No Puppets On Premises

So, I’m just back from ReaderCon (check out the Apex Books blog for a recap, won’t be putting one up here due to time issues), and the ass-end of a lot of thinking it about to catch up with me.

I drove up to Boston from North Carolina, a 16 hour drive on almost no sleep. I was already tired and a bit stressed, knowing the workload awaiting me when I got back. I was able (had to, really, due to a lack of internet) to put aside most of that while in Boston. It gave me a chance to just enjoy people, thought, all that good stuff. I even took NAPS!

(A quick digression: the people of ReaderCon are amazing. Huge thanks to Christie, John, Eric, Don, Doug, Blake, Amy, Conni, Elizabeth, Marlin, Bart, Athena, Adam and everyone else I ran into or spent time with. Too many good memories there.)

And with the work stuff on hold, I had time to think. Maybe too much time. There are reasons that I stay so busy, and one of those is to avoid thinking about personal stuff. Anyways, I did something that I’d been avoiding for a long time, and came to some decisions about past, present and future.

On top of that, I’ve had half a dozen people comment in the last couple of weeks to some variation of ‘wow, you’ve been so happy lately’.

Obviously, I’m doing something right.

I’ve realized that I *love* writing. I really do. I can’t go without it. But I’m no longer churning out 5000 words a day. Some days, I won’t do more than 200. I *can* do 5000 words a day, but it doesn’t leave me with the love that 200 words can inspire.

Besides that, I’ve got little love for the traditional publishing model. I can’t churn out 3 books a year, not without burning out. I might get 1 done, 1 rewritten. I love small presses though, and love working with them, but I can’t sustain the production necessary to make a living at it.

Finally, I’ve discovered just how much I love being an editor. It started with LD. Rigor Amortis clenched it. Working with the authors, planning promo and researching markets, that’s the stuff I have fun with. I’m not terrified of it, the way I am with writing. I trust myself more.

So, where does that leave me?

I’m planning two more anthologies this year. Rigor Amortis (Ardens), an invitation-only for the people published in the original, and the working-title of Deus ex Machina, which has no planning behind it yet. I’m also applying for a job as an editor. More on that later, I hope.

But the real news is about the writing. I’m scaling back. I said about a month ago that something had to go, or step into the background. At the moment, I’m at a stalemate. I have no time to move forward. Writing my own fiction is that tentative victim.

This is practicality, as much as anything. Novels are time-consuming, brutal and annoying. I love writing them, but…yeah. My skill-level is not where I want it to be. Short stories don’t bring in the money anymore. I want to be able to submit to whatever market is out there, paying or non-paying. I want to take my time, and write what *I* want to write, all the weird, surreal, awful stuff that my beta readers hate me for.

So I’m not giving it up. But I want more pieces like Climb and Dark Fire, and no more write-to-someone’s-theme pieces like Salt and Beautiful. I just don’t write that stuff very well. I’ve got all of these ideas, and keep thinking ‘yeah, but really? Who’s going to buy that?’

I feel like I’ve lost my integrity a bit. I’m going to go rediscover that. I’ll write like I used to write, stealing moments when no one is looking, walking sideways to the plot to see what it looks like from different angles. Creating works of art, rather than commercial fiction. Or at least that’s my goal!

So you’ll see less writing from me. I’m going to finish Haven, and see what people think. I’ll rewrite Red Sun and Inherent, and write Clay and Chain, but I won’t be pushing other things aside to work on the novels.

Wish me luck. I know where I want to be by this time next year. I’ll let you know if I’m there, when I get there!


5 Responses to “No Puppets On Premises”

  1. Editing really does have its rewards. I love it. I’m happy you’re planning on doing more editing. Means another good editor to submit my stories too. It’s good to figure out what you like and what you want to do when it comes to the publishing industry. Otherwise, it will eat you alive.

  2. The best thing is to do what you love, what you’re good at. Even better to be able to love the job you make for yourself and also to be able to have another love (writing) on the side, that you can go to on your terms.

    We need good editors. I’m happy to edit for people but I don’t want to do it all day long. I need to get to my own writing every day, or every few days. I’m lucky in that I get to mix fiction writing with non-fiction and academic writing, so I don’t get bored. But it also took me going to college for 8 years before I knew how to take my pre-college amateur and run through revisions until it was what it was supposed to be. I needed a lot of editors along the way, and I will always be grateful to people who can see my vision even when I’ve lost sight of the plot. Or who can conceive of an anthology and actually gather the right kind of stories to make it work. Or who are willing to put the work into publicity and marketing.

    I don’t feel like this is letting go of something as much as it is stepping into the path of what you’re meant to be doing. I wish you luck.

  3. Good for you!
    I really mean that. You have been drifting in and out of what others wanted and what you knew your self to be.

    Good luck.

  4. Nothing wrong with focus. Grab life by the pigtails, slap her ass and yell “who’s your Daddy!”

    Press hard. You’re making three copies.

  5. Ahem. Stuff your beta readers hate you for??? I protest!

    Whew. Glad to know you’ll be doing more editing. At least there will be an editor out there who likes my stuff!

    Whatever you do, stay you, be you and we will love you. Lots.

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