A couple weeks ago I went through a very dry spell with minimal writing. I didn’t do anything creative, in fact, unless you count the overactive imaginings of an anxious and uneasy mind. I had no ideas, except the ideas I did have were awful. I had oodles of problems in current manuscripts that I knew needed fixing but I had no clue how to do it. I was understandably upset by this. I felt like I was sucking at life. Perhaps a bit of an overreaction, but if you’ve ever been blocked, or lacked inspiration or enthusiasm, or just felt downright bad about your writing (or whatever), then you get it. The bad news is it was a few days of black rain clouds over my head and instead of lifting my pen and writing, I pretty much just lifted nachos into my mouth…
The good news is, it passed. The sun is out again! I am writing! Now, I still have a few problems I don’t know how to fix in those manuscripts. I have stopped stressing about that, and am taking a little hiatus from those for a little while. I will come back to it when I come back to it. That’s the thing that works for me. Stuck on something? Move on to something else. When the answer is there, you will find it and go back. Writing something else at least keeps me writing!
In any case, this sunny explosion of creativity began when I was lying around on the couch and lazily musing about a story idea. “What if…” just came to me and I got the idea for short story #1, and I jotted down some notes. Then later that night as I was falling asleep I got a single line in my head “There was once a flower who fell in love.” And that became the first line in story #2, and it was that second story that I ended up writing first. (Still working on #1)
I actually made myself get up from bed, (well, fine, I mean I reached over and grabbed my phone) to put that line down, and I could just feel it was taking me somewhere. I fell asleep, anxious to wake up and write.
In the morning as soon as I could open my laptop I began writing. And writing. It was short, I think only 9 or 10 pages, but the flower story was there, and I loved it. I wrote the whole thing in about an hour. It was rough, of course, so I sent it off to a few wonderful, lovely friends and readers. They gave me plenty of feedback. I edited the story and added, and took away, and came out with, thus far, 18 pages, and a bit over 4,000 words which is actually a REALLY long short story for me. My longest short stories are usually about 1,000 words, but my average is probably about 700. So this was different, and it pushed me. I plan to get more editing done so that it is as perfect as I can get it.
You see, once the story was written I knew what I wanted to do with it. What is that, you ask? Well, I’m happy and excited to share I’m going to be releasing it as an e-book short story on Amazon Kindle soon! That’s right, everyone, I am going to be a hybrid author. I have always had an open mind about self-publishing for myself. I’m thrilled Ditch Flowers was traditionally published, because that’s the goal I set for it, and I worked damn hard for it! I am actively seeking a literary agent for my middle grade novel and my short story collection so they will be traditionally published, too, I hope. Though I may end up self-publishing the collection, who knows—those of you who are in the know are probably aware there are very few agents who take short story collections, and only slightly more small presses. So.
However, with this individual short story, I knew from the get-go after I wrote it that I wanted to release it on my own. I was SO excited to select cover art, and a title (both of which I’ll share in my next post! Sorry to tease you.) I can’t wait to share it with the world. It’s a learning process, for sure, but I am having fun with it. I’m telling you, the absolute high I got while getting some of the details figured out is just the coolest. I know it’s just a short story, not the next great American novel, but if you follow my blog at all you know I really, really LOVE short stories. And I am letting myself be hyped up about this story and the decision to self-publish. It is fun, and after the clouds over me lately, I am enjoying some positivity. The writing funk is over. Wahoo!
This path feels right for this project. And that’s all you can really do in this amazing world of writing. Follow the right path for you.
Self-publishing gurus- any tips for me as I move forward?
Thanks for sharing in my excitement, everyone. Stay tuned for my next post!