I haven’t written a personal post in a long while because I don’t have much to report. I haven’t been practicing guitar very much and I need to get back to doing that every day. Lately by the time 5 p.m. hits, the temperature soars into the 90s and I struggle with getting the energy to do anything. We don’t have AC, just fans and a portable window unit. So needlessly to say, combined with allergies and sinus congestion, it’s been pretty miserable.
But I do have some happy news at least. I have finally finished DRAGON GIRL. I procrastinated on it for awhile due to the heat and my general low productivity levels. However, yesterday was the deadline, so I pushed through on a 95-degree night to finish it and submit it to the anthology. I am too in love with this story. It ended up at 8,205 words. I was riding on a creative high all night and for once I could finally say I felt happy and was in a celebratory mood.
This story is a retelling of the Grimm’s fairy tale “Goose Girl,” except with queer characters, feminism and dragons. Everybody keeps telling me they want to read it when I tell them the plot, so if the anthology rejects it, I have decided I will edit it some more and self-publish it as an ebook using Smashwords and charge $1.99 for it. I will design a cover on Photoshop using one of my past photos of a professional model.
I got model releases for a lot of them and I’m glad I did that, and that’s another reason why I like to hire models when I can; that way I can use the photos however I wish, instead of only for my social media sites. I also think if you get paid for your photos of a model, the model should get some of that. I just can’t afford to do it more often than once or twice a year and I am not working with models during COVID-19, which probably means not for another few years at this rate. By that time I will be interested in other things.
I do need to edit it some more, though, if it gets rejected. I need to improve the fight scenes – those are a weakness of mine – and flesh out the traveling parts a bit more, and I think I could stretch it to 10,000 words. I felt 8,000 was enough to tell the story. But I rushed through the fight scenes and I would not mind fixing them. I need to read about how to improve my fight scenes. I just don’t do much high fantasy or thriller type fiction, so I never thought I’d have this issue.
Other than that story, I have three stories I need to rewrite. The first story was one that got rejected twice, but the second rejection happened in a day and the reviewers gave me some very constructive criticism with it. I’m about 1,500 words into my rewrite, I just deleted it all and started it over completely, and I like this take on my idea far better. Just stuck on a climax and an ending. I decided this story needed to be 2,000-3,000 words instead of a flash piece.
The other story was one that got rejected twice and I just got form rejections, so I asked for beta reader feedback on Twitter because I don’t think I was very objective about seeing what needed to be fixed. And I got another rejection from that magazine that reads stories aloud. It was personalized, but they said my fragmented sentence style gave it a stereotypical slam poetry feel. That stung a little, I would have preferred a form rejection, but I realized I was trying too hard to make it sound good read aloud. I am not immune to being affected by rejections, but you have to get used to them if you want to submit to lit mags and query a novel with traditional publishers and agents. I’m not sure what I will do with that story, I am not that excited about it; I might just let it languish in my hard drive.
In personal news, I have been trying to get back into exercise again. I go in fits and starts. I got some resistance bands and I’ve been using an app called FitOn that has workout videos. I also still use my Down Dog yoga app. I have not been running but I haven’t been sleeping well and don’t often tend to wake up early enough in the morning. My partner and I have been going on hikes lately.
Speaking of my partner, he made a music video that I love. It’s a dark humor take on COVID-19. You can view it here. I’m really proud of him because he has been struggling through pandemic to stay creative. He was working on it all week and made it with just his keyboard. It’s pretty impressive what you can do with a keyboard and recording software.
I am experimenting with Facebook groups and I started one called “Literary SF/F Writing Club.” I am looking for more members, so if you want to join the link is here. It’s a very niche topic but that is by design; I wanted to find literary sf/f writers.
In other social media news, I am disturbed by the news of President Trump’s executive order about TikTok. It’s a Chinese company that has security risks, but I see it as an attack on free speech. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram also steal data and let Russian debate bots influence the election and don’t censor politicians when they lie and spread dangerous misinformation in their advertisements. TikTok was never my thing, it’s K-pop teen stans dancing in the kitchen. But it’s a creative outlet and another content platform. It makes me glad I don’t keep all my personal information on the three big social networks, and it makes me grateful for this blog. But even that could go away. I do believe such an executive order would face an uphill legal battle.
The slow slide into authoritarianism and fascism makes me sick. Together with Trump’s attack on the postal service and mail-in ballots, I have a feeling of ever-present dread about November. I ordered extra charging cords for my electronic devices two weeks ago and they still haven’t arrived. I am going to drop off my rent at my landlord’s drop box at their office instead of mail it because who knows if it will arrive on time in the mail. That makes me sick. The postal service is an essential service and so many people rely on it. It is a service that needs to be public because it is in the public interest and for the common good.
I am also finding it curious that the Republicans are letting unemployment benefits expire without a sense of urgency. They must have a long game with that strategy but I fail to see what it could be.
I added a few photos from my self portrait session from last weekend to this post. More of them are below.
My goals this week: To practice guitar every day. 30 minutes of exercise every day. Waking up at 6 a.m. or earlier to get some writing done. Do my rewrites for my two stories and submit them elsewhere. Hopefully write a new story since I need to pick up my pace on my submitting.
A lot of people ask how anyone can still write and stay creative in a pandemic. I have weeks where it is quite difficult, and when it is difficult, I do not force myself; I rest. It’s not my job, so I can rest. Submitting work helps motivate me because it comes with built-in deadlines and I always found deadline pressure made me overcome my tendency to procrastinate. Also, I see it as stress relief. Staying creative is important for my mental health and I need that right now… more than ever.