At a time when the rest of the U.S. is probably wondering if summer will ever end, we in Alaska are starting to notice yellow in the trees and a hint of bite to the air. Hence the new autumn-themed header image on my WordPress blog (from last year’s autumn photos — this is an aspen tree in the gravel pit between our house and the highway).
EMG-zine is now in the last half of their final year. They’re not a paying market, but they have good-quality short fiction, art and articles; they’ve published two of my short stories. Themes for the issues still accepting submissions are:
October – Magic
November – Wolves
December – Stars
(I’d like to try to write something for at least one of these! Deadlines are one month before the issue comes out: so the deadline for October is Sept. 1.)
“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is a signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water.”
– Annie Dillard from The Writing Life
I first encountered this quote (well, a paraphrased version) in the absolutely wonderful Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. I want to print it out and tape it in about five places around my writing area.
Because, yes. This is something I really struggle with. I’ll come up with a clever idea or a neat title or a character name I really love or a wonderful introductory paragraph or an archetype that really speaks to me — and I’ll want to save it for a better project. I’ll think, “Oh, this character is only going to be in one short story; I don’t want to waste that name on him!” Or: “I’ve had this character in my head since I was 12; I have to wait for the perfect story to use her in!” Or: “What a nifty idea; I should save it to use in a better story later.”
I hadn’t realized until reading this quote that other people feel this way too. I sometimes worry about running out of inspiration, but the world is a never-ending well of it; I probably already have more ideas than I could write in a lifetime, more character names than I could use, more titles than I will ever have stories for. The more of these I clear out, the more room there will be for other, newer, fresher ideas and characters and titles. And if I write the very best I can, I suspect I’ll just learn how much better I can write. (At least, that’s how it seems to be working so far.)
Besides, if you save all the good ideas for later, you’ll never write anything good now. And since everything we write is (technically) being written now, that means you’ll never write anything really good. You’ll just daydream about the awesome stories you’ll write someday when you’re good enough.
Today I’m testing various crossposting options between the new WordPress blog and LJ/DW. The Livejournal Crossposter plugin (despite the straightforward name, it’s one of at least a half-dozen, and the second one I tried) is awesomesauce. First of all, despite the name, it works with LJ clones as well, and while it can only be set up to crosspost to one other blog, turns out I don’t have to crosspost to both LJ and DW — when I crosspost only to DW, the DW blog automatically picks up my post and crossposts to LJ. I’ve also tested editing and deleting posts, both of which work like a charm across all three sites.
I don’t plan to crosspost everything. The WordPress blog is mainly going to be for writing/creative process stuff and project updates (all of which will be mirrored to my other blogs when I post them, which means you can follow wherever you prefer). But I’m delighted with how seamless this is — one click of a button and bing!, my post pops up in all three places with appropriate footers and tags and everything.
Well, first of all, Sun-Cutter is not going to resume on Monday. The Kismet LJ feed CLAIMS that there is a new page, but it’s a glitch (mine, not the computer’s — I had a page set to update today and forgot, so it was only up for about 5 minutes ’til I discovered and pulled it).
I do have two pages done, but I want a bigger backlog than that, because as I have learned over the last six months, I don’t seem to be able to switch gears between fiction and comics very effectively. And most of my creative energy has been going into fiction lately (and this will continue for the near future). So, long story short, without a bigger backlog of pages, I’m just going to be right back in this exact same boat before too long. In order to get a chunk of pages done, I need to carve out a week or two that’s devoted to doing nothing but the comic, and I wasn’t able to do that in July. And I would be looking at another updating interruption in October anyway, since I have travel plans that month.
So, rather than stopping and starting all over the place, I’m going to tentatively (but optimistically!) aim for resuming updates in November. If the autumn gets away from me (as it so often does; it’s one of the busiest times of year), then I’ll push it back to January and make Sun-Cutter a priority in 2013.
In the meantime, I have the Sun-Cutter archive on my website and also on Tumblr now.
Also, THE SPAMMERS HAVE FOUND ME, so I’ve got the WordPress blog set to accept only comments from registered users right now. I’ll open it up to everybody when I start using this blog more, but if I’m only updating once or twice a month and don’t really have many people reading this blog, the hassle of dealing with the spam isn’t really worth it.