Fearing the story

I want to write a short story, really short, like 1,000-words short, to submit to a publication. I think I have a good idea (that’s the easy part) and I’ve even started getting the first 150-200 words done (that’s 1/5th of the story) but I’m stuck. I know where the story is going, but I’m afraid to write it.

It’s not the subject matter that scares me, it’s not even a scary story. But the idea of taking that next step – submitting – that’s hard. When I upload my Vella episodes, it’s with little expectation that anyone will read it. That’s not being negative, but a nod to the reality of the now. I don’t worry about people not liking what I’ve written. I just want some sort of feedback.

Which is why submitting this tiny little story after finishing is so scary. I may get what I really want. Then what happens? Do I feel good about it? Bad? Get better? I don’t know. I’ve submitted stories before (and been rejected) and went along with my day. There’s nothing special about this publication or this story. It’s just weird now.

I’m weird now.

I think part of the issue is that I feel the need to write in the dark, not tell my family what I’m doing, because I fear that doing so will kill what little motivation I have. (Hence the pen name. Hidden.) I really want to write this story today and the only thing stopping me is me.

I mean, even this blog post is an avoidance tactic.

I want to do it, but I feel like I’m not happy enough to do it. I’m depressed, frustrated, annoyed. I should approach my writing with enthusiasm and hope, not fear and secrecy. I have made a prison out of rules that I wrote myself.

At least I wrote something.

One more paragraph and then I’ll put on the noise-cancelling headphones and try to focus, try to get out ~1000 imperfect sentences and then tweak them into something better, shinier, something that, when I reread it, will fill me with enthusiasm and hope. Because that’s the part I always forget.

It’s the writing that makes me feel that way, not the other way around.

Ah, that’s what this blog post was for. Understood.

Trying to do too much?

I’m the queen of great ideas and bad follow through.

I’ve been watching/listening to a lot of videos about writing, craft and business, and I’ve come to realize that I’m not only putting the cart before the horse, but I don’t even have a horse, or a cart, or a road, or a place to go. Outside of my three Kindle Vella series, I’m a bit scattered, even though I’ve talked about various projects here before.

I’m the queen of great ideas and bad follow through.

I think that’s why the Kindle Vella series appeal to me now. I’d had a hard time finding a following on other serial sites and, while, the market seems dominated by steamy romance and LitRPG (neither of which I write) I decided to take a gamble.

Then I quickly became overwhelmed. And started having new ideas. Then over-overwhelmed.

The natural step after over-overwhelm is paralysis and then I get into a funk and don’t do anything at all. You can give me plenty of planners, systems, motivation, even people to sit with me while I work, but I won’t know where to go. And the one thing I’m bad at is the one thing I need to be good at: finishing my shit.

I even started a NaNoWriMo group focused on Finishing Our Shit Stuff and then abandoned it after a week or two. (Sorry, y’all. It’s not you. It’s always me.)

I’ve been thinking about all the half-finished, partially-started pieces I have saved and wondered if I could dedicate myself to finishing these pieces and putting them out there, whether indie publishing them under this pen name or submitting them to publications under another. Who knows? But it’s a challenge that I have only failed in the past.

Nowhere to go but up, as they say.

What I am doing now is reassessing each week what tasks actually get me moving forward. Writing is always a Definitely. Other things, not so much. So, more writing. (Yeah, I’ve been here before and this time may not be different, but there’s only one starting place and that’s where the starting starts.)

Good luck to me. Good luck to you.

Another Year, Another…year

I could start talking about how goals were lost, intentions were well-intended, things were missed, and shit was not finished. But unless you want me to populate this entire post with more passive verbs and self-flagellation, I’m going to stop now and starting looking forward.

I could start talking about how goals were lost, intentions were well-intended, things were missed, and shit was not finished. But unless you want me to populate this entire post with more passive verbs and self-flagellation, I’m going to stop now and starting looking forward.

Typically I’m a self-reflective person. I have found much of my personal growth from this process and while my “Five Ways to Self-Reflect” blog post lurks somewhere in the distant future, I won’t be lying if I said that this knowledge-building practice was inspired by endless sessions of reading manga.

Yes Sensei!

Perhaps this year fewer manga will be read and more words will be written. Perhaps this year new challenges will be faced and new paths will be trodden. Perhaps it’s not worth fretting over an arbitrary date just because we consider this the beginning of one thing and the end of something else. Why can’t March 8th be the symbolic beginning of a new year? August 21st?

It doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to slink into the New Year Zeitgeist, seven days late, and firmly declare my 2019 goals in the hopes of riding that momentum train into a less disappointing December. I still have that damn anthology to finish – the one listed in the sidebar and the first two books of my series to start. The first one is outlined, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, because it’s been sitting and fermenting at the bottom of  stack of notebooks. Will this be the year? This will be the year. There is no next year. There is always only this year.

Before falling into some pseudo-philosophical ramble, I would just like to say “hello, how are you? I hope you had a nice holiday season.” Time to get to work.

Nine Ways to Kill Your Writing Mojo

There are plenty of ways to motivate you to keep working, keep creating, and if you’re like me, you’ve consumed a bunch of them.

Listicles are still popular, right? Is this 2008? I am not always up on contemporary society, struggling as I am to attain the title of Eccentric Recluse without the infamy or, for that matter, the noticeable accomplishment. Yet since I’m here and since I have some experience in these matters, scoot closer to your favorite Gothic neighbor-lady and she’ll tell you a thing or two.

But don’t you think about coming up onto my porch. You just keep your butt on those steps, you hear me?

  1. Giving Yourself Unrealistic Goals: This one needs little explanation because we’ve all been there. We’ve all sat thinking about the someday when we’ll have enough time to write 5,000 words a day and have the energy to work on multiple projects at once and how we’ll be able to produce multiple titles per year. We could have written about 1,000 words during our daydreaming session. We didn’t. Someday, tho.
  2. Excusing Excessive Daydreaming as “Writing”: Sometimes it is, when you’re thinking about plot, or setting, or characters, etc. Sometimes daydreaming is just letting the story soup stew in your head, allowing the flavors to melt into one another. Those moments should count as writing. Daydreaming about that perfect traveler’s notebook that will really get your novel organized is not, however, writing.
  3. Judging the Writing Processes of Others: See what I’ve done here? Scolding myself in order to excuse my previous comment. It’s a typical rhetorical trick that is supposed to convince you that since I am self-aware, I am not a judgmental asshole, because, well, I do it too! See how that works? I zig, but I also zag. Don’t do this. Be honest and kind. But don’t spend too much time on your journal. That may not be the writing you want to share with the world.
  4. Losing Interest Halfway Through a Project: This happens to everyone. It’s happening to me right now and I’m using it to show you that it is okay to abandon something that is not working. A project that you dread coming to should be shelved. You may have fresh eyes for it in the future, or you may not. Write the project you want to write. CAVEAT: Finish your work as much as possible. If you find yourself abandoning nearly every project, perhaps you should create in a different medium for a while. Paint, sew, carve, sing, any number of ways to express yourself. Don’t let staleness stop your art.

You can figure out the rest, and the joke, from here. There are plenty of ways to motivate you to keep working, keep creating, and if you’re like me, you’ve consumed a bunch of them. But I’ll give you one more for free:

Keep creating.

What are you doing next?

I love your work.