To be prolific

Some people find it challenging to be prolific as a writer. I don’t, per se, but on a schedule where I have to make ends meet by non-writing employment, let alone a schedule where I have to do that and also give myself some time for my husband, socializing, homemaking, and random interruptions of all kinds— it’s easy to write many throwaway items, and not so easy to write polished work.

This challenge extends to more than just publishable fiction. When I say “throwaway items” I mean things like tweets or (preferably) self-contained, collaboratively written scenes. I try to put thought into literally anything that I write to/with other people, but in terms of nonfiction I’m not going to expend as much effort on a thing it takes 0.05 seconds to read, while in terms of fiction I’m not going to worry about getting things just right when it’s a project I regard mostly as practice. Consequently, it’s not much trouble to spend time on these things most days of the week. But anything else—

Publishable fiction eats up time. Querying it takes time. Full-blown essays take time. General blogging takes time. Even spending effort on writing stuff that promotes myself and tries to convince people to spend money on my work as a whole… that takes time and a certain je ne sais quoi. I didn’t think I could really make the Patreon take off, and so far it hasn’t done anything.

Frankly, I am not complaining about this problem, or at least I would like these reflections not to be interpreted as complaining about anything besides facts like 24 hour days, 8 hour sleep phases, and full-time income generation. I can’t change much about those facts, and I think that with or without any sponsorship, I’ll need to take some steps to push my writing life along.

To that end, here are a few developments/decisions:

  1. I have renewed my lapsed search for a Frankenstein producer. There is no taker yet, but I’m having conversations that need to be had, rather than having conversations about those conversations, if you know what I mean.
  2. My new story “O Fortuna” is still being queried, but I’m starting to think I should try to churn out a shorter piece after that comparable novella, so that I can be querying more than one thing at a time. That’s more effort, but it doesn’t feel too productive to wait for literal months to back from each magazine at a time about a single story. I really hope inspiration strikes soon for a tiny tale.
  3. I am neck-deep in research for my next novel(s), and I don’t expect to be at a point where I can really put that research to work until spring has arrived. But it’s been a very stimulating and rewarding process so far.
  4. Right now, above all I’m envious of writers who can crank out a blog post a day like it isn’t an undertaking. Of course, I don’t find it an undertaking in terms of my ability to produce several paragraphs in less than an hour— I can do that— but I find myself stymied by:
    • Difficulty choosing a dedicated blogging schedule
    • Uncertainty about what method I can use to assure that I really stick to that schedule apart from genuinely not having any time that day
    • Wariness about treating a public blog as a diary; even if I don’t include anything I’d rather keep private, who really cares about the minutiæ of my day-to-day?
    • Wariness about using this blog as a constant flow of commentary on politics, news items, or media; it seems much more natural than a diary, and I have no lack of opinions, but it means taking a deep breath and plunging out into some very treacherous waters.
  5. Consequently, if any of you have any short story premises that you’d be curious to see me handle, or any preference about how I could use this blog more frequently, I would truly welcome your feedback.

I think that’s everything worth saying for today. I am not committing to more regular updates right now, but I would very much like to motivate myself to increase my output in ways that do seem realistic.

D. Llywelyn Jones

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