16 February 2015

In Which I Try to Become a Machine.

Automaton from the Centre International
de la Mécanique d'Art.
Photo Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr by Rama.
I've done a lot of self-reflection lately, in addition to wallowing in self-pity when it comes to the state of my finances, career, and daily life. The danger of being unhappy or anxious, especially for a lengthy amount of time, is that it opens a door to inaction, including creative paralysis.
I'm trying to do something different this time. And maybe this is an obvious solution, and something professional writers have always practiced, but I'm going to try and make writing (and submitting!) an automatic process. 

This is a bold concept for me. 

I've never been good with set schedules or planning things in advance. I'm a serial pantser, and I've been continually working to reform my bad habit of writing only when I feel inspired to. I need to go beyond this.

I think one of the biggest problems I've had since graduating from SHU (besides work-life balance) is that my writing projects are all ENORMOUS in their ambition and heft, and I haven't developed a way to knock them down into sizeable chunks. And because of this, I don't consider any of the work to be finished, and then I fall into a state of defeat for not getting anything accomplished. Lame, right?

It occurred to me, with some help from my friends and fellow writers, that I needed to come up with a feasible plan for writing, and writing with the goal of being published. And I needed to widen my perspective and realize that I need to publish more than just novels. Author Patrick Picciarelli shared with me that his teaching career blossomed with publication, which only happened because he kept writing. 

So I have to keep going, and keep coming at it with different approaches until I find something that works for me. 

My current plan  involves looking up various publishers with open calls for anthologies (or open calls for smaller works in general), and to write according to their specifications. In other words, I start with no plan, read the submission guidelines, then write what the publication asks for.

via Dollar Photo Club.
I'm kind of embarrassed that this idea feels so revolutionary to me! But for my entire life, I only wrote when I had an idea, and if I didn't have an idea (however undeveloped it may be), I just didn't write. And when I did write, I only worked with ideas I already had in mind. 

Since developing this strategy, I've written two new pieces and submitted them already. I feel much more accomplished than I have for a good while. I'll keep pumping out a variety of work and see where it goes!

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