The Neverending Writing List

As we creep ever-closer towards the end of the year, it’s natural to look back and take stock of the plans I made, and which ones came to fruition – hopefully with just enough time left in the final quarter of 2012 to kick my butt into gear on a few of these projects.

The year started with a rush and a bang. My short story, The Tell Tale Tech was selected to launch a week of tributes to Poe, over on The Veillee Blog. Next, Sare Liz Gordy decided to put together “Sassy Singularity” – an anthology of short stories about strong single women, and my short story Sweetheart, kicked off that collection.

The next month, Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change came out. Millennial Ex, a ten-minute play about marriage equality, was given Honorable Mention at a festival in the US before later being picked up as the centerpiece for ANY OBJECTIONS? the upcoming Glasgay Festival in Glasgow, Scotland. (I also have another dozen or so plays from other entrants to read through before the selection committee makes its final decisions.)

I put both Restaurants are Rated Out of Four Stars (a foodie romance, which appeared in RJ Astruc’s collection, The Fat Man At The End Of The World, several years ago) and my first Edinburgh Fringe play, Playing It Cool up. Ran a promotion for that on Kindle Select last week, and the play was both downloaded and reviewed favorably by many. Miranda Doerfler and I oversaw the publication of Haiku of the Living Dead, Zombie haikus collected from contributors around the internet.

I started a Pinterest and a Tumblr and a Goodreads account. I learned how to use InDesign well enough that I could make book covers that weren’t completely embarassing (you can see an example on the Playing it Cool cover on Amazon). I edited Eric Sipple’s first novel, Broken Magic. Got a couple interviews about my work published on a few different websites. Helped organize a massive political protest along with Eve Ensler and grassroots activists from around the country.

You’d need chocolate, too.

But it’s not enough.

There are projects I want to do that still aren’t done. And I wanted them to be done before the end of the year. There’s my AI collection, which will take both The Tell Tale Tech and Sweetheart and pair them with a number of original short pieces pondering alternative and artificial intelligences. I have partial drafts and sketches for a number of these shorts, including some pretty extensive drafts. But there’s more work to be done there.

Next, there’s Electalytics, the 30K novella I said I’d write in thirty days back in July. Currently hovering at about 27.5K, I’m tightening up the rest of the draft before going on to write the final parts of the story. I had wanted this piece to be up in time for the 2012 elections, but at this point I think it’s safe to say that would require rushing it out. So I’ll pick my way through it carefully and I’ll keep making slow progress.

There are two more projects I would very much have liked to complete this year, including the play that kicked me off down the AI collection road, a full-length three-hander called Process0r, about collaboration and language and technology.

So what gives? What’s holding me back? Why aren’t all these pieces done so I can scramble ahead to the next thing?  Aside from the blog updates, the social network building, being interviewed, contributing to charity fundraisers and more?

Life. That’s what. That messy, wonderful, horrible, ever-drumming thing we call life. The saying talks about the best-laid plans of mice and men, but writer’s best-laid plans often go astray as well. Coping with this fact? Not something I do especially well. When I have a plan, I want that plan done. And when it doesn’t get done, I start getting agitated.

So that’s what the next three months are for. It might seem as though the things I’ve already done this year would more than make up for the pieces I still want to finish – but they don’t. When I distill the list down and hold it up against the “life” things happening between now and December 31st, it looks a little like this:

1. Finish the first draft of Electalytics.

2. Create covers for Stuck Up A Tree and Mousewings (video), so I can put them both up on Amazon alongside their fellow Edinburgh Fringe play, Playing It Cool.

I want to add, “Finish AI Anthology” and “Finish Processor” to the list, but given the two solid goals mentioned above and a third, more ephemerous goal I haven’t been specific about, I feel like sticking those two on the list would be a great way to get overwhelmed. So for now I’ll save those two projects for 2013, which – as far as I can tell – still offers twelve months of unspoken-for time.

This is a totally realistic plan.


8 responses to “The Neverending Writing List

  1. I hope you realize how much you’ve accomplished. Most writers can’t get one project out in a year, and those who put out multiple books sometimes skip the mos important part: quality. You have quality. Not that you’ve sacrficed quality— but don’t fall down the well of desire to do too much too fast and suddenly you’re drowning and trapped.
    Encouraging, right? What I really mean to say is- your good enough, your strong enough and god darn it, people like you.

    • And, clearly, I should be fired from my job. YOU’RE. YOU’RE. YOU’re

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      *hugs* Danke, my dear. It’s a bit, but it’s NOT ENOUGH!!! 😀 And thank you for the comment on quality. I agree, without that, the rest falls down. It’s just…there are still so many ideas knocking around in this ridiculous brain of mine!

  2. Color me impressed! Agree with Shosh, that it’s incredible how much you’ve already accomplished so far this year… don’t discount all your hard work because you’re focused on new/other goals. While you’re reflecting (WITH CHOCOLATE YOU ARE EVIL), don’t forget to be proud of you – for all you’ve done. And for all that you’re about to do! You’ve got this, girl!!! 🙂

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      *hugs* Thanks for the comment earlier today; that made my morning.

      Upon reflection, I was lucky – I had two weeks at the beginning of the year to plot things out. With only a couple exceptions (I didn’t have real plans to finish Processor this year, though it would’ve been nice) I got through the things I had planned that month.

      What I realized writing this, earlier, was that I’d really let myself down in the theater reviewing department. Happy to say I’ve taken some steps on that one, so should have some good stuff up before the end of the year on that front, too.

      And thank you for the support. I really do appreciate it. 🙂

  3. Well done. Be proud of your accomplishments and don’t knock yourself for not meeting other goals. Just focus on polishing your prose to the very best it can be.

    • Rachel / @girl_onthego

      Thanks, Chris – and thanks for subscribing. 🙂 “Just focus on polishing your prose to the very best it can be” is definitely the mindset I’m using to keep from going apesh*t on myself for not hitting my self-imposed deadline on Electalytics. There’s no way I could do that idea justice between now and November sixth, and if it wasn’t going to go out at the start of October there was no point anyway, as it wouldn’t be read early enough to have an impact on people.

      Or, that’s what I tell myself to get to sleep at night. 😉

  4. Pingback: I Want To Be Writing | I Wrote ThisI Wrote This

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