The Unbearable Likeness of Blogging

The home of the red knight!!

Its true. The frequency with which this blog is maintained is a direct reflection of the chaos and stress that is real life. And real life, she has been a real bitch the last few weeks. As always, it’s all about the day job – home life remains the tranquil snapshot of awesomeness that it always is, minus the occasionally screaming tantrum from a random child at how unfair their life of prime world+1 living is (that’s an echelon or two above “first world problems,” as I like to think of it). Also, apparently the efficacy of Mother and I explaining the way things were back in the dark ages of our childhood are losing their appeal and believability. Surely this so-called world without streaming media is just a nightmare we parents made up to overcome our own fears and disappointments with our own youth.

The other reason the blog has slowed down these last few weeks is probably a signal of a larger problem in my general writing. I feel compelled to provide short essays for blog posts. When I can’t accomplish that, when all I have to offer the visitor is the random “you should hear what my kid said today,” or “check out this cool thing someone else wrote about” – well, isn’t that what twitter and Facebook are for? (Not that I’ve been active in those media lately either). I build up (in my head) this expectation that blog posts should be small treatises, just like when I sit down with Scrivener I should be crafting gold.

Truth is, while those small essays are  fulfilling to write, it isn’t reasonable to expect that every day or two. Raising the bar too high, it’s often easier to let go and give up rather than try, especially if you know ahead of time that you won’t make the target. That’s true in blogging as well as writing, and the effects spread. Giving up on tackling a bit of writing encourages a sense that none of it’s not worth it.

Well, that’s obviously not true. So how do you turn it around?

For blogging, I take solace in reading other blogs where a single gal or guy pull it off. Not all of them blog daily; very few in fact manage that level of output. But it is possible.

For writing, I used to take my inspiration from the crap that is published. Yes, it’s the old “I can do better than this crap!” attitude. I’ve since sobered up from that perspective, though. First, refuse from the dung heap of literature that some of these books are, their authors at least finished. There’s something I can’t rightfully say I’ve done too often. Second, they got published because they were the best the publishers had to look at at the time. Who’s fault is that?

These days, and by these days I mean of late, the last two hours, what have you, I’m trying to look at the good examples for inspiration. I picked up “The Red Knight” this week to review for the Fantasy Book Addict. I’m not far in the book, just the first 10% or so, but I’m pretty sure I’m in love. This, folks, is good, solid writing craft executed well. I feel inspired to stab the beast that is longer fiction again and again now.

So this is my apology for not clogging your RSS feeds the last week or so after maintaining a steady stream of late, and a thank you for sticking around. Expect more posts on writing, kids, and the random stuff that amuses me resuming shortly. As for the fiction side of the house, it isn’t fair to say I’ve been slacking lately (currently two short stories out for consideration and 3/4 of the way through the first draft of another), but as I wrap up this short story I want to begin looking at outlining something a bit more…epic. 😉


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A fresh Monday with a fresh perspective

Short Story
Image via Wikipedia

Happy Monday, webbies.

*cracks knuckles*

I’m home today on account of Katy getting her cast off (we hope), so I figured what better way to spend a few minutes this morning than posting to the blog? I mean, really, its not like I should be doing dishes or cutting down the jungle outside or anything. Right?

Yesterday, we went out and got our hair cut. Yep, all of us, even Kim and me. Everyone has a lighter, bouncier ‘do, and by the magic of late summer that translates into bouncier, happier attitudes. The prospect of the cast coming off today, of course, helps a lot. I’m being cautious because Kim is notoriously pessimistic, and I’m infamously optimistically, and the truth is that today is x-rays with a likely potential of the cast coming off, not the guaranteed, set in stone event I like to think of it as.

This morning I caught up on my feed reading, including the Genreality posts from the past few weeks, Key Moments In a Writing Life Part 1 and Part 2. Reading through the articles, especially the first one, what stood out the most to me were the gaps between when Ken started sending stories out and the first acceptance, not to mention the footnotes on rejections. How does that make any kind of sense? Established authors had to, what, work to establish themselves?

OK, so maybe that was a little caustic. But really, its one thing to have the “everyone has to start somewhere” attitude, and another to have evidence of it. Jamie G. chided me yesterday on twitter that “The only thing worse than rejection is not sending the story back out again.” He’s so right. Its overly simplistic to look at a writer’s accomplishments and only see the tip of the iceberg, never perceiving the number of failed stories and rejections that lead up to success. But its also a much easier path to take. Failing on the first submission lets you call it quits and become depressed justifiably – you sent it out, it got rejected, the world just hates you and your writing. Never mind that maybe it wasn’t the right venue, wasn’t a good day for the editor, or that your story might actually need some work. Of course, its also easier to admit that when you’ve had a good night’s sleep than when you first received the rejection with no positive reinforcement in your portfolio yet.

So, today I have some goals. There’s the expected dishes and machete work in the back yard. There’s also a promised game of Magic with Anna. But its also time to re-read some stories and make sure they are as fresh as I think they are, making edits as necessary; its time to put together a list of first and second (and third and fourth) tier markets to try the stories in. Its time to put it out there.

Its time.

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