I’m an idiot. After more than a decade of writing on and off (more off than on), this is the realization I have come to. You ever read the Belgariad by David Eddings? And there’s that baby horse frolicking around when Garion is stuck in the ground and trying to touch its mind to tell it to go get help? And the baby’s mind flits like a butterfly from one object to another, none of it serious?
Today, I realized I’m the baby horse. My mind has always flitted from one thing to another, which is why I write in spurts and then go sulk in great long fits of self-pity. While sulking, I do lots of other things. Sometimes I don’t even know I’m sulking.
But here’s what I’ve realized:
A. I spent most of last year depressed. How in the hell did that happen? It must be true, because when I look back on accomplishments, they are nada. I can’t think of a single significant thing I did last year. I wrote a short story for Strong Currents 2, I finished up my series in the Hui Lei Magazine, and I taught a workshop at a small local conference. I even wrote a fast and furious 100+ pages of a novel in one week. Until I started second guessing myself and the story fell apart. I also did not finish up the rewrites of the novel I completed the previous year (325 pages in a month. It’s apparent I can write fast when I’m in the groove. It’s falling out of the groove and then being unable to find it again that’s the problem).
B. I’ve been trying to write quiet stories about two people falling in love. Oh, they’ve got their issues and all that, but the story is primarily about them working through those issues and learning they belong together. I’ve tossed in military heroes, but the military is more backstory than anything. A socialite and a Navy guy, for instance, working through the opposite world thing.
C. I LOVE rollicking adventure romances. Spies, secret operatives, military commandos, fate of the free world and all that. SO WHY IN HELL HAVEN’T I BEEN WRITING THAT?
D. The stakes I write are never high enough. I should be thinking bigger.
E. I want a career. In order to get that career, I must do several things.
1. Finish projects.
2. Write fast (I can) and stop questioning myself until the end.
3. Learn to outline or use a plotting board or something! Even if I change the story, I need a roadmap to eliminate all this meandering along.
4. Set goals and keep them.
5. Query on two novels THIS YEAR.
6. Realize this is a business. It isn’t personal. You don’t like what I write? Fine, someone else will.
7. Realize I will need to fine tune this list as I learn new things.