Thursday, July 14, 2016


But first, an update. As you’ll recall, I posted word about Carina Press and their current open calls for material, which includes five anthologies and a short-term call for proposals for stories of any length. Here’s where we stand:

The proposal call ended yesterday. I got one in at near the last minute, so I’m covered. It was one of my anthology contenders; I pretty much had the mandated three chapters already written. My synopsis didn’t quite make it to the required five pages, but I hope they don’t hold that against me. They’ve assured us we’ll hear back within the next twelve weeks. That gives me three months to write the thing, just in case I get the nod. I was going to send a second proposal, but time ran out. That one’s still going toward the anthology open call. So that’s two of the anthos accounted for. The other three …

Nope. Maybe if I was a faster writer. There are authors out there who have a new e-release—and we’re talking 40K-50K words and up novellas, not short stories or flash fiction—every month or so. Somebody else must be doing the housework. I’ll bet I could get more done if I didn’t have go out and buy groceries. Or write blogs. I’ve tried setting priorities and working on my time management, but it’s a struggle. I’ve got decades of bad habits to dismantle. I’m sure the problems will sort themselves out the lower my savings start dropping. I was hoping writing would supplement my income. Not if I don’t do it, it won’t.

I knew I was biting off more than I could chew when I announced I was aiming for all five anthologies. So I’m backing off. The proposal’s been sent so that’s on the table now, along with the story for the SF anthology. Two out of five isn’t bad, especially given the word count (25-40K words for the antho stories) and my glacial writing pace. I’m okay with that.

The reason for my backing out is positive, for once: I got hit with an idea for an Evernight Romance on the Go and I’ve been going great guns with it all week. Those max out at 14K, far more doable for me. Besides, the two longer stories I’m concentrating on are M/M. I’m confident I can find homes for them elsewhere if Carina says no. The M/F shapeshifter story I’m not sure about, even if I found time to get to it. The other two were only vague ideas. I’d rather concentrate on the ones I feel good about, rather than dash off some half-assed glop in order to meet a deadline. At least with the three I’m working on, I know how they end.

That clears my plate from an intimidating pile to something more manageable. I should be eating smaller portions anyway.

# # #

Years upon years ago, our local paper ran a profile of a budding young neighborhood author. I’m not sure what she wrote. Given her age, which was somewhere in her 20s, I’m guessing literary fiction. If you’re going to write the Great American Novel, you’ll do it in your 20s. By the time you hit 30 you know better. At any rate, she said something along the lines of, “If you’re going to be a writer, you have to devote all your time and energy to it.”

Which immediately caused me to wonder: Who’s paying your bills, honey?

Somebody had to. Clearly somebody, either parents or a boyfriend/husband, was providing her with living quarters, food, electricity and medical coverage so she could focus all her time and attention in pursuit of her Art. Writers may live in our imaginations, but we still have to function in the real world, which includes such mundane distractions as eating, staying healthy, paying taxes, and hopefully interacting with the person or persons who bring home the paycheck that’s letting you live your dream.

I wanted to be a writer, too. I also wanted a car, a place to sleep and regular meals. Nobody was there to provide them for me. I fit the writing in between cleaning the house and yard, grocery shopping, face time with family and friends and a full-time job so I didn’t have to pursue my Art under a bridge. I had a few minor successes, but nothing I could live on because it came sporadically. You try being creative at the end of an eight-hour work day. More often than not, the writing was forced into the corner while I worked at supporting myself.

Some writers do this with kids added on. God bless ‘em all. Or maybe they had kids to create a built-in work force to look after the house, yard and laundry while Mom pounds out her latest opus. Damn, I should have thought of that.

Now that I’m semi-retired I’ve got more time for the Art, but it hasn’t quite worked out that way. As I alluded to above, those years of putting off writing while I worked a job left me with some bad procrastination habits. I’ll just have to plow on through. The rent won’t wait for me to feel inspired. Then there was that bout of explosive diarrhea that hit me Sunday night, which dragged on for almost two days and brought new meaning to the term “pain in the ass.” If you’re going to work for yourself in a home-based business, don’t forget to plan ahead for sick days. Or carry a notebook or tablet with you so you can write while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room. Most of the magazines are crappy anyway.

Wish I could remember that girl’s name. I’d love to Google her and see if her single-minded pursuit of her dream yielded literary success. Something tells me she revised her lofty views as soon as she got married or, at the latest, pregnant. Or maybe she taught her kids to type and dictates her books to them while she’s doing the dishes or folding clothes. I just her name wasn’t E. L. James, because if it was I’d be totally pissed.

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