And so it goes… I can’t write like it’s 2008. Oh, for the good ol’ days of newbie writer zeal. Sigh.
As noted previously, I had to scrap my hoped-for anthology project because I couldn’t make the deadline for “Benedict”. I might still be able to get that anthology done, but I need more time and can’t get that done under the pressure of a deadline. That’ll be Important Life Lesson Number (fill in the blank) for this writer. I can write to length, depending on the complexity of the story’s plot. As far as “Benedict” was concerned, the plot was too complicated, and I need more room for world-building because the setting’s very necessary for the conflict to take place.
The story’s been set aside because it’s not contracted unlike “The Weeping Willow”, which I need to tweak further. But going back to my previous point – since I’ve been going at my own pace since 2008, I’m no longer able to work with a publisher’s deadline, which also means I’m no longer able to answer calls for submissions (not that I’m looking for those). Any deadline I work with will have to be my own, and that date is never set in stone. I found that the more I remind myself of cut-off dates set by my publisher, the more I totally fuck up my story. For “Benedict”, my writing grew harder and harder till the process ground to a halt, and I kept hammering away at it for a week without any luck. Five days before my publisher’s deadline, I had to email her and give her my sob story, and I’m incredibly lucky to have a very understanding publisher who was willing to work with me.
But I know I shouldn’t keep doing this. It’s a pain in the ass for my publisher (I assume), and the last thing I want is to wear out my welcome. I’ve been very happy with JMS Books, and I hope to continue my professional relationship with them for as long as I can.
This year’s been off to a pretty muddy start; we’re already in the second quarter of 2013, and I’m forced to rethink and reshape my goals, considering what my recent experiences have been on the writing front.
I do wish I could write with the zeal of a newbie, but I can’t anymore, and it’s detrimental to force myself to stay on that path.
2011 and 2012 were the peak years of my writing output. I think I produced way more books in those two years (including trunk stories that turned into published short fiction), and at the beginning of 2013, I was hoping to keep that momentum up. Unfortunately things haven’t been working to my advantage on a number of levels, the most important thing being my overall health. I’ve been exhausted since January – low energy levels, difficulty concentrating while writing. I never came down with a case of bad colds / fever / the flu, but the feeling of being worn out persisted, and it’s still there. Maybe the frenzy of the past two years, juggling my day job, cycling, and my increased publishing output, finally took its toll on me.
I also keep saying this, but it’s well worth repeating. I’m not getting any younger. ^^;;;;
Things I was able to pull off before, I no longer can without a lot of effort, and it’s taking me this long to, well, accept that and adjust my thinking accordingly.
While I still agree that the best advertisement I can invest in is new books, I need to slow down and stop buying into what a number of writing experts say regarding pumping out book after book after book (i.e., publish six or more longer works per year such as novellas and novels). I’ve already given up on the dream of quitting my day job and being able to survive on my writing alone – mind you, producing books for a niche market. Given a choice between reputation and sales, I’d love to take reputation and be assured of – excuse the narcissistic prattle – my legacy as a writer of fantasy LGBT YA fiction.
And I don’t have the ability to pump out a bazillion books per year and still manage that. Some writers are gifted enough to accomplish that, but not me. I need to slow down, reverse my pace from what I had in 2011 and 2012. To that end, I’d like to give myself even more time with each book and bring my output down to three short novels a year. If I were to publish novellas, it’ll be about four and no more than that.
I hope to be able to work consistently on improving my writing, but I need to accomplish that at a realistic pace that allows me to work within the time limit I can set for myself. So it looks like the last Masks book will be written this year, but it won’t be out till early 2014.
I’ll admit that there’s some regret here, but at the same time, there’s also a great deal of relief. As long as I’m willing to keep my goals flexible, I’ll be okay, and I can assure myself that I’ll be able to continue writing stories that are dear to me for as long as I’m able.