What Am I Doing Here Anyway
Back in 2004, I went to Odyssey. Before that, I had had published some genre stories on internet zines (Jackhammer E-Zine was one that bought several of my stories). I wrote a terrible* SF novel that is somewhere in one of the PODs and I should use it as kindling because I will never ever let anyone read it anyway. I wrote another thing that paid me okay, but it is hidden and will never be found.
Then I went to Odyssey and relearned what I was doing.
Then I took a few years to get through divorce and raising teenagers and life events.
I wrote during this time. I like to call this phase my “creepy” phase. I have a stack of creepy stories that are looking for homes. (Anyone? Want some creepy stories?)
But I don’t think I was ever destined to stick with creepy stories or short projects. I love flash fiction. I love it. But it’s not as satisfying to me as what I’m working on now, because I have fallen in love with novel writing.
Novel writing might not love me back. Only time will tell. And when you’re writing novels, you’re writing it alllll on faith. No one is calling you up saying, hey, are you the creepy stories writer? Because I would love it if you wrote me, oh, I don’t know, a YA novel about XYZ. They are not calling me, anyway.
But the OTHER thing about me is that I like to work on more than one project at once, because I have a lot of writing stamina but I have to fill up overnight with thoughts if I try to write more than 1000 words on one project a day. So I’m working on two. If I have extra left over in my brain, I toss it into flash or short stories. I don’t want to waste the stamina.
So I am almost done with YA novel XYZ and I’m halfway through with novel PDQ. And I have a gargantuan project waiting in the wings which my awesome critique group has given me chapter by chapter feedback on. I have another idea which I hope to put through the critique group at our fall novel workshop, if I can make it down there for it.
I prioritized XYZ and PDQ, partly because they are shorter than the behemoth and partly because I couldn’t spread the handwritten pages out as easily when we were living in my sister’s dining room.
And yet, I have a story coming out this week after these many years, and it is: flash and not-creepy. I don’t think it’s creepy, anyway. (My perceptions may be skewed.)
I plan to keep sending out the short works I have here in this pile, too.
John and I are pursuing this creative life with a lot of hard work and optimism and a LOT of realism. We know how this works. Hard work doesn’t get you in the door. But you can’t get in the door without it, and so I work. Hard.