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.