ll definitely keep those up. I’ll still post an update every Wednesday, and I may add the occasional rambling post on some other topic. One thing I will add is to post more frequently in the Pangalactic Sojourners Blog. This is the time in which the stories theoretically take place, and the blog will be a great bonus-feature to the books someday.

I haven’t officially jumped into this Round of Words in 80 Days. I’m still not sure what my tangible goals are going to be. Check back next Wednesday… I’ll let you know.

About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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7 Responses to Where’s the Reset Button?

  1. Natalie Cone says:

    I have done that so many times! Especially with my my project called Hybrid.

  2. Eden says:

    Sounds like you’re trying to take pieces of several different puzzles and try to make a new mosaic design from them, AmyBeth. Not a bad idea, but certainly a challenging one. I wish you luck with it.

    Just a thought on your posts… I always wondered about the SciFi Question posts, as they are fun, but they don’t draw me in much. Perhaps it’s the fact that people (I) would rather find the appropriate thread on their (my) social media choice and participate in the discussion more directly? 😉

    • People definitely prefer to find the thread on social media and participate in the discussion directly. I’ve had many people mention that they’re following me primarily because they either like to participate in or read the SciFi Question of the Day. Turning the best Q into a blog post is more my way of encapsulating and keeping the best discussions, since they (by their nature) disappear off into the feed soon after they’re posted. But a funny thing often happens…I post the link to the blog post, and a bunch more people who missed the original question end up commenting on the LINK to the discussion, and continue it on even further!

      • Eden says:

        I can see that happening… though technically these posts never disappear (even on G+, though I know that’s harder to track down older posts on than Facebook); it’s just a matter of knowing where to look for them. Facebook has everything archived in the history…

        As for posting on the posts… Well, yeah…. 😉

  3. alberta says:

    Chosing the right path is a tease sometimes, but moving foward or sideways is often the way. Shedding a coat here in the sun adding one in the rain – it’s a balancing act – all the best for whatever you choose to do:)

  4. shanjeniah says:


    Although my kids have never been to school, I found that, when my youngest was 5, I began to have more writing time as her physical needs shifted, and there was less immediacy. So whatever you do now, may change dramatically once the new school year begins.

    Have you considered working on the shorter and/or less intense things during times when you might be interrupted. My children are now 8 and 11, but I still tend to focus on things that are easier to lay aside while they are awake, and might need me, and to save my noveling for when they are asleep or looking like they will be engaged and not needing me for a while.

    In a way, that ensures a balance, since each day brings both types of opportunities…

    It sounds like you are in a very good place, whether you choose to ROW officially or not. Knowing that you need a direction to move in is a good step toward finding that direction.

    In the meantime, may your summer be lovely and productive! =)

  5. Pingback: Try a Little…Acceptance: ROW80 Update, May 12, 2013 | shanjeniah

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