So the blog has lain fallow again for a while. The lapse does not (for once) indicate a total halt in creativity or productivity, I just didn’t feel like I had anything to share. The ‘five things’ approach continues to work well, and while I don’t always reach five there is always something to show for the day.
Recently I bought a netbook. I had been doing a lot of writing and thinking in various Google apps lately, and I thought hey, this thing is ultra-portable and with my stuff stored in the cloud I could work on it anywhere! Yeah, not so much. Open wifi is still scarce around here, so the netbook quickly became a really high-tech paperweight. That had to change, though, because at ten inches and less than three pounds the dang thing really is perfect for carrying around everywhere.
The obvious solution was to dump everything on a thumb drive, but looking at what “everything” consisted of gave me a headache. I had stuff on the netbook, stuff in Google Docs, Google Notepad, Gmail, and in a pretty extensive directory structure on my laptop. This got me started on a massive reorganization of all of my writing files, a project which is now nearly complete.
Going through those directories was eye-opening. I had forgotten about a lot of the ideas that I had written down and started worksheets — or even drafts — for. You may be familiar with one of the standard Writer’s Pet Peeves: the non-writer says to the writer “I’ll give you the idea, you write the book and we’ll split the profits 50/50.” Directories like this are why that proposal is greeted with something less than enthusiasm. We don’t need other people to supply ideas. We aren’t likely to get around to writing all of our own ideas. I’ve got years of work sitting there waiting to be written, and I get an idea for a new story or project at least once a week.
One of the difficult parts of the reorganization project has been seeing the dates on some of the files – like the original notes on the story I just sent out for critique. That first file was dated January 2005. When I remember the circumstances that triggered the spark that became the story it makes sense that it was that long ago, but it has evolved so much and so many months passed while I did other things that it’s hard to grasp the four years between then and now.
Seeing all of those short stories, novels, essays, comic book scripts, ‘first line’ exercises and snippets of fiction put me in a place where I’m not sure if I should feel disappointed in myself or proud. It’s a lot of ideas. It’s a lot of drafts. It’s a lot of rich material full of vision and promise. (There’s a lot of crap, too, of course, but let’s focus on the positive for the moment.)
But it’s a lot of unfinished work, and as we know, we cannot succeed unless we finish.
Most people can start a short story or a novel. If you’re a writer, you can finish them. Finish enough of them, and you may be good enough to be publishable. Good luck. – Neil Gaiman