I was always a long-distance person. Whether running, biking, or swimming, I found I lacked stamina, interest, and/or fast-twitch muscles for sprints. My favorite exercise was to spend hours on the side of the road or in the pool, getting into “the zone,” meditating on my own rhythm.
Perhaps because my brain doesn’t work the same way as my body (all the fast-twitch muscles seem to be up top!) I often think that intellectual work has to be done “right now.” I can become bogged down in edits, and I don’t seem to have the stamina for full-length novels.
It’s a test of my patience, therefore, to find my writing career still speeding along the runway, seeking its lift. Last month I received word that the publisher of my children’s book, Raccoon Rescue, is closing its doors. Travel and projects for my day job, meanwhile, have had me focused on stories rather than blogging or newslettering.
None of this is to complain. I love my job, and I’m grateful to have it after eight months of un-/self-employment and uncertainty. Rather, the realities of trying to balance a full-time job and a part-time authorpreneurship effort have me rethinking and refocusing my efforts.
That used to happen with exercise, too: always around the ¾ mile or 1800-yard mark, I’d get winded. My muscles would feel like they were quitting. I’d think I was done for that day. Yet I’d persist (mainly because I was either too far from home, or mentally not yet ready to quit), and sure enough, by the 1-mile (or 2000-yard) mark, I’d find a second wind and be able to go for another hour.
A path forward for Raccoon Rescue
As disappointing as my publisher’s decision was, and as tempting as might be to think “it wasn’t meant to be,” the truth is, it’s just a setback. Going above and beyond her contractual obligations, my publisher plans to help me to publish independently. Illustrations are done, so I’ll soon offer a cover reveal (!), and if things really go my way, I may even be able to have a real book launch. Stay tuned!
Other steps forward
It’s hard to feel like I’ve taken a few steps backward when forward momentum this past spring seemed so real and promising. And yet, forward momentum has continued, even if it’s at a slower pace than I’d like:
I received an acceptance for the novella I first drafted last summer. The project that became my anchor after my layoff, it’s a dystopian urban fantasy (I think… or magical realism) with some elements of crime fiction. I don’t want to say too much more until more details are finalized, but that acceptance and subsequent editing process definitely provided a bright spot.
I completed some new short stories. Ones I’m really excited about, also in the fantasy realm. Those I’m hoping to place in magazines, which can take time, but feels like the right approach as a way to rebuild my credibility as a writer. Look for some excerpts coming on those.
Finally, I plan soon to put together a collection of my short stories that were published about 10 years ago. It’ll be a freebie, since most of those stories are already available online and also in a genre I don’t do much with anymore (although even then it started to transverse the boundary into horror and fantasy, which is fun to look back and realize).
I don’t know if this constitutes a second wind, but I do know I’m in this for the long haul. I’m doing what I love — writing by day as well as by night, on things that creatively manage to feed one another — and that’s all I can really ask.