Home > cultural commentary, fiction, Process and technique > Saturday afternoon, bored!

Saturday afternoon, bored!

By 4pm I’d worked my way through three stories I’ve written in the last few months, rewritten sections, repurposed one with extensive editing and by including extra material, and put them back out to magazines. Whether I’ve made the wisest choice of magazines is a whole other question, of course.
I’d also written up four different bits that have occurred to me, usually by waking in the middle of the night in recent nights (on my time schedule that means about 6-7am) and decided that one idea is really a ‘chapter 2’ of one of the stories I ‘d sent out – so if they don’t want it, it’s suddenly become chapter 1 of a novella and if they do, I’ll have to write something else to get to the point at which my idea picks up a plot and runs with it.
I go through periods when not much happens, in the sense that I’m not getting replies (acceptance or rejection) from things I’ve sent out, and my response is to have a sudden burst of creativity like I did today – but now I have all this new stuff in my head and can’t decide what to work on first.
Beyond that, I still have the nagging feeling that I probably shouldn’t be working on any of it, because most shorts end up going for cheap (if all three of the stories are accepted, the total payment for first serial rights would be in the region of $35). What I should really be doing is focusing on novellas/novels where there’s both a print and electronic market that pays not a lot per download or per copy, but hopefully does actually make a bit more income over a longer term.
I realise this may all be a bit incoherent; but the bottom line is that sometimes I respond to boredom by having a bout of hyperactivity – though often not in quite the way that really has an eye to the most important issues!

  1. March 15, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Ha! If I wrote only for what PAID, I would not write at all. What I do get paid for is such little $$. It’s not for the dollars that’s for sure! I’ve just spent hours and hours editing and re-working 2 articles for an editor…wanting to bang my head at times (non-fiction doesn’t do it for the me the way fiction does).
    Practice is practice!
    It’s all good.

  2. March 16, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I think there’s a bunch of different things going on in my head at the moment, though they’re all connected with the issue of bringing what I want to do (write fiction) and what what I need to do (pay the bills) into some sort of proximity. I do make a living from my nonfiction, but turning a buck from writing stories is what I’d like to be doing. The question is, how – because the stuff I’m decent at isn’t really a paying market for short stories. I see myself for the moment playing a longer game, getting some kind of profile on the ‘scene’ and using that to make me more ‘marketable’ so I can generate an income from a mix of self-publishing and being published by others. Plus I’m aware that having a back catalogue of things that I can republish after first serial rights have gone isn’t a bad thing.
    I do get frustrated by how slowly everything moves. At one point I worked in a business where four hours was considered an unacceptably slow turnaround time… and I’ve had the experience a couple of times now of having stuff published that I’d actually forgotten I’d sent out.
    However, you’re right – practice is practice, and at least I have the nonfiction side to sustain me!

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