It has been a hell of a year, and we’re only 34 days into it.
I tell people, ad nauseam, that my Falls are pretty busy and sometimes my writing is sacrificed here and there because of the different commitments I have. It’s been that way for years. So, how do I handle my already busy fall schedule that barely leaves me room to write my name, much less extra chapters on the already bigger than Ivanhoe manuscript I mapped out 3 years ago?? That’s right! I get married and start a new job, all on the same day. As if the signs of my masochistic nature weren’t apparent enough, let’s add more items on the Fall “to-do” list.
I am a glutton for punishment, in more ways than one. I am a writer, so the fact that I’m also a procrastinator should not even be in question. It’s a usual charming characteristic of most writers and true artists. It’s a burden to be blessed with the imagination to craft either words, music, song or art, only to have your muse abandon you all together and block your creative juices at the most inopportune time. There is no word for it; it just is. And there’s no remedy for it. It’s one of those things that you have to push through, by either writing yourself goals, notes or making commitments to yourself. Having a network of other friends or artists helps (it helps if they’re both) who support you (because although they say it to your face, not all truly support you, i.e. haters) and are willing to hold you accountable to your end goal: completed story, completed manuscript, completed [art].
Sometimes procrastination shows up in the unlikeliest skin. What I discovered is when I have a lot on my larger than usual plate and already plagued with the burden of procrastination, I volunteer to take on more projects. More notably, I was asked to write a short story for an upcoming anthology benefiting cemetery restoration in New Orleans. I jumped at the chance because not only was it an opportunity to get another writing credit and get my name out there again, but the anthology will be represented at ComiCon this year. (insert Squee here!!!) Secondly, I will also appear in a book side by side with one of my dearest friends, Lisa (both artist and friend who truly supports me), who has always been there with a shoulder to cry on, a hot British guy to drool over, or a word or two of encouragement when I feel that ugly procrastination demon rear its ugly head. And despite given a great opportunity to write alongside a friend, a guarantted publication and representation, I still procrastinated on the story. For a 13K word story, it took me about 10 weeks to complete. And I’m still not there yet. Upcoming is still editing the fellow writers and re-editing my own. However…… don’t for a minute get me wrong. I would never complain. This opportunity was a blessing and I am happy to have it. Not only am I a published writer, but I became a writer with a deadline. I love it! It’s stressful in a sense, but I love it!
So, without further ado, here’s a recap of the last 4 months!
The fall brought about 4 unexpected appearances in both literary journals and anthologies. First, and one that I’m most excited about, is the publication of “The One About The Pig and The Silk Purse” in The New Plains Review. The reason I am thrilled about this one is because it’s one of the first stories I submitted when I took a creative writing class in college. Although I had always been a writer, I didn’t know my university offered creative writing as a minor, much less a major. After my professor read and graded the story, he asked to see me immediately to talk about changing my major. I was pleasantly surprised and thunderstruck as well. It was the first time I gave myself over to thoroughly entertaining the idea of writing in a professional sense. Granted, it’s years later and I’m still trying to break through, but I would have never gotten where I am today if I didn’t take that class and allow myself to believe (with a newfound sense of conviction) that I am talented and that talent can (and should) be recognized.
Secondly, I saw the reprint of “Encore” in two anthologies: Bare Minimum and Art Is Not Meant To Be Touched. Although it’s a reprint of a story first published in the summer 2013, I am thrilled at getting more exposure and potentially a bigger readership. It might just be one story at a time, it’s a well written and well plotted story I am very proud of.
And lastly, a new literary journal, Livid Squid, picked up the story which I have considered for the last 3 years unpublishable. “Games Best Played Alone” is about a schizophrenic who thinks he’s secretly Superman. I say unpublishable because every mag/journal I’ve sent it to has either claimed they can get it past legal or they mistake it for fan fiction. The fact that they mistake it for fan fiction makes me wonder if they even bothered to read it. (I’ve written fan fiction in the past. I know what fan fiction is. And this was not it.) Getting it past legal, I can understand that sentiment. The schizophrenic in the story asks his shrink to call him “Clark”, and in return he refers to his shrink as “Bruce”. I can see the issues. But I will always maintain it’s not a story about Superman. It’s about a lonely man, suffering a mental disorder and off his medication. It’s the first story I wrote in 2nd person narrative and the story in which I realized I had a talent for. I’d like to thank Livid Squid for having faith in the story and picking it up (even if they can’t seem to get my name right)
As far as the novel goes, I will say I had a successful Wine & Write in October. I completed 100 handwritten pages, which came out to about 22,000 words. And wouldn’t you know it, just as I finished that small feat, procrastination reared its ugly head, and despite starting the cemetery anthology story, I haven’t come back and gotten it into my computer yet. Thus I have my next goal. Spring is on it’s way, and with it, the birth of new chapters!
In the meantime, April will bring two more publications my way and I look forward to getting back to submitting my short stories again. I still have about 5 more I’d like to have published over the next 4 months. Afterward I plan on seeking out publishing my own anthology of the short stories. It may or may not go, but at least I’m going to try it. I’ve proven to myself time and time again in my short experience in the publishing world that I have no fear over a rejection letter any more. It’s literally like water off a duck’s back now.
So until the next update, cheers and let’s keep the art flowing!
Wendy C. Williford