Monday, December 1, 2014

December 2014 Update: Auld Lang Syne

It's that time of the year again, the time when we look back, ponder the course our lives took for the last 365 days, and either celebrate our accomplishments or lament our failures.

If you're anything like me, the flip of the page to December has left you wailing, "Where the hell did the time go!?!" Especially since my writing life seemed to completely veer off course, jump the guardrail, and crash and burn.

The past year (year-and-a-half, really) has been my least productive writing time ever. I've continued to resubmit rejected stories & even started a few new ones, but nothing at the pace I used to work at.

Now, the first excuse that pops to mind is, "Well, you did take on a full time job." True, but it's only partly to blame.

The real blame lies with change of any kind. Most humans resist change but eventually adapt. Most humans. Not me. Change completely throws me off, no matter how hard I try to embrace it or even if I'm the one who initiated the change. It throws me off my game & gives me writer's block.

For those of you who aren’t creative types, I’ll let you in on a little secret: us creative-types are Chihuahuas. The slightest little change in routine/life causes us to quake so bad that we shake the muse right out of us. It’s been a year of changes for me: kids moving in, kids moving out, hubby switching jobs, I switched to a full-time job, hubby switched back to his old job… shiver, shiver, shiver. It all really threw me out of my groove.

A lot of "creatives" are the same, a little introverted, a little quirky, a lot resistant to change. It's just a personality "creatives" share. And I bet you find your productivity/creativity slip every time there's a change in your life. Even if it's a small change.

It's nothing to be ashamed of...

It's something to be aware of so you are better prepared to fix it and not let it eat away at your creativity for a year or more.

And now, like Meryl Streep in SheDevil, I’m taking my damn life writerly life.

I’m drawing a line in the sand. 2015 is going to be my best writing year yet. Will I get a novel done? I doubt it. I’m not sure if I’m ever going to make that goal. But I am going to dedicate a few hours every day writing/editing, and I”m going to spend a good chunk of the weekends working on it. I'm going back to my old policy of having "office hours." Granted, they won't be as long as they used to be, I can't spend all day writing anymore, but I am going to make them a priority.

I'm also bringing the "fun back," with writing as play: lots of working on prompts, lots of freewriting, no pressure to take anything to completion. Of course, that can’t last forever (or else it’s the same as not writing at all. Eventually ya gotta finish something), but right now, I’m trying to get in the habit of starting something, so bringing the fun back helps. 

This past year, I think I finished ONE new short story, and I bet I only started three or four new short stories. In years passed, I would have started AT LEAST a dozen new short stories, and finished four to six. So in 2015, I’d like to finish four short stories, at a minimum. And by finish, I mean written/polished/sent out into the world.

While actually sitting down and writing is the main part of getting my writerly life back, the other part involves taking care of my Internet presence. Though there are times when I want to throw up my hands and say, “Why the frick am I building my brand on social media when, if I don’t get some writing done, there’s no brand to build!” I have managed to keep up a minimum online presence (outdated website, fair amount of Twitter/FB, abandoned blog, a million little social sites where I’m not active), but it’s time to get that updated, too.

So that's my review of 2014 and plan for 2015: 
2014 was my worst writing year ever; 2015 is going to be the best ever.

I already have some great projects coming up in 2015, including a story in a zombie anthology from Big Pulp and a humor story in Alternate Hilarities (release dates TBA).

And speaking of catching up...

ZNation...anybody seen it? How was it? I tried like crazy to fit it into my schedule & only ended up catching two episodes: the pilot, and the one with the crazy preacher. I enjoyed what little I saw, but I just wasn't sure how the whole series was going to pan out (I love you Syfy, but your shows/movies can be like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're going to get...and sometimes it's cheesy.

I guess I'll have to wait until they have a marathon and try and catch up on long as it doesn't interfere with my new writing plan.  ;)

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