Here’s my problem: there’s only one of me. Or, in more pragmatic terms since I do not for a moment abide by the idea that “clones” would be any different from long-lost identical twins (and identical twins are often very different in their tastes, preferences, skills, etc.), my problem is that there simply isn’t enough time in a day, a week, a month, or a lifetime. OR, in far more realistic terms: my numerous interests and the desire to do everything, try everything is severely compromised by my unwillingness to cram my agenda so full that I don’t have time to simply sit and be every so often. In other words, I have a very strong and stubborn lazy streak in my personality that reacts violently to over-stimulation, causing an excess of stress and grumpiness.
This makes life challenging.
Take, for a single instance, the challenge between writing short fiction verses novel-length projects. On the one hand, short stories are not only a great way to break into the tantalizingly tough fiction market, but they also cater to my short attention span. I can sit down and write a complete short story in one sitting, edit it the next day while I’m still in the zone, get it off to cold readers, and in two weeks, give it another polish and send it out to find a home. I can do that over and over and over again in the time it would take to write a novel. On the other hand, novel writing pushes me to develop stronger characters, lasting narrative voice, deeper and more complicated plots, and–last but not least–completing a novel project would prove to me that not only can I do it, but that I might actually have a career in this field someday. After all, it’d be insanely tough to make a living at short story writing (though occasionally wildly gifted individuals can do so).
Both short fiction and long fiction could teach me so much about my strengths and weaknesses, but at the moment, they’re getting in each other’s way. I’m driven at the moment to work on my longer projects, the ones that linger in my head for months or years, that are continually begging me to finish them; but then, at the same time, I’ve got a bunch of short stories screaming for edits and polishes so that they can finally fly the coop and try to find their way in the magazine world. There aren’t any guarantees for either kind of project, not at my level of skill anyway. The real benefit of either is the learning experience and practice I’d get from either.
So I’m forced to tackle the tangled twine of all the things I want to do in the hopes of getting some semblance of logic out of it. I recall a few posts ago that I mentioned I’d put up my writing “to-do” list, if only to keep myself and all my projects in a kind of order. I haven’t put any deadlines yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to add those soon. So here it is, in its ungainly glory:
Writing To-Do List
– Re-plan Chapter 17 of Thief Dilemma (long)
– Finish Northermeed Island layout plans so I can re-plan Chapter 17 (and 18 and 19)
– Finish reading HEART OF THE STORM (excellent book on helicopter rescue)
– Read Chapter 2 of THE SPACE ENVIRONMENT
– Re-write all but section 2 of Chapter 17: make it a “double-issue!” (10k words) OR continue on to Chapter 18 immediately and post simultaneously
– Write rough draft of “Sidrie’s Last Battle”
– Write rough draft of “The Screaming Trees”
– Finish rough draft of “UNTITLED DYSTOPIAN SF SHORT STORY”
– Finish Chapter 2 of “MARHA’S STORY” (a.k.a. UNTITLED NOVEL PROJECT)
– 12-step edit of “The Road to Ki’o Ahi”
– 12-step edit of “Earthbound”
– Rewrite ending of “Swallow” from Amy’s POV
– 12-step edit “Blood Junkie”
– Make itinerary for “Ki’o Ahi”
– Make itinerary for “Earthbound”
– Make itinerary for “Swallow”
– Make itinerary for “Blood Junkie”
So there you have it! The now revised list, actually. I updated it as I typed it in. I’ve made sure that everything on the list is something I can do right now verses being reliant on completing another line on the to-do list. (Which is why, for example, I don’t have “Post Chapter 17” under the Submitting category, since the chapter isn’t completed yet.) If I sit down and pick up any one of these things, I’ll be making headway on the list, and therefore being productive in my writing endeavors.
Of course, right now I’m going to play some Thief via Xbox… It’s kind of research, isn’t it? >.O