Answers, the first!

All right, people, let’s get this ball rolling! And remember, you can still ask stuff!

A longtime reader who prefers anonymity gets us off:

Would you like to be a writer full time, or is a mix of writing and some other job ideal for you?

I desperately want to write full-time. Writing is the thing I’m best at, and if I have one major regret in life — under the general notion that I don’t really do ‘regrets’, as I think that most of my screw-ups have taught me something I needed to know — it’s that I spent an awful lot of time not really attacking writing all that seriously. Or when I was, I was doing it wrong. I spent too much time focusing on wrong projects, or sitting with Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title) in my head on the notion that “I wasn’t ready” yet for that one. Princesses is an idea that came to me in two parts, the first coming in 1999 and the second coming in 2001. I wasted ten years dragging that story around in my head. Now, maybe if I’d written it back then it wouldn’t have turned out like it did…but heck, I don’t know that.

I’ve also wondered if I spent too much time fiddling around with short fiction, which tended to dominate my writing life back in the early 2000s. My short stories tended to be long, and I remember one time I posted something to a writing-based newsgroup on USENET, along the lines of, “I can’t seem to write genuine short stories! Every one I write ends up being well over 10000 words!” To which one woman, a published writer, responded, “Sounds to me like you’re a novelist at heart. Write books.” Did I listen to that advice? Well…not so much.

I believe that we should figure out what we’re best at, and then focus like a laser on being that. I’m late to the party on this philosophy, and now I’m paying the price in terms of not being published yet. I’ll get there, though.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a point where I can write full-time. But that’s the goal I’m going to move toward until the day I can’t write anymore. The incentives are too great. I want to do what I’m best at; I want to tell the stories that are in my head; and I want a job where I can wear overalls every single day (and let’s be honest, farming and construction are unlikely at this point in my life, as much respect as I have for both).

Do you read non-fiction (e.g., history, science and nature, biographies)? If so, what do you read? Do you wish you read more?

I always wish I read more! Always always always. In fact, I’m planning to start setting limits on my Internet time and start turning off the Wifi when I need to be working — and I’m planning to include reading time as working. It’s the only sensible thing to do. No, I’m not planning to drop offline entirely, because I like the social networking stuff too much, and I also tend to think that by the time I get a book out there in one form or another, I’ll have a built-in audience to start with!

As for the non-fiction I read: I always try to have some kind of nonfiction going. I like all of it, but I especially like writing that is narrative based: nonfictional storytelling that gets the factual stuff in by way of other tales taking place in and around the history. Good travel writing is wonderful for this. Reading nonfiction is essential because it gives me ideas for stories, and it gives me details from the real world that I can incorporate into my stories. Quite a lot of stuff I’ve read has gone into the two Princesses books already.

You know what I really don’t do enough of, either? Blogging about what I read. I need to do more of that, too.

Bonnie asks:

Did you ever finish your “Battlestar Galactica” rewatch? I was wondering what you thought of the series as a whole, especially the ending.

I’m sorry to report that…no, I have’t finished it. I took a break from the show, and then way lead on to way, as it does. I absolutely intend to return to it, though! I was about halfway through Season Two, I believe; they had just recovered the Arrow of Apollo and used it to find the way to Earth. I didn’t stop for any reason other than I wanted a break — I’d been watching two or three episodes a week, and I generally don’t do intensive rewatches where I do marathons. I did not intend the break to get this long, though.

More answers to come! And feel free to ask more, if you like!

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