In a world in which almost everything seems to be changing on a daily basis, including the technology we use to write or the businesses that [used to] publish our reading matter, it’s easy to lose sight of the basics. With writing, there is one basic bottom line that does not change and will not change, no matter what device Apple comes up with next week or who is publishing the stories:
You have to write.
You can’t just talk about your ideas. You can’t just do a lot of research. You can’t just critique other people’s writing. If you’re going to be a writer, you have to sit down at a blank computer screen or take pen to a sheet of paper or dictate words into a recorder — that is, you have to come up with the words that give life to your ideas and research and massage them into a workable form.
There’s no other way to do it.
And, yeah, sometimes it’s really hard to make yourself do it. I’ve found three ways that work well for me: Deadlines, going off to a place where there’s not much else to do, and getting together with other writers so that we can all guilt trip each other into getting some work done.
I don’t have any heavy deadlines pending, so I’ve repaired off to a friend’s house in Santa Fe with another writer for a week’s writing retreat. And since Santa Fe does not fall into the category of a place without much going on, we are very fortunate that it snowed significantly the day after we arrived. (Check out the picture at the top of this post.) It’s a lot easier to stay home and write if it’s going to be a major pain in the ass to go somewhere else, even if somewhere else is a museum showing the work of Georgia O’Keeffe or a restaurant putting together chiles and spices in that unique New Mexican way or just a place to look at mountains.
I’ll opine more next week on where the writing world is headed. Meanwhile, back to the fiction mines.
Nancy Jane has stories in both of the anthologies recently published by Book View Press: “The Savage and the Monster” in The Shadow Conspiracy and “Blindsided by Venus in the House of Mars” in Rocket Boy and the Geek Girls.
Her collection Conscientious Inconsistencies is available from PS Publishing and her novella Changeling can be ordered from Aqueduct Press. All fifty (plus one new one) of the short-short stories she posted as part of her year-long Flash Fiction Project are available for free here.