Tuesday, January 19, 2021

My 2021 Goals...er, Guidelines

I've never really been a New Year's Resolution kind of person. Not that I don't believe in making goals, but I know all too well that life can derail you at a moment's notice, and sometimes you simply decide that the track you're on isn't working and you jump rails by choice. (Says the girl whose Etsy shop is named Jumping Rails. Now you know part of the reason why.) So, yeah, I set goals, but I have a very Pirates of the Caribbean attitude about them--they're more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

This year I've come to a realization, though, that has spurred a decision to change direction. I've been working on a novel off and on for several years. It's a middle grade book, a sort of ghost story. I've not shared much about it with anyone until recently because my work on it has been so sporadic. This year, though, come hell or high water, or continuing pandemic, I'm getting that manuscript edited and published one way or another. 

And then, no more novels. For one, I have no real ideas for any. Sure, maybe a vague idea for a sequel to Relent, but since I have all of about 27 readers for that novel, there's not much of a motivation for me to tackle it. Other than that, nothing. Not to mention, marketing books sucks. At least, for me it does. 

One of my paintings, entitled Longing.

My art has been my focus the past few years, and I'm finding myself so much more inspired in that area, and after losing my son in 2018, it became a source of healing for my grief. My Etsy shop has done 1000 times better since reopening than it did originally. I'm finding my niche, learning what my artistic voice is -- even though it too can be a little all-over-the-place like my writing is. (Another reason my Etsy shop is called Jumping Rails.) I love painting, love doing altered thrift store art, even still, now and again, making some mixed media pieces or the once-in-a-blue-moon wand. Doing all that makes it very hard for me to focus on writing longer works, but...

There are short stories.

Back when I first started writing, I pumped out short stories like crazy. My main goal (see, I do make goals) in doing so was to build an audience for my novels. I honestly don't know if it helped at all. Most of the short stories were very different from my YA fantasy Toch Island Chronicles series. I wrote all different genres, for all different ages. (And there's that Jumping Rails thing again.) But, see, that's one thing I loved about short story writing. I never had to limit myself. Didn't have to worry about my "brand" and whether my stories tied together. Publishers of magazines and anthologies don't really care if your stories are all consistent, they just care whether or not the story you've submitted fits the magazine/issue/anthology they're publishing at the moment. 

One of the anthologies
I was asked to write for.
(This story is not on Wattpad,
but you can buy the antho
on Amazon.)

Anyway, I got away from short story writing. Over the past few years, the only short stories I've written were solicited ones--meaning, some small publishers came to me and requested I write stories for specific anthologies they were planning. That was an honor for me, and of course I agreed. But I had gotten away from just writing what popped into my head and shopping for markets. I think it was maybe the thing that had to give. I couldn't juggle novel writing and art and short stories, all while homeschooling, and definitely not after losing my son. 

But I'm so close to having my middle grade novel done. I feel like, if I can just get it finished and published, I can let go and shift over to short stories, which I can balance with my art. 

And folks, I'll tell you it's bizarre: I was kind of needing confirmation that this was the right decision, all while planning this blog post for the past few days. Then, today, when I was finally ready to sit down and type this, I noticed I was getting comments on some of my short stories on Wattpad, which hasn't happened in ages. So, yeah, here we go!

And if you are interested at all in my short story writing, you can check out some free stories on Wattpad for yourself (no membership needed to read them).  CLICK HERE

Some of those stories have been published in anthologies that can be purchased on Amazon, and of course there are other anthologies on Amazon that have stories which are not on Wattpad--you can find them by going to my Amazon Author Page

PS--I've turned off comments, and intend to continue keeping comments turned off on this blog. To be honest, for years (literally, I'm not exaggerating) the only comments I ever get on here have been spam. So, sorry. I will, as always, post links to these blogs on my Facebook Author Page, so you can always follow me there and comment if you have something to say. 

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