I don’t often write about writing, but I’ve made a solemn vow to myself to write more, to submit more stories, to keep up with blogging at least once a week… and it’s not like there are great droves of people reading my work, but I like to know that some people do, and some people appreciate it, and some people even like my stuff. It’s been my dream and drive since I could string words together to be a writer – a real writer, a paid, professional writer – and those things don’t happen by thinking about it, you have to do it.
Part of my reignited enthusiasm is that I’ve gotten not one but two pieces published in the last quarter of 2015: “Milk, Eggs, Bread” is on Vitality, and “Inconsolable” is on the Good Men Project. The former is part of a world of “Extraordinary People” I was building for Larry, Inc., and the second is a stand-alone. (See? I can do those sometimes…) And then A.Panda confessed to being an editor, so I gave her Middle of Nowhere to read, and she’s diggin’ it, and then there are the people who have been reading the stories from All the Moons of Petrichor…
I can do this. I can totally make this dream a reality.
As you might recall, I wrote MoD in about three weeks (not counting that one week where it lost its legs while I reexamined its plot). Counting the research, plotting, planning, and writing, if it was my only job, I could totally write six novels a year. (MoD clocked in at 106K for the first draft, 98K for the second draft, and 102K when I fixed all the shit I broke in the second draft.)
Do I have that many novels in me? There are those moments when I’m staring at the blank screen, the cursor blinking at me maliciously, and I have to wonder what kind of fresh hell I’ve gotten myself into, thinking I could do this thing, everyone who says they like my words are really just being friends and trying to make me feel better like a pat on the head… Because that’s how the insecurity of all artists go. “I made a thing I liked, but it was such a part of me that no one else can really relate to it, not really, and how could I possibly be as good as the people I admire?”
But then I read things or watch shows, and I know I’ve written better things than that, I wonder how they could get published or produced when I can’t…
Oh, wait… I didn’t submit anything.
You will never, ever get a story published if you never write it. You still won’t ever get it published if you don’t submit it. You definitely won’t get it published if you stop after your first rejection. Seem a little backwards? It’s not.
For me, writing is the easy part. Words come to me like breathing, sometimes I have to look away from the computer so that my eyes don’t get in the way of my fingers flying over the keyboard. The hard part is deciding if what I’m writing is any good. I like what I write, and there are some stories that I have never submitted for publication because they’re mine, I wrote them for me, and no one else needs to read them. I take them out and re-read them every so often, and it makes me happy, and I put them back until the next time.
No, the hard part is whether or not my vowels and consonants so carefully arranged will be entertaining to anyone else.
I have a really hard time writing happy endings, for instance, or at least happy endings without some kind of warped twist.
I really, really like the warped twists, too, even when they’re not happy endings.
And I like going on and on and on, building onto stories, spinning off more stories…
Why, yes, I did read the original “Never-Ending Story” in my formative years…
Anyway, the point is that I’m determined to write more and also to submit for publication, even though I’m working AND parenting full-time again. Writers write, waiters wait.
(Aside: The only reason that “resolutions” coincide with the turning of the year is that it’s easy to remember the anniversary of a resolution. This is not a resolution, it’s a decision, and it happens in a measurable and repeatable time span. So, there.)