A Stiff Shot in the Arm

Jay Lake made me late for work this morning.

This might not be entirely fair. It’s not like he was in my apartment keeping me from showering or eating breakfast. He didn’t call me at a bad time, or send me a Twitter DM, or anything like that. On the other hand, it was entirely his fault that he wrote a fascinating piece of advice for new writers that hit me right where I live. I couldn’t not finish reading. Check it out here, at Shimmer magazine.

Seriously, if you’re into creative activities at all, I’d highly recommend you read it before continuing.

Done? Okay. I’ve been thinking lately about goals. I pretty much have just one right now, which is to finish Fugitives from Earth before OryCon, and then to start on the next novel. That’s all very sustainable, but it’s slow. Very, very slow. And right now, I need to do something, even something emotionally risky, to show myself that I’m making progress on my career.

So I’m going to throw caution to the wind and submit a damned story. I’ve written a full dozen shorts in the last year of varying quality, and a few of them are even what I might call “finished.” But I’ve got too much emotional attachment to those; we’ll just call those practice. What I’m going to do instead is take this weekend as a break from FfE, finish a half-written story that I feel is really workable, and submit it somewhere, anywhere that’ll pay.

It’ll probably get rejected, but that’s the point as much as anything. I feel like there’s a glass ceiling of possible rejection that forcing me to stay close to the ground. Rather than being afraid of the possibility of rejection, I want to feel its certainty and know that it can’t kill me. And like Mr. Lake says, with every rejection, the next one gets easier to take. I want to have that trunkful of rejection slips he mentions, because that means that I’m making progress. I’m still writing, and if I’m challenging myself, I’m probably getting better. And hopefully before that trunk fills up, somebody will decide that one of my pieces is worth buying.

I know that writing probably won’t ever make me much money, but sitting around waiting for the “perfect moment” doesn’t pay much at all. So, time to throw caution to the wind, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Whew!

On a slightly more prosaic note, one reason I feel comfortable doing this is that I’ve been making excellent progress with Fugitives from Earth. I’m probably 15% done at this point, I’d say. I have about 5,000 words to write before Part I is complete, and I expect that Part II will go somewhat more quickly. The last half of the book will be the real sticking point, so I want to build up as much momentum as possible before charging into it. Still, things are going well.

So, 5,000 words to finish my story by this weekend, with the final email going out to some market by Monday night. Wish me luck.

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