There are so few wins in the life of an Aspiring Writer. Lots of rejections, lots of failures, lots of days where no writing happens, lots of stories not being quite what we want them to be. But last week I had a succession of victories (a succession of successes?) It was the kind of week that left me (briefly) feeling like I had accomplished something:
1. Finished the first draft of a new short story, the abbreviated title of which is “…They Are Living Still.” This is the story I was recently saying I loved, and then hated, and right now kind of tolerate.
2. Finished two critiques for Critters. I rejoined a while back, and lucky for me the auto-suspend feature is broken so even though I hadn’t submitted a single crit in months, it was still emailing me. I did one crit per day on two successive days, and I learned something from each.
3. Had a brief but reassuring conversation on Twitter with an author I respect. There’s another blog post to be written about that, but for now, it prompted me to do #4.
4. I decided to challenge myself: I gave myself 15 minutes to build or adapt a world, 15 minutes to do some brainstorming about character and plot, and 1 hour to write a complete story. I was not sure I could do it; I never had before. I don’t think I’ve ever written a story in one sitting (at least not since high school) so this was a pretty major challenge. The outcome: I did it! I cheated a little bit by using a world I had developed for another short story. But it felt great to have a finished draft two hours after conceiving the idea. I proved to myself that I do not need to deliberate for days or weeks over the right direction for every story. This is important – most of the pending ideas I have right now are kind of epic and may well be beyond my current skill level, but that should not mean that I don’t generate new material.
5. Made a writing friend! @screamingguppy and I had exchanged occasional replies on Twitter but we connected via Google Chat this past week. It has been great talking directly to someone else in a similar place pre-career (though she’s ahead of me – she’s been published and reprinted!) I look forward to meeting her at PAX in two weeks.
6. Took on a couple more assignments from SFWA. I am getting the greatest education doing stuff for them. I recommend volunteering to anyone interested in the SFF field.
7. Finished and sent off the Thing I Hadn’t Been Talking About… I am now a narrator for Starship Sofa! I have no idea when my first recording is going to be ‘aired’ (do we say ‘aired’ on the internet?) and I don’t know if I’d even announce it if I did. It was such a steep learning curve, and my self-confidence went straight to the crapper several times in the process. A couple of times I considered emailing Tony, (Sofa Commander) apologizing, and telling him I couldn’t do it. He was awesome every time I checked in, very encouraging and patient, and I kept at it. I think I’m (mostly) past all that now. I have my second assignment, and am really looking forward to it.
That is a lot to pack into one week. This week isn’t starting off with quite the same bang, but I’m chipping away at a few things. I know that the sense of accomplishment has a half-life of about five days, so I need to use the momentum while I’ve got it. Onward!