I've been feeling stagnant lately.
To date, apart from the odd snatch of poetry and occasional non-fiction piece, I've written short stories. Pardon my ego, but I think I write them reasonably well. Problem is, as my darling so eloquently put it the other night, people are getting tired of waiting for me to do something meaningful. And let's be honest, they're probably right.
I've been thinking about the reason why I feel like I've reached a plateau in my career, and what it boils down to is this: I know I should be writing novels, but the idea of putting so much investment into a major work and then having to (possibly) navigate years of rejections scares the testes out of me. And because I'm scared, I allow myself to get distracted-- it's too easy to find shiny short story projects to play with, and push that novel work back just another month, just another quarter...... and on and on, and soon enough nobody's going to care, least of all me. And it feels like that time may be approaching pretty durn soon.
Lyn's been feeling stagnant lately, and being her, just sat the hell down and came to some decisions without getting all Rita Hayworth about it. Which means the decisive cow has left me with no alternative but to do the same :) And really, what it boils down to is one simple question, and if you read the title to this post, you've probably guessed what that was. I needed to do something to refocus myself-- I've already finished with short stories for the time being, and turned my attention back to my long-neglected, dusty manuscripts. Something concrete was necessary.
So I’ve finally shifted my ass and joined the SFWA and HWA. Whether it’ll have any direct impact upon my career is anyone’s guess. But having joined the peak bodies for my particular little corner of the writing world, it leaves me, at least mentally, drawing a line under several aspects of my previous performance: a literary “What would Jesus do?” of the mind (Ooooooh boogieboogieboogie)— a level of performance to live up to, rather than aspire to, or something like that. It's a way of benchmarking myself against something a little further up the food chain than I've been doing so far, a sign to hang above each project, to ward away complacency ("You're spending all that money to be in the SFWA. Is this thing worth having done that?").
Either way, ‘tis done, ‘tis done.