Updated State of the Writer

Most of my recent posts to this blog have been book reviews. I’ve been reading a lot lately, and it’s fun to write a review of what I’ve read, and even more fun to receive feedback from some of my favorite authors who have seen and appreciated my reviews.

I didn’t intend to drift away from more frequent posts about my own writing, not because I perceive there to be a large number of people anxious to know more about the author of a bunch of stories they haven’t read, but because it’s useful for me. This is a way of keeping track of my progress and forces me to think about my own situation and status as a writer from the outside. It’s a way of forcing a bit of (at least slightly) objective self-evaluation.

So, let’s see. It’s been about 10 months since my first fiction publication, “Remodel With Swan Parts” which appeared in Electric Spec. The kind of thing I’ve been writing this past year or so is quite a bit different from that, but unfortunately I haven’t had anything else published yet so I don’t have any visible-to-the-public examples to show in order to give an idea of what I’m up to.

On top of changing, as far as genre or “feel,” what I write in the past year or so, I’ve also changed focus in a couple of other ways.

First, I’m challenging myself to write shorter pieces, somewhere between flash fiction and very short stories, at least once a month. I find it’s fun to start something and finish it fairly quickly. A new creation of 600-1500 words allows me to experiment a bit with different voices, styles, point of view. I’ve come up with a few interesting pieces like this recently, and so far reaction to these pieces has been positive. This is something I plan to continue, at least for now. I’d actually rather focus on writing longer, rather than shorter, but I have to face the fact that I’m still in the mode of learning, trying to improve and to break through. It’s more important for me to get stronger, to create a broader diversity of stories, and to create shorter pieces which might be more acceptable to a larger number of editors and venues than the longer stuff I might rather do. 

Second, I’ve been writing for submission to themed anthologies lately, rather than just writing for myself and then sending to any and all periodicals that fit what I’ve created. I find it stimulates me to move in different directions, to try thinks I might not otherwise have done. I took a first stab at “writing to order” when an editor I know gave me an opportunity to create something for such an anthology, and enjoyed the experience so much I’ve since written and submitted to a second such venue (story already rejected and resubmitted elsewhere) and I’m currently working on a third. This shift is not just about a desire to launch myself toward a different kind of publishing venue, but also challenging myself to create to order, within certain limits or parameters. It’s good practice for if my work ever ends up in some kind of demand, and it’s also good inspiration. I can cerainly say that the two completed stories along these lines would never have been written if not for the impetus provided by the theme.

Still working, still submitting. Still going through occasional periods of thinking it’s just so tough to break through and get my work a chance to be notice. Hanging in there, though. Perisisting.

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