I’ve been blogging in a few places under a nom de guerre, which was all lots of fun, but the years pass by and the things I meant to do remain undone, and I realised blogging had become another distraction, or worse, an ersatz alternative to writing fiction, a trick that allows me to think, hey, look at all of the stuff I’ve done.
The answer to that is, obviously, to start another blog.
No. I’m doing three things which require a tiny bit of discipline. Firstly, I started the year by writing and submitting a sf – fantasy story every ten days or so (it started as a week, but there’s a highly technical reason for the change in number). This was inspired by Ron Dionne, whose blogging I enjoyed very much, with his commentary on writing, the new publishing paradigm, pulp fiction and other things that gentlemen of a certain age can remember and relate to. I accepted that no doubt a longer period of reflection, polishing and redrafting would help these stories enormously. Here’s the thing. Some of them are based on notes I wrote 20 years ago. I figure they’ve had long enough. I set them free and give room to new ideas to come through. I don’t have another 20 years to wait. Then the rejections came, which was ok, I expected that. Then something else happened. I started making it to the second round with magazines I respected, before being rejected. Then the recriminations began. If only I had polished it more! If only I had taken a little more time! So I stopped. Entirely. Stuffed up by near success. So now I am balancing, and leaving them to mature a little longer.
Ron writes somewhere about being painfully shy and contemplating publishing his first novel under a pseudonym. Relating greatly to the painfully shy, one of the things I like about writing is its solitary nature. It was with great surprise that I joined an established writing group in Sydney this year. By established, I mean the sort that already has members. Who will be sitting in chairs when you walk into the room. And stare at you. Wondering why you have the audacity to walk up to them at all. Who might not even wait until you leave to start talking about you behind your back. But I turned up. Not to the first meeting that I said I would, but to the one after that. And it was nothing like I feared (nothing ever is, because nothing ever turns out to involve Cthulhu), the group was small that night, lovely and welcoming, and how wonderful to be in an environment where you can all talk about reading and writing. So that’s the second thing.
A few years ago I made it half way through the second draft of a horror novel. Family crises brought me to a grinding halt. The crises continue, but I have found writing something every day, with some progress every day, gives the day meaning and purpose. To think my silly thoughts, to put my nonsense into words, to send it out with vague hope of publication, with a dream of success – that makes me happy. And if it works out, so much the better. So, draft 1.5 is out, and I am working on it again.
I’ll allow myself to blog here, sometimes, about writing, and sometimes reading, and see how it goes. If it adds a little discipline and holds me to account, great. If not, it will die a death.