Quittin’ time?

June 29, 2015

I used to pride myself in writing every day. If new words were not put on paper, writing was at least being worked on: editing, proofreading, and even submitting stories always felt like progress had been made. Lately, I’ve been trying, but can’t even bring myself to do much of that.

New ideas feel like they’re few and far between. I should say, for short stories they are. I’ve got a few, and I’ve even started writing them…but good luck finishing them, or even really wanting to follow through. I guess I get discouraged shortly into it, and wonder why I’m even bothering.

(As for longer ideas, like novels, I’ve got plenty of those. Due to certain circumstances, I’m pausing on that for now, but will start up real soon.)

But I’m getting discouraged with editing and submitting as well. I’m happy with my stories and ideas, but I feel like I need something to keep me moving. The good fight needs motivation, encouragement, and I’ve got none of those right now.

Last year, I wanted to get a story published (or at least accepted for publication) once a month. Totally doable, and totally plausible. It didn’t happen. This year has been worse. I’ve got a story coming up soon, but know when it was accepted? December 24th. Over six months ago. Since then…nothing.

One of the problems I’m noticing is that a lot of publications (not all, but many) are what I would call nonconventional. While the format is typical, the types of stories they want isn’t the “norm”. I have no problem with female characters, gay characters, disabled characters, racial characters, and whatnot. But should I start writing things like this just so I can get published?

I’m no stranger to writing about non-white, non cis-male characters. Do I need to make a fuss over what color the characters’ skin is just so I can get published, though? That stuff shouldn’t even matter—it’s the story that counts. Besides, someone once said since I’m a white male, I need to stick to what I know (even though I don’t agree with that).

While many of the publications out there don’t mind if your character is a white male, they’ve all rejected me. Surely, someone wants my writing, right?

Or maybe it just sucks.

That’s what I’m thinking. And I have a bad feeling that if I self-publish a few short stories, very few people will even care.

I know this should just be about the money, and it isn’t. However, this is what I want my job to be. I’m sick of retail, and I went to college to be a writer. You don’t go to college to be an accountant and then work for free because it’s just so much fun, do you? What it’s about is realizing that I suck.

I’m lacking confidence. I’m lacking faith in my own abilities. I’m lacking motivation, and more than anything, I’m lacking reasons to care.

Will anyone care if I just quit?

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Shakin’ Down

June 28, 2015

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. As an American, there are a few things that are more prominent in my news feed than in other places, and I feel inundated with notifications of these things. Some are affecting me, others aren’t. Still, information is a part of our daily lives, and I have some thoughts.

Chris Squire, the bass player for Yes, has passed away. Chris was the only member of the band to play on every album (all 21 of them!), and was, in my opinion, the most talented (sorry, Trevor).

What many of you don’t know is that I was formerly a musician. From 1996 to 2007, I played bass guitar in multiple bands, and just on my own. Chris was a big influence in my learning, even though I couldn’t even dream of playing like he did. Well, “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, but that’s fairly simple, compared to his other basslines. Regardless, I feel like the musical world is a little bit emptier without Chris, especially given his relatively young age (68, I think?), and the fact that he was still touring and recording with Yes.

Gay marriage is legal in the United States! I’m so happy, as are many, many others. While I’m straight as a board, I’ve always been an ally, a supporter, a friend, and a fellow human being who just wants other humans to have the same rights as me. Purely for aesthetic reasons, I’ve never been a big rainbow person, but I couldn’t be happier to see so many rainbows on the internet right now.

SpaceX’s rocket…sigh. What a devastating loss. It was unmanned, but was heading up to the ISS to drop off supplies, and then…boom. I really wish this was a story I’m working on, and something cool happens and all ends well. Unfortunately, it’s real, and costly, and hopefully, something we can learn from. It seems like any time there is an incident involving space travel, programs are put into question, and money is the main topic everyone comes back to. I hope that this can be figured out, and we can continue to explore our galaxy, and keep science fiction writers like me active, and working on stories that don’t really make much sense in the long run.

