Progress on “Don’t Look Down” is going very well. The short story is probably going to wind up being a novella–it currently sits at about 9000 words and will probably be longer than that; but I don’t think I can whittle it down to shorter length. As I worked on it yesterday–and the work, I have to say, was so much easier than it had been; I think I finally understand the voice, tone, and main character’s P.O.V., at long last–I was revising my way along and looked down and saw that I had crested 8900 words. I knew it was going to be a longer story; I’d always intended and envisioned it that way, but at the same time, since this is for a collection rather than a magazine or an anthology, I can make it as long as I want it to be.
Which is actually very freeing, to be honest. One of the issues I have with short stories is length. I am always worried that I’m going to run out of room to tell the story the way I want it to read, to get the reaction from the reader that I want to get. (There are stories, of course, that I write and worry are too short; “The Problem with Autofill” sits currently at about 3300 words, and I fear it needs to be longer than that.)
But it’s such a good feeling when the story starts to click in your head, and you don’t worry about things like length, and you start to feel confident in yourself and your ability to tell the story you want.
I’ve also decided to stop beating myself up over not getting as much done as I want to. That’s a losing battle anyway; I always over-estimate how much work I can get done in any given period of time and so I am constantly going to be berating myself and feeling bad. And wasn’t the entire point of going off-contract to write to relieve stress? So why am I continuing to create stress for myself by trying to get too much done in too short a period of time?
The to-do list should be viewed, instead of as things I have to get done this week rather as the things I need to get done; important as a reminder of things I need to do, so I don’t forget and/or let something important fall through the cracks. That’s the point.
Oy. Sometimes I wonder about myself.
And now, back to the spice mines.