Can you believe we’re well into the second month of the year? I can’t! So much has been happening in my world and I’ve just been trying to juggle all the research-related work I’ve been doing with the teaching, the supervising, the reading of PhD proposals, the grant application process and something else I’m cooking up with colleagues from other universities. There’s a lot of red tape involved and everything is exciting and job-fulfilling but also very draining. Add to that the fact that I’m an active author (writing-wise, at least) again. You can do a lot of the things you love but still feel very drained and tired because you’re only a human being with finite time and health/energy resources. Ergo, me.
When the new semester starts, I’ll probably be teaching four courses which will leave me utterly useless after work. So, I’m trying to submit my prerequisite three articles per year before then. Then I can just whittle away at the other articles. Ditto the work I’m doing for the much-postponed co-edited Anthropocene Folklore book. It will be good to streamline my focus.
What about the music? Why does that info come and go from my bio? The reason is simple: imposter syndrome. That and, the more I know/improve at both classical guitar and piano, the more aware I am of how little I know and how far I have to go as a musician, as a composer. I do want to go all the way to diplomas for music theory, composition, performance etc but right now, I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. One year at a time. One grade at a time. I want to enjoy the journey and not overfocus on the destination. That said, I need to be committed towards finishing writing my music and learning how to engrave etc if I want to ever be able to feel comfortable to call myself a composer. Maybe someday, but that day is not today. And I’m okay with that. I’ve come so far since January 2020 after a nearly four-year hiatus from my musical journey.
Sometimes, it’s good to just enjoy what you have without over-stressing the future. But I mention this now, because once I’ve registered my press etc, I hope to (self)publish not just some of my novels and chapbooks, but also my own compositions. One step at a time.
Author-wise, for the first half of the year I’m going to focus on Watermyth. If I can finish revising at least 2-3 short stories, I’ll be content with that. Then we’ll see what can be managed for the second half of the year. I’ve also started doing short story reviews over at Bibliotheca Luminis. I want to do these monthly. Part of this is because I want to give back in a small way to the SFF community and I always enjoyed reviewing. I don’t think many people will notice I’m doing this but I’m not doing it for notice. I’m doing it because it’s something I enjoy doing. The second part of this is simply because I need to get into the short story mindset again, and reading things that resonate with me will help me work out what’s keeping me stuck on some of these short stories. So, I hope at some point all this will make me ready to submit short fiction again. And my poetry. Yeeesh, I can’t forget my poetry!
How’s Watermyth doing? I’m a bit terrified (and excited) that it might wind up a doorstopper at 200k words. Do you think anyone would buy it? I don’t know. But this is turning out to be a giant of a novel — and I finally worked out why it wasn’t working for me. I wasn’t giving the story enough room to expand. 120k words was not nearly enough. There’s just so much of story! Here too, I’m not going to worry about whether it will have a good reception or if it will be quietly obscure or if no one reads it. I don’t want to drown myself in negative self-talk, I want to just enjoy this process of carving out a novel out of all of these ideas, these feels, these years of working on my aquatic monster of a romp. If I wind up writing a quartet of novels 200k words long each, so be it. I’m self-publishing so the only person I need to be accountable to is myself! But this process is so precious. Some days I feel like I don’t know how to write a novel at all. It’s like I’m re-learning every thing and the better I feel I am getting, the less I feel I know, and the more angry I feel at how much time I’ve wasted re: not improving my craft. So, this feels like a very important part of this process of becoming an author again. It cannot be rushed.
Happy Watermaidens Day in advance 😉