Those are my thoughts…I’ve got a lot more on my mind, but nothing involving the world at large. I have been working on stuff, but not as much as I’d like. Still, that’s a story for another time.

The Funny Pages

June 22, 2015

Last week, I turned 35 (I know, I should have faked my age long ago!), and I feel like things aren’t going the way I’d hoped with writing. I mean, I graduated college ten years ago, and I’m just now starting to have some semblance of success (Hey! Stop laughing! It is too success…sort of…) with my stories, and I always fight with myself over whether or not I should just quit.

Well, I’ll never quite. I’ve tried. I can’t. Writing is as much a part of me as my beautiful hazel eyes and massive chest muscles (Hey! Stop laughing again! It’s not that bad…), and I’ll never quit. Maybe quit trying for this to be my career, but that’s neither here nor there. Until I give up, I have an idea that might just work for me.

I’ve loved comic books for almost my entire life. I keep thinking of turning some of my stories into comic books. As a longtime lover of the medium, I think a lot of my stuff could easily and awesomely make a good transition from words to pictures with words.

We’re talking pirates…we’re talking monsters, aliens, space ships, fantasy, romance, adventure, swords, blood, sweat, tears, sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll!

Seriously…it’s all there, and it could all work. I’m sure it’ll go through Kickstarter, but again, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

Anyone know a good artist who can work pro bono?

Copycat

June 19, 2015

There can be similar ideas on the market. Hell, there can be total ripoffs that foster just enough changes to make it seem okay.

Yesterday, DC Comics released their new title, Black Canary #1. It’s awesome, and I’m really glad I took a chance on it. Also, I love the art style!

But the story of this issue is very similar to a short story I wrote a few years ago. It was never published, and I can’t claim that the writer of the comic stole my idea, especially because there are enough differences to make them individual. However, the main idea is similar, and it bugs me.

I’ve been sitting on the story for a while, mainly because I wasn’t too confident with it. However, after recently reading over it again, I’ve decided to start looking into submitting it for publication.

Well, lo and behold, a similar idea is out there already.

But not to worry, I’m going to do it anyway. Because I didn’t steal the idea, and they’re different enough that it won’t matter.

And you know what else? It’s a damn good story. I can’t cheat you out of that 😉

Dirty Laundry

June 10, 2015

Lately, I’ve been sending out stories to publications. These are called submissions. While I typically have several stories out at several different magazines at a time, I get frustrated at the long waits for them to read and (usually) reject them.

However, I hate the rejections that share comments on the stories.

You heard that right. I’d prefer a form letter. Short and to the point. Don’t give me reasons, and don’t try to make me feel like you care. Tell me if you’re giving me exposure and money or not. I’ll give you plenty of exposure in return, and hopefully some money from people who will buy the issue (and possibly many more!).

So what I’m going to do from now on is this: any time I receive a personalized rejection, I’m reprinting it here. That way, people can see the bullshit reasons that editors reject me.

Think I’m being petty? Think again.

Sometimes, these rejections are so ridiculous, you have to wonder if they even read the story. Sometimes, they tell me reasons why they would publish it, but for whatever reason they decided not to.

So just to show the world how crazy it is for me and every other writer out there, I’m letting you know what they have to say.

But if I get a form letter, don’t worry. In fact, I’ll thank the publisher. So after today’s short and sweet rejection, I offer a giant thanks to John Jos. Adams from Lightspeed magazine. Did he really read it or did a first reader? Did they like it but just couldn’t find a place for it? Who knows! Who cares! They didn’t waste my time, and I have immense thanks for that.

Hopefully, you won’t ever see a blog entry with this kind of crap in it. Because I can only hope that in the future, every rejection I receive will be the same as everyone else. That is, if I continue getting rejections…shouldn’t they be acceptances?