Thursday, January 31, 2008

Progress Report

January 31. I promised myself that I'd pull an old story out of the archives, do some pretty major work to it, and have it ready to submit for publication by the time this month was over.

Mission accomplished.

The story, currently titled "Scarred" (more on that in a minute), is ready to go. I'll spend a few days looking at some potential outlets for it, and then off it will go. I'd like to be done with that before the weekend is over, but I'm willing to let it go until, say, Wednesday, depending on what form my publication research has to take. I'm hoping I can do most of it online. If I have to track down some hard copies, that will take a little longer.

In the time between now and then, I'll be kicking around some alternate titles for the piece. "Scarred" just isn't doing it for me. It plays into some of the central imagery, but...I don't know, I just don't like it. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it or anything, and if it ends up going out with that title still attached, so be it. I'm just hoping that one final flash of inspiration will strike me in the meantime.

You can check the story out--just part of it for now, with more to come in the next few days--over on my fiction blog. My old homies from fiction workshops at BGSU may recognize it as, yes, it's been floating around up there for that long. It's undergone some significant changes from those days, of course (say thankya), and it's a much, MUCH stronger story now. When I first dusted it off and looked over it, I wasn't sure it was salvageable after all. It was obviously the work of an immature writer, but upon further review I felt like it still had the core of a good story. So I went to work on it, and the result is on its way out into the world, for better or for worse (hehe).

And I can't even tell you how good it felt to be working, writing, creating again. I think this was definitely a good way to ease myself back into it, with some heavy lifting on an old project rather than starting with something brand new right off the bat. I got my old drive back, the juices flowing, and now I'm ready to roll into the next step.

The goal of this whole enterprise, as I've mentioned, is simply to get myself into the habit of writing and stay there. To that end, I still have work to do. Setting a deadline for myself (the end of the month) was a great idea, as I know that I work best (and perhaps only) with a deadline. Setting it so far out, though, probably wasn't a great idea. Instead of jumping right into it, I coasted for a while, knowing I had plenty of time. It was just like being back in college!

But that's okay--now, as then, it's a learning process. I know that it's a good idea to set a deadline, but now I also know that setting some intermediate goals along the way is probably a good idea as well. I'm not quite ready to set a deadline for my next project yet, so here's what I'll set for a goal: In the first two weeks of February (1-15), I want to do AT LEAST half an hour (more, very likely, but let's start small) of dedicated creative writing on AT LEAST ten of those days, including getting some start on the next fairly cohesive story idea that's pounding away at my brain right now (and has been for a while, which is what prompted this whole thing).

And here's a note to self: read more short stories. I read a lot, but I read mainly novels, and that comes out in my writing. I tend to go off on tangents sometimes instead of keeping the story tight and focused. That's what revision is for, of course, but it would be a great help if I could rein it in from the outset. I have no doubt that my tendency to branch off the main story will come in handy at times, but maybe reading more short fiction will help me to determine (the first time) when it's appropriate and when it's not.

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