I haven’t felt very productive lately, but that I’ve seemed very pressed for time just the same. I guess the feeling is because I haven’t been hitting a decent word count. Despite all the non-writing work I’ve done on things like outlining, research, and editing, I still feel like I’ve been lazy because I haven’t produced a new story in some time. I want to boost my volume of work, in an attempt to submit more stories and hopefully reach a larger audience. I ended up giving one away to the Nonlocal Science Fiction website, hoping a freebie would boost some interest in my story that’s coming out in issue 3 of the magazine, “The Hzeen”. This magazine is home to the first story of mine to ever be published, and I feel like I owe the publisher my eternal gratitude for that.
After signing up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I’ve also been trying to outline my work in progress. Most of it is handwritten in a notebook (scratched out during my lunch breaks at work), and I’ve been feverishly typing it up whenever I get time, doing some light editing as I go. I haven’t been writing it from an outline. Most of the beginning seemed to just grow as I wrote, expanding beyond the tidy short story I originally started. When I look at it now, I wonder how it ever could have been something shorter. I’m creating a possible future, centuries after a contagion spreads over earth and brings the dead to life. The survivors are the last of humanity, but they have reached an unsteady equilibrium among the walking dead, where they can eke out an existence while unable to claim victory over their enemy. There’s too much to explain, just in the everyday lives of humanity, to possibly resolve anything. I want to outline what I have left to write before November’s arrival, but that means not writing prose, and that irritates me. I get impatient with long-term goals, I guess.
I’ve also been researching other places to submit my genre stories. I purchased Writer’s Market 2015 to help me track down periodicals that might make good homes for my stories. By and large, they don’t want the types of things I enjoy writing, but I found a dozen or so that might accept my work and even pay something beyond contributors’ copies of the publication. Having received some very kind encouragement to proceed in this direction from the Nonlocal SciFi publisher, I think it’s the next step in making something of my writing. So my first new project is a horror piece inspired by Lovecraft, something one of the magazines seems to be especially fond of. I’m no Lovecraft fanatic, but I think I can get the disturbing, alien feel right while still keeping the plot moving. I’ll be sure to post more news once it’s done, maybe even include a small sample.
I also have some other stories I’m planning, all tales that continue the life-story of my protagonist, “Os”, featured in “The Hzeen”. “The Hzeen” is the second story I’ve written about the character, but it’s chronologically the first. I’d like to write at least one more before the rights to “The Hzeen” return to me in a year. They might make a decent short collection to publish with some help or even independently.
This blog has suffered as of late from the demands of my day job (frequently also a night, weekend, and holiday job) and the other writing goals I mentioned. I had a feeling that might happen. When I started the blog, I hoped to write two or three posts per week. Now I’m lucky to create one new entry every 7 or eight days. I’m not giving up on the blog, not when I seem to still attract a new follower here and there, but I hope people are understanding about the spans of time between posts. I’m not lazy, even though I feel like I haven’t accomplished much writing lately. I’m busy, it just isn’t showing up much here. With some luck, I might be able to bank a few entries to post during NaNoWriMo, since I have no doubts that November will find me neck deep in my zombie novel.
The goal of NaNoWriMo, of course, is to finish a first draft of at least 50,000 words, something I’ve never been able to do with any of the past novels I’ve started. I read about people pitching their novels on Twitter and at writing conventions, and I want desperately to be part of that heart-wrenching, soul-crushing, invigorating, brain-pulping process that’s a rite of passage in every writing career. There’s much outlining, writing, and editing left to do before I can take that step. I’ll do my best to make blogging part of that process, too.