O Come All Ye Faithful

Thursday and the hard part of the week is already over; the one where I work thirty-one hours in three days at the office. This is the part of the week where I work nine hours in two days, easing into the weekend, as it were. We have a Christmas party to attend on Saturday evening, but other than that and some errands, I intend to spend my weekend primarily working and editing and inputting the hard copy edits I’ve done on my short stories this week.

That’s the plan, at any rate.

But I slept really well again last night–two glorious nights in a row–and I feel incredibly well rested today. Does that bode well for writing this morning before work, and this evening after? Here’s hoping. I’m still trying to adapt and adjust to my new work schedule, and I feel like I am settling into it at long last, which is lovely. It gets harder to adapt to changes, I find, the older I get.

I still feel completely disconnected in some ways from the creativity surge I was feeling before the loss of the jump drive and the frying of the back-up hard drive; like the momentum wave I was riding has somehow now passed me by and I am dog-paddling like crazy in water that’s over my head. (To be fair, I often feel this way, particularly when the work isn’t going so well.) But I am absolutely delighted to discover that the stories I was re-editing and revising for the collection are now in pretty good shape, and now I can even get started (maybe) on tentatively pulling together the second one. I also kind of have lost momentum on my New Orleans research as well as my essay collection; partly because that was some of the work I lost. I did reconstruct some of it this past weekend–table of contents, etc., as well as some other things; writing things up in my journals–something I returned to doing this year–really helped lessen the impact of the Great Data Disaster of 2018. Hurray!

And with the end of the year approaching, I am wondering now what new goals I should set for 2019. Obviously, some of the ones I set for 2018 didn’t happen, but that’s okay; I don’t look as not achieving a goal as a failure. I do think one of the things I am really going to try for in 2019 is getting published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. It’s been on my bucket list forever, and so I am going to really give it a try. I think my story “One Night at Brandy’s Lounge”–unfinished–might be the one to do the trick.

All right, it’s time to get back to the spice mines. The spice must flow.

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Live to Tell

Well, yesterday was a complete wash as far writing is concerned. I did write about 200 words on the Scotty book, but it was one of those things where once I started trying I could tell I wasn’t going to get very far with it. I was not feeling it, as some might say, and there’s simply no point to forcing it on those days unless I particularly want to feel incredibly frustrated.

And I didn’t want to feel that way.  So, I didn’t try to force it.  Sometimes I can force it and, as Stephen King so aptly put it in Misery, the page will open and I will fall into it. Other days, not so much. Yesterday was definitely one of those days.

Not being able to, apparently, write yesterday led me to trying to be productive in some manner, so I started going through old stories and partial drafts of work-in-progress to see if there was anything that could provide a base for this short story I want to write for a market on my bucket-list (I don’t know why I’m being coy; it’s Cemetery Dance). I always forget that I hand-wrote and then manually typed about twenty or thirty short stories (or fragments of short stories) in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s; I paid someone to type them up as Word documents about ten years ago in case any of them might be usable, reworkable, etc. (They are all terrible…there’s nothing quite so humbling as going back and reading things you wrote years before you knew how to really write.) I printed out about five or six that had potential–based on my memory of them–and I intend to read them over this weekend and see if, indeed, there is anything worth salvaging in them.

I do need to say that one of these longer stories became my novel Sorceress, and some of the others were salvaged and turned into something else, so this is not without precedent….hell, I wrote three chapters of a horror novel back then called The Enchantress that eventually became the foundation of my novel Dark Tide. (In fact, I had turned one of those chapters into a short story, which is one of those I printed out last night.) I don’t think the short story adaptation works, but just remembering the story again made me remember that failed attempt at a novel, and also it was actually a pretty good idea, maybe now you should revisit it?

And this is how, Constant Reader, my creative ADD gets out of control. Last night I was watching documentaries–one was for curiosity; but it triggered a reminder of a book I wanted to write, so the entire time I was sitting there watching it I was also scribbling notes for the book idea. When that documentary finished, I started watching another one, and again, this documentary–I only got about twenty minutes into it–solved an issue with another book idea I had, and made that particular book idea–one I hope to write later this year–even better than it was originally.

This is, of course, kind of exciting…if you don’t take into consideration the fact that I am already writing two novels and have the next one planned as well.

Heavy heaving sigh.

I also want to finish reading this damned Roth novel. There are so many other things I want to read, but I am stubbornly determined to finish reading this damned book.

And now, back to the spice mines.

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Say It Isn’t So

Yesterday I gave up on a short story that was so fucking painful to write. I’ve literally been working on this story stubbornly for over a week, crested three thousand words yesterday, was nowhere near finished, and it took me about five hours to get about five hundred words done–and I questioned every single one of them. Do I still think it’s potentially a great story? Yes, I do. Am I going to waste any more time trying to write it right now? Hell no. I had wanted to submit it for the MWA anthology, which has a deadline of December 1, but if I am having this much trouble trying to get a first draft finished…there just ain’t no way I would have a polished and pristine version to submit that would have a chance of getting published against the hundreds of other amazing stories being sent in. Getting into one of the MWA anthologies is on my bucket list, but this year apparently isn’t going to be the year. It’s enormously disappointing, to say the least, but I should have given up on this story before now. I have too many other things to do before December 1 to justify having wasted so much time trying to get this story written. It just rings so false.

And it had so much potential. Oh, well. Sometimes that’s just the way the ball bounces, you know?

Slogging through writing that stupid fucking story has also fucked with my self-confidence, seriously. Not that I have a lot to begin with, but when you’re a writer you are in a constant state of questioning yourself: can I still do this? What if I’m burned out? What if I’ve suddenly lost the ability to do this? WHat if I can’t write anything decent anymore?

I mean, not being able to bang out the first draft of a short story? I used to be able to do that in about three hours, if I focused. And now I am wondering if I no longer have the ability to focus. See how that works?

Ah, well. So, now I am going to try to go work on another short story; a completely different one, a more noir-esque tale of lust and desire turned to murder in a damp Florida panhandle town, reeking of the sea and Spanish moss and towering pine trees and white sand. And I need to get back to work on the Scotty book, and I’ve got some editing to do.

Whatever.

Here’s another Calvin Klein underwear ad.

 

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