Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Saturday, 01 January 2005

Spent the morning fixing up my website. There's some manual work required to add a new year and tidy up the archive for the previous year. Did that. Also went through and checked links to other sites. For the first time, there were almost no broken links. The web seems to have settled down a lot in the past year.

The "tomorrow" and "yesterday" links don't work across year boundries. The last day of last year was 2004-12-31.

My database shows a depressingly small number of submissions over the past year. I've been writing (though not enough). But where I've really been falling down is I haven't been finishing stories and I haven't been marking them properly when I do finish them.

It's the sort of scenario where a simple exhortation should be what's needed. "Finish stories! Get them out to markets! If they get rejected, get them out to the next market by return post!"

I don't think exhortations are going to do the trick, though.

I rather like my stories. At least, I rather like the good ones--there've been a few here and there that didn't turn out. There's been no sign, though, that my stories are going to "break out" and be successful in a big way. I've never worried about that. I've always thought I'd be perfectly happy with a small career writing fiction. I don't need to win awards or make lots of money, if I can write what I like and sell it and other people who like it get a chance to read it. Just recently, though, I've come to be a bit frustrated by the situation. I've realized that I would like to write stories that people talk about. Stories that affect people.

I don't see how realizing that moves me much closer.

I've got a couple days left in my vacation and holiday. (My employer is celebrating New Year's Day on Monday, so I don't need to go back to work until Tuesday.) I think I'll spend part of that time thinking about what to write next. I've got a lot of half-written (and some barely started) stories hanging around. I need to decide if any of those are worth finishing, or if I should start something new.

I've always said that ideas are a dime a dozen. I've always been able to come up with five or six new ideas for stories in as many minutes. But implicit in doing so is the idea that there's something else there besides the idea that separates the adequate stories from the great ones. I think I need to spend sometime thinking about just what that is. It's what I need to focus on next.


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