I started, around the time I started this blog, to re-evaluate my writing process, and assumptions I’ve made over the years about how I write. Largely because while I was (and am) producing material, I am not satisfied with my productivity.
Oh, I make excuses, and some of them are even valid ones. I work full time. I have a satisfyingly full devotional schedule and calendar of religious obligations that I take seriously and don’t want to sacrifice. I have a household to see after, and both my partner and I have limitations to what we can accomplish. Valid excuses, but at the end of the day, material is rotting in my head, stories wanting to get out, and those excuses pretty much amount to Life Is Happening.
Life Is Happening, and I still want to get these stories out. I realize I can’t give up much more of my sleep and be functional. I realize that I want to still knit and garden and walk and spend time with my animals and my partner and meditate and adhere to said devotional calendar. I still, alas, have to work full time. I’ve cut a lot of things out — we don’t have TV, and while I’ve slowly allowed myself to become sucked back in to social media, I am weening myself again. We live a fairly secluded lifestyle, for all that we’re in a city. My loved ones are far flung, and we have purposefully created our lives so that our home is our sanctuary and we have minimal obligations, besides the day jobs, outside of our homes. We aren’t, quite, monastics, but it’s a very near thing.
I won’t get into writing as a sacred calling here — though I do believe that storytelling is a sacred calling. I will say only that writing, being a storyteller, has been the thing that I am for the longest amount of time. It is the piece of my identity that I feel the strongest about, the most confidence about, etc. And, after the release of The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales” when I started this blog, and I made the attempt at unstructured, fresh-eye, no goals other than progress and relearning about my process, I expected concrete understanding about my process. The work — a novel I desperately want to finish, but have shelved in favor of the current WiP, which thankfully continues apace, though not as fast as I’d like — did what my longer works generally does do, and that wasn’t unexpected. Then a few months spent with not entirely unexpected deaths in the family set me off that WiP and into the arms of the current one, which is fine. And with this one I’m not forcing myself to write it linearly, which is working for me, but I can see wasted time by not having it planned out better.
So, I’m musing these things over. I’ve purchased Lazette Gifford’s Two Year Novel books as they’ve become available — largely to help with the stalled out novel, not the current WiP, and partly because I want to see the examples she’s giving. And I’m currently considering Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways course. I’ve read some of Holly’s fiction, have ranged from liking to loving the books. More importantly, here, I am continually blown away by her prolific output and her dedication to the craft, her passion for writing and for helping other writers.
I am not quite in a situation where taking the course is possible. Right now, I’m in the thinking thoughts stage of things. What I am currently doing is getting material written, but it’s not the pace I’d like, and I’m not sure what to do, on my own, to make that pace pick up/be more efficient when I sit down to write/etc.
This is thinking thinky thoughts out loud.
I have started charting progress, again. I’d stopped,because I was getting distracted by the numbers, and distracted by not getting the output that I thought I should be getting, and not networking like I thought I should be networking, while working full time. I pulled way back on structure of the work, because I’d lost the joy. I’ve found the joy again, so it’s time to start adding the tools back in, and to take this seriously. I want to write, because it nourishes me, and yeah, I want to sell. More than wanting to sell, right now when I don’t have anything ready for submitting and trying to sell, I want to get the stories out. Realizing that I’ll die trying to tell ALL THE STORIES is one thing. That doesn’t mean giving up and letting them all rot.