Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When the Dust Settles

I took a much needed sick day yesterday. Mini has progressed to the fussy stage, so I know he's getting better. He's not sleeping all day now, and is back up and getting into things. It's taking me a bit longer to get over the junk, however. This stuff is stubborn, and I have to watch these bad fits of congestion - I'm prone to pneumonia. The last thing I want or need is a hospital stay. I'm feeling better today, though. Just a little tired.

Instead of writing yesterday, I picked up S.L. Viehl's Plague of Memory from my TBR shelf and started reading it. It's been a while since I've chanced any science fiction, so it reads very fresh. I haven't read any of Ms. Viehl's other StarDoc novels, so I'm going to have to go back and pick up a few of her earlier works.

The main character in Plague of Memory is Dr. Cherijo Torin, an onboard doctor who sees to the health of many different species. She was nearly killed in a previous novel, and has had a personality change along with her memory loss. She has no desire to remember her past, but then she gets called in to find a cure for a strange plague affecting a reptilian race called the Hsktskt. She goes to help them, and things from her past start cropping up.

When I read sci-fi (yes, I actually call it sci-fi) I tend to pick novels that have a lot to do with alien culture, and breaking down cultural barriers between races, and Plague of Memory fits the bill. Once Cherijo meets up with the Hsktskt, the book becomes quite involving and hard to put down. I could read a dozen novels like this and never get tired of it. There's something different and new to learn about an alien species every time you pick up a new book. I like that.

As for my own writing, I am going to take a break for a few days. On top of being sick, I'm pushing a serious case of burn out. I came across a cool website yesterday called Rose Colored Glasses - heck, I'm probably the only person on the planet that hadn't heard of it until now - anyway, there was actually an article about doing things to get your writing groove back. I could totally relate, and decided I need to cool it for a while.

I don't know why sometimes I feel like I need to push myself to the limits to get stories out. It's not that I need the money from my writing, or that anyone at home is cracking the whip on me.
I take chances with my stories because it really is all in fun. I've been writing for a very long time, always because it was something I enjoyed rather than something I looked at as a career. However, once I got published my writing sort of went from hobby status to "Oh, cool! I'm getting somewhere with this!" Nevermind until that point, I never realized I was actually trying to go anywhere with my writing.

For the last few months it's been push, push, push... And with that effort my love of writing gone flat. Not because I can't write, but because the writing from the heart part is missing. I'm doing it because I feel I have to - which is ridiculous when I think about it. I'm not under contract anywhere, and aside from that - what's the rush?

When I finally gripped things by the horns last year and told hubby I wanted to pursue writing as a career, I had a 6 year plan in mind. Anyone else have a goal like that? To give yourself six years (or however long) to putter around in the markets, take your lumps, feel yourself out, try a few genres and learn your niche; basically to figure out how the wheels of the publishing world turn? Well, that was my goal. I wanted to time things accordingly, so I could have the first six years home free with Mini before he's off to kindergarten. Anyone who's a parent knows that times goes by much too quickly. Then suddenly, I don't know exactly how it happened, things sort of spiralled out of control, and I started pushing for more, more, more: I'll do a story here, and a story there. Oh! I'll submit one there, too.

When I got sick this time around, it hit me - I'm taking on too much. I'm wearing myself down. And then the facts sank in - I've been in this game less than a year. *_* How am I going to make it in print, if I can't swing book by book contracting. In short, I realized I've got to get a reign on burning the candle at both ends. I suppose I was making an unconscious attempt to reach a long term goal in a short amount of time, and it's just not going to happen. That's when I decided I needed to scale back.

Yesterday, between other chores, I sorted through my various wips. A lot off them were short stories I had slated for here and there. I shelved them. Put them right back into the "STORY IDEAS" file to sift through later. Months ago, I told myself after I wrote Wicked Temptation, that I wanted to try longer fiction. And here I am with a dozen more short stories?

I have only the demons on the desktop now. No more worrying about writing this story for publication - I honestly believe that's why it's dragging out so long. I didn't start the story worrying if it would get accepted, and it's time I got over that. My writing buddies are so wise... I really should listen to them more often. If one publisher won't accept my demons, there is always another, and another, and another who just might.

That's it for me today. I'm off to hit the Alkaseltzer Cold Plus. Happy hump day, folks!


  1. I hope you and Mini feel better soon, Cora.

    No, I have no plan. I wish I did. On the up side, it means my plan can't fall through...

  2. Thanks, Annie.

    About the no plan thing/can't fall through - that's so true. I never really thought of it that way. That's a serious perk.

  3. You still sick with this crap, too? OMG! Take care and don't worry about a thing!

    Those demons will still be around when you're ready to tackle them again.

    Recharge your batteries. And get well! That's an order from your moon-sister, Cass! LOL

  4. Aww, Cora, I know what you mean. I've been down the very same boat. Being sick is awful.

    But don't push yourself. When you push too hard, the muse gets intimidated and runs away. I think in large part, we feel that we have to prove ourselves as writers. Prove that this is our job, our career, so we push ourselves harder, make ourselves work to the point of burnout, for the sake of having somethign to show for it (at least I know I do). Then, bam! The heart is gone, and all that's left is a yucky manuscript that you don't want to look at for a while.

    It'll come. Just give it time. You've gotten a lot done. It'll still be there when you come back to it, ok? ;)


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