Not much to say about July. I didn’t make my 10,000 goal for the first time this year, though I could sort of see that one coming. The last few months I’ve been skating by on outlining and blog posts and such but no actual original fiction writing so I’m not super surprised that I ran out of steam.
I blame the weather. It’s been hot… Well, not really hot so much as humid; just really gross, sticky, just-sit-and-sweat humid. I’ve complained before that getting my writing machine in motion takes some very precise parameters; it needs to be quiet, I need to be free of distractions, I need to know that I will have time to make a significant dent in my chosen project or I won’t even start and, finally (perhaps most importantly), I need to be comfortable. That’s why I like to write at night, after the rest of the world has gone to bed. I’m a cold-weather creature living in a hot place, the night time is the right time for comfort. But, with the new job making getting up earlier a necessity, I can’t stay up late on work nights, and the incessant mugginess lately has made even weekend evenings uncomfortably warm.
Yeah, I’ve got all kinds of excuses.
I think there’s a certain lack of desperation that allows me to ignore writing. I watched this TED Talk recently regarding procrastination, it made a lot of sense. The fact that I have a fulltime job that pays the bills removes the sense of panic that might drive me if I depended on writing for my livelihood. That’s a good thing and a bad thing; bad in the sense that it allows me to kick all my projects and ideas own the road indefinitely and get to them eventually, good in the sense that I’m not confident that I -could- pay the bills with my writing just yet. That is, I feel like I’ve the capability, but I certainly haven’t found my audience.
Quitting my job and taking up writing full time is not an experiment I’m likely to jump into any time soon is what I’m saying.
I got a review back from a prospective publisher a few weeks ago for “Empty Glass,” the story which was, only a day later, published at The Lamplit Underground. I read the review pretty thoroughly and showed it to a few of my peers over at AWR to confirm my suspicions that the reader had, basically, missed the point of the story. They asked for a number of things which, if I had added them, would have completely changed the tone of the piece. As my friend James noted; the story works because the protagonist is “not a good person” which seemed to be a sticking point with the reviewer in question.
That’s not to belittle the publisher in question, of course. They have some certain criteria they’re searching for and I didn’t meet it. That’s fine, but it shows me that my concerns about my particular brand of storytelling might not be misplaced after all. I’ve known for a long time that the stories I write are a little different from what I usually read. I don’t spend a lot of time with intricate plots, detailed descriptions of environments or people, or even character development… In fact, (spoilers) the whole point of “Empty Glass” is that the character doesn’t develop; that, despite the events of the story, she remains the person she was at the beginning.
To me that’s realistic. In literature I know that characters tend to have an arc. They learn and grow from their experiences and in the end they’re different. But when I look at life, real life, I just see so many people who act and react the same way over and over and over despite how often it leads them down the wrong path or bites them in the ass. That’s what I was trying to capture, and I think I did so successfully, though admittedly, it doesn’t make for a character you can’t really root for.
I read somewhere that if you tell people about your goals, you can accidentally trick your brain into believing you’ve, somehow, already accomplished them. So, in that vein; nothing more to report from July, no big plans moving into August.