I’ve had a bit of a revelation in the past few days. I’ve been trying to spread myself too thin with my writing, as I didn’t really know what my goals were. I’ve been a bit despondent about the lack of comments I get on my friday flashes, but I don’t have the time to be consistently posting. The last few weeks I’ve been time poor because I’ve had other deadlines I had to meet so I’ve had to let go of friday flash, but with plans to come back to it and struggle to compete for readers with the more popular writers (and let’s face it, most people are going to stick to a few writers they know, and maybe try a few new people, so it *is* a little competitive to try to “win” readers). But honestly, at this point in time, it’s pretty futile. I’m 3 and a bit months off giving birth to my third child. I will have no time to participate in friday flash in a meaningful way (I may have time to read, but commenting will be tricky and trying to find the time to write… well, it MAY be possible but I don’t know yet!) so working to build up a readership right now is potentially a waste of this time I have now.
Perhaps this seems counter-intuitive? Well, basically I need to prioritise my time in accordance with my goals. And I’m finally crystallising what my goals as a writer are.
1. To develop a consistent and confident “voice”.
2. To explore my writing style and creative themes that are compelling me right now.
3. To get some stories published!
4. To build up a supportive community that is based on constructive feedback and real “depth” interactions.
While friday flash can achieve the latter goal, if you can’t commit to it consistently for a long time your interactions are going to remain fairly superficial. And while I love getting lots of comments on stories, I also feel bad when I get only a few. I know it takes time to build up a “rep”, and if I keep dropping out of the loop to write stories that are destined for submission elsewhere (or um, have a baby and drop off the face of Twitter) then I’ll have to keep building that back up.
So while I may post stories intermittently on here for the next three months my goals are what I’ve listed above. I’m lucky that recently I’ve had some really good connections with some amazing writers so goal number 4 seems eminently doable. 1 and 2 I am working on, and I’m excited that I think I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough on finding my voice. And 3… well, I’ve submitted 5 stories since July, one of which is destined for publication in the supportive environs of Literary Mix Tapes, the brainchild of Jodi Cleghorn (actually there are two others due out under LMT), the others have been submitted via the usual cutthroat process of acceptance/rejection.
So in the interests of transparency, my submission list for this year is:
Literary Mix Tapes (Eighty-Nine and Tiny Dancer) submitted
Best Australian Short Stories submitted
Machine of Death submitted
Short Australian Stories (Spineless Wonders anthology) submitted
Wet Ink Short Story Prize submitted
Apocalypse Hope in progress
Damnation and Dames in progress
Bloodstones (technically not to be submitted till next year but want to get it written this year)
Wish me luck! I’ll come back and update every rejection, I promise ;).