I’ve been thinking about what I should write if I’m going to try again. The news from the world of publishing is not helpful.
I think that at this point in my life the commitment of writing a novel is too great. And I do think of it as a commitment.
When I begin a novel it’s as if I’m beginning a new relationship. I have to meet it everyday. I have to spend three or four hours a day with it. I have to give it love.
I have seldom said, I can’t see you anymore. The relationship changes and grows. If it takes a turn I don’t like I don’t give up. I work on it until I’m satisfied. And a great many months or years are devoted to this affair. Most of all there’s an expected outcome for me. My secret romance will be shared with others. First reader, agent, editor, critics, public. That’s the way it goes. Or went. I have expectations. No matter how I try to deceive myself, ignore those expectations, they’re there. I can’t help it.
So I’ve decided to try writing short stories. I have absolutely no expectations. Yes, I’ve sold a few, but it’s not the same as a lifetime of writing and publishing novels. There’s practically no market for shorts so I can’t hoodwink myself.
Writing a novel means publication and money for me. Writing a short story means neither of those things. Even though I need money, like everyone else, I feel no pressure.
And then there’s the idea that any story I write will be a fling. The commitment is so much shorter than writing a novel. Surely I can make one. And if I want to try another commitment I can. Or not. A story will have been written with my fidelity in tact.
So come January 5th I’m going to try to get engaged.