Monday, January 26, 2009

the long and short of it

Day 151 of 365 in the “Marathon of the Dope” . . .


I’ve had good success so far with my writing this year. Two short stories completed already and no real end in sight with the creative juices seeming to run pretty well so far.

But, I’m running into a bit of a quandary. Actually a couple of quandaries rolled into one.

I only have 30 minutes a day to actually sit down, in the quiet with nobody around, and write. So far this year this time has been used to write new words, but as any writer knows, new words usually equate to crappy first draft words.

I am no exception, believe me.

And crappy first draft words do now impress editors of magazines or attract agents to solicit your larger works to the world.

That is part one of the quandary. Part two stems from the fact that I can write either short stories or complete the two other novels I’m somewhere in the middle of working on.

I get torn between writing shorts that can be read for our monthly reading nights, and diving off into the infinity of a novel which takes upwards of a year to complete.

And so my twin quandaries sit before me and grin that evil grin, mocking me and ready to laugh outright at any failure or lack of faith along the way.

Should I be cannibalizing days of writing time to edit? And when I’m writing new stuff should I concentrate on the ultimate cash cows (novels) or the easier to write and complete short stories?

Edit or write? Write or edit? Long or short? Short or long?

The brain starts to stall out and nearly comes to a halt. I hate when that starts to happen to me.

Part of me knows that the key to success is to continue writing new stuff all the time, like every day, because it keeps the mental gears well oiled and functioning. But this then will mean I need to carve out some other time of the day, or likely time during the night, to pull out what I’ve written and start to polish and edit.

And time is not something I have in large quantities.

I could sacrifice a lot of other activities, like reading, family time, gaming, exercise, sleeping, eating, show watching, or just plain relaxing to do the needed editing.

But I’ve tried this kind of thing before, and it works okay for a while, until I get so resentful of not being able to do the things I want to do in the already busy evenings that I just blow off the writing work for a long time before coming back to it again.

This is not really something for you, the humble (likely frustrated by now) reader to figure out. It’s just something I need to chew through.

I do want to get some of my stories in print again, and eventually get my novels published.

I need to find time to edit.

I just don’t know where to find it and stay sane.

Maybe, as time marches along, I’ll find a solution.

For now I’m going to reserve my quiet morning times for new words. Rule one for any writer is to write. This rule I can’t violate or I’ll be doomed.

I’ll cook up some other plan to figure out when I’ll take those raw drafty words and beat them into something somebody would pay money for.

And you thought my life was all just fun and games.

Until tomorrow . . .

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