Monday, January 9, 2012

Two Changes

This is my second try at writing this post! The first time I started to write it, I made the bad decision to type it directly into my blog interface. That might have been fine. I was almost done. Then I accidentally bumped my mouse against my keyboard, hit the back button, and thusly sent the whole collection of characters to Nonexistenceville. Which, as you can imagine, is not really a place.

Also, here's where I admit that I'm not going to describe the rest of my World Fantasy experience. It was fascinating for me to live it, but I think that reading about it might be like reading about someone's dream, only without the strange and dreamlike bits. We can't have THAT.

What I'm going to write about instead is what's changing in my life this year. Two things:

Thing One: I'm not reading slush for Clarkesworld Magazine anymore. I'm so grateful to have done it, and I owe huge thanks to Neil Clarke for the chance to learn so much about short stories through reading submissions for such an excellent magazine. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the team, and I was reluctant to move on. After three years, though, I started to feel that it was time to reclaim that daily hour-plus and write more of my own fiction. I read just over 4,000 submissions in my time there. That's a lot of material.

Thing Two: This year I'm only writing short stories. For the last couple of years I've split my limited writing time between writing short stories and making a couple of attempts at writing novels. If I was on the former, I thought I should be doing the latter, and vice versa. The battle of the "shoulds" in my mind wore me out. Since I love short stories and I feel like I'm just starting to understand how to write the kind I want to write, I've decided to commit to short fiction for a year and take away the nagging feeling that I'm supposed to do something else with my writing time. I'm also planning to read more short stories of the published kind, instead of the slushy kind, to learn more about what TO do when writing stories. I've already grown an entire new section of brain to accommodate what NOT to do.

So far, this feels great. I'm closing in on the ending of my first short story of this year, and I have some plans forming for my second. I wake up with a sense of having extra time! For a change! And that is awesome. I also have a convention to look forward to for next month, CapriCon, where (I'm told) I will be on some panels, but I don't know which ones yet. Interesting surprises ahead! ;) What I have here is an optimistic mindset for January and beyond.

What are your plans for the year? Any changes, big or small?

8 comments:

  1. These sounds like good changes - I'm glad I ran across this! I'm making a few changes myself, so I appreciate the combination of anxiety and relief that comes from making these sorts of decisions. Good luck, and I hope to see your writing at some point soon!

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  2. Thanks, Aaron! I hope your changes work out well.

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  3. I can't begin to thank you for all the time you spent reading slush for us. It's been great working with you and I wish you all the best with all that "free" time you'll be gaining. Don't forget to send some of those stories our way!

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  4. BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, NEIL.

    ;)

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  5. I'm working on my triple pirouette. I kind of accidentally did one last week, but no one in class saw it, so it didn't count. Now I have to work on it for real.

    It would be nice if my doubles were a sure thing, but you know, I turned a double the first time while trying to turn a fast single, so there ya go! Onward and upward!

    It's hell being an older adult vocational ballet student, let me tell you...

    Good luck with your short stories! I believe in you!

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  6. Pat, thank you! I think it's awesome that you're a) studying ballet, and b) so marvelously enthusiastic about it. The world needs that kind of enthusiasm. :)

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  7. Somehow I missed the announcement! I wish you the very best, as always, and thank you immensely for your inspiration and encouragement.

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  8. Thanks! Fair warning: I'm sure something with my name on it will show up in the slush pile sometime. In this way I will complete the slush life-cycle.

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