Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Toilet Break

As it says on the box: toilet breaks and detours have been scheduled in.
[Ramble on life, the universe, and everything after the cut]

All two of you might have noticed I haven't been blogging much the last couple of months, and that I've just been keeping up with the announcements and no more. I can't say it's any one thing. A combination of blogging burn out, winter, a minor medical thing (I'm ok!), holidays (yay!), weekends booked up with other commitments, and a Le Sigh malaise with writing and the industry in general which overtook me. A variety of politics (SFWA, sexism/racism in SFF etc) gave me a little case of The Sads - this is the industry I want to bury my heart and soul in?

Yeah, I know. I need to grow a thicker skin. But as with all identity politics and how they intersect with one's chosen career, it's a little difficult to keep a chin up when there's no end in sight, and your friends and respected colleagues are being used as political punching bags. It often feels like I'm saying the same things over and over in my blogging. Sometimes I feel like throwing myself on the floor and flailing about in a not very grown up tantrum - It's Not Fair!

Then I pick myself up, dust myself off, blush for being a twerp, and then get on with it. Some days are more articulate than others. Some days, I have to remind myself it's not about me. I'm there to support the people who are really getting kicked. I have certain privileges that I have to recognize, and I'm yet to face anything really serious. It's only a matter of when, and by then I'll be prepared.

As for the writerly bits, I know it's personal perception that I'm feeling a bit Fail!tastic, because a LOT of people are saying I've had an excellent couple of months sales and promotion wise, but I feel like I've taken a step back in my writing ability, output and mentality wise. On the one hand, I've crashed through my sales numbers from last year, and I'm having my best year yet - I'm really pleased with all the indie venues I'm appearing in, and I'm looking forward to sharing with you my stories in ASIM, Betwixt, The Future Fire, Wily Writers etc etc in the near future.

But the last two months my output has been...not so keen. I feel like my style is a little stagnant and I'm not improving. I'm always searching for that One Perfect Story, my 'Houston', my 'Whileaway', something that really makes people sit up and take notice. And every time I finish a story lately, it comes up...wanting. It's good, yeah. There's an interesting theme, or a style I've been playing with, but I feel like I've been writing very straightforward stories - they did this, they said that. There's no poetry, no art to it. I want to write something as challenging and odd as 'Cartography' again. Yeah, I'm being particularly hard on myself. I won't improve if I'm not.

My writing schedule and mentality has been all over place, which isn't making it any easier. I haven't stuck to my Words Per Day schedule for weeks, and it's a minor miracle when I do write anything. Tuesdays are still happening, but they're not as focused as I would like them to be.

I'm not sure where I'm at right now. If this a sign to push through the brick wall with the short stories until I can find the sweet spot, or should I do what all the cool kids are doing and try writing a novel. I really like the feedback putting out shorts gives me, I feel like I'm achieving something, even if it's in numbers and small sales. With a novel, that's a real time and word count investment that I might never get anything back on (at my age, I'm not sure an unpublished novel is something I can afford in mental bandwidth). Isn't it strange how the shape and style of the modern novel shapes our perceptions on how and why to create art?

tl;dr: I'll blog about important writerly stuff when my energy sees fit. I'm still well engaged in making the world a better place (insert Michael Jackson song), but sometimes that requires healing yourself first.

Here, have a kitten:

I must go. My planet needs me.

No comments:

Post a Comment