Four-month Check In

I'm trying to break out of a miniature writing rut. Not sure how well it's working, but.... #amwriting #writersofinstagram #writerinoveralls #overalls #dungarees #biboveralls #vintage #washingtondeecee #washingtondeeceeoveralls #hickorystripe #denimoveral

So, here we are, four months since my last check in! And so much and so little has changed. The pandemic continues, and for a while it seemed as if things might be slowly getting better…and then, for a lot of reasons, they stopped getting better and started getting worse again.

Anyhow…life goes on for me. I’m still writing and still reading, and I now have Book II of Seaflame! over 60,000 words, which is a roughly-projected one-quarter of the way done. This one is not progressing swiftly, and I’m pretty confident that after I’m done with this project, I’ll never tackle anything this long again. I have too many stories that I want to write to get bogged down in doorstops of this magnitude! But it is fun to write this one, and I will miss these characters when I’m done, so there’s that.

By way of announcement, I am planning to get The Savior Worlds released sometime this fall, most likely in late November, so work will be ramping up for that pretty soon. I will definitely have more to say about that as we progress toward that particular finish line.

Finally, I have a quote to offer on the subject of how one should treat one’s own writing. This comes from author Samira Ahmed, young adult writer of the brilliant novel Love, Hate, and Other Filters as well as several others that I haven’t read yet. She appeared on 88 Cups of Tea, one of my favorite podcasts, and one point she kept driving home was the need of storytellers to “say yes to themselves,” because creative life is hard enough as it is that we don’t need to be putting up our own roadblocks to our own work, in addition to the roadblocks the rest of the world erects. You should definitely listen to her entire episode, but for now, just this one bit absolutely floored me when I heard it:

SAMIRA AHMED: One piece of that kindness to myself–and I say that this is just for me, but I hope maybe it can speak to just one of the other storytellers out there–which is, I am gentle with the language that I use about my writing. So what that means is, I never say to myself that my first draft is ‘trash’. This is something for me; maybe this is OK with everybody else, your mileage may vary, but for me, when I was little one of those racist experiences that I had was a grown-ass man telling me, a kid, that I was ‘trash that America needed to take out.’ Words can be weapons, and I’m not going to use weaponized language against myself. So I don’t say that my first draft is ‘trash.’ I don’t say it’s ‘garbage’. I say it needs improvement. I say it needs work. I say I could make it better…but I don’t say that it’s trash.

That is, in my opinion, utterly correct. I’ve actually written about that before in this space, but Ahmed frames it in a way that I hadn’t thought of: you should not use weaponized language against yourself. I could not agree more.

With that I’ll wrap up this check-in, but do keep looking in! And you can always find me on Twitter, Instagram, and my personal blog, Byzantium’s Shores. See you ’round the galaxy, folks!

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