Reflections and the forthcoming year

For notes of a more personal nature, I would suggest visiting my LiveJournal.  But this is for my writing , so I will stay relatively focused.

In terms of my goals, this year has been a mixed bag. I have written three short stories, and have begun subscribing to and supporting two very good SF/Fantasy magazines via eReader, Clarkesworld and Lightspeed,  and am continuing to expand my reading background. I attended two literary cons for the first time in nearly a decade and enjoyed them terribly. I’ve joined a writer’s group, though it is more of a “Let’s keep each other motivated” type group than a “Here’s a hundred red-lines on this story” style. But I think I need that. And I’ve also found a new community through the local F/SF book club. Which lead to… well, read my LJ entry.

As for the novels, Metaphysical Graffiti took a back seat to Ivre. I’ve gotten over 70k words into it and am in the last act, but I’m finding the “seat of the pants” style of writing, where I plan a bit, then write, then plan a bit more hasn’t given me any more spontaneity. If anything, I find myself stopping, rethinking and reworking things far more. I need to have some form of happy medium.

In future, I’ll need to think of my treatments as the initial ‘script’ for my novels.  The writing process is where I film the action in the script, and make room for improvisation by the actors, a.k.a. the characters. I honestly don’t know how literary authors just write and see where characters take them. I suppose in literary works there’s an expected level of meandering which takes place, wherein the tropes of an unhappy marriage, or a person going through a middle aged crisis, or some reflection on the lost promise of youth set against a recognizable background are explored.

The year has also given me a clearer view of my limitations in terms of writing. I work, on average, nearly 10 hours a day, not counting work done via the Blackberry on my trips into and out of the city while riding the Virginia Railway Express.  I spent myself writing email after email, burning creative fuel to keep the work lights glowing. Cranking out even a few paragraphs when I get home is a feat. Yet, somehow, I still do it.  Not to the level of a professional. The pulp writers of old would snicker at my lack of work ethic.  But I still have to have these moments. The writing keeps me sane.

So what are my goals for next year? Well, first, finish Ivre and let it rest  just a bit. Add to my short story count, get them revised, and see if they spark any interest. But get out more, live a bit more, and add to my life resume a bit. Not living and exploring chokes my creativity the way kudzu kills trees.  So I need to keep living.

When the new year hits, I’ll post a fuller list of ambitions regarding my writing. But for now, I need to look back at the lessons learned and see what I can bring into the forthcoming year.

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