(TL/DR, sign up for my email newsletter and next week you’ll get a short story from me. I promise not to be spammy or sell your name, because people who do that have a special place in hell where they’re forced to be roommates with Ann Coulter and Kellyanne Conway. And Chris Christie lives next door. Ew, right?)
This week I officially rejoined the ranks of the full-time workforce. I won’t bore you with the details about that (and they really are boring), but it gives me an opportunity to talk about consistency, time management, changes to my weekly email (which haven’t been all that weekly of late), and the value we place (or don’t place, rather) on fiction.
I’m not the sort of writer who thinks “you have to write every day without fail and it has to be X number of words or you’re a complete failure why do you even call yourself a writer just give it up already.”
(Pause, deep breath, continue.)
This is a good thing, because I don’t write every. single. day. Some days I’m just too busy with other things (freelance work, housework or, I would bet from here on out, work work) or I’m not feeling it. Granted, I don’t think it’s a good idea to wait around for inspiration or some muse to strike. You’ll probably be waiting for a while in that case.
I do, however, think consistency pays off in the long run. I find the times of day and the days of the week that work best for me to get writing done… and I try to make the most of them. I don’t force myself to spend every one of those possible minutes with my butt in the chair in front of the work in progress, but I also understand that putting my butt in that chair is the only way the writing (or the revising) gets done.
It’s also the only way this blog gets written, and to that end, I’m going to change things up a little. Starting next week, I’m planning to post on a biweekly basis (while also reserving the possibility for an extra post here or there in between), and every other post will be a short story, by me, that you might not have read before. I might even throw in an original unpublished one here and there. You never know. Surprises are fun, yes?
But here’s the thing: I’m only posting an excerpt here. If you want the whole story, you’ll have to sign up for the newsletter.
I’d been wondering what to do with these stories for a while now. There are over two dozen of them (that sounds more prolific than it really is), which have been published in anthologies and litmags over the past few years. I don’t really see them being compiled into a collection on their own, if for no other reason than short story collections just don’t sell very well (George Saunders and Alice Munro being obvious exceptions, of course). In my case, the stories also tend to cover a wide range of genres and would probably be tricky to collect in a coherent way.
So giving them away seems like the best option at this point, because in most cases I’ve already been paid for them, and what’s a story if it doesn’t get read?
One thing I’m looking forward to is revisiting these and thinking about how I’d be tempted to change them now; see where characters feel flat or plots come off as contrived. Will some of them feel so cringe-worthy now that I won’t even use them? Probably. I won’t say I’m my worst critic, but I can be pretty mean. But not to you. Never you.