A Writer’s Journal: July ’21

(This post is long overdue. I’m trying to enjoy summer as much as I can. Though I think my outdoor fun is starting to wrap up with case numbers rising across the country. But now I have some time to finally write this.)

It’s difficult trying to recall everything I accomplished last month. I had two short stories published, one towards the beginning of July and the other towards the end. ‘With Love, From Waystation #4’ is a quiet, sci-fi and YA story that features a roller rink on a space station, Galaga and serendipitous romantic connections. I’m grateful to Typehouse Literary Magazine for publishing this story and it can be downloaded or purchased here. Then there’s ‘Final Correspondences from a Dying Planet’ which is probably one of the best titles I’ve ever created. It’s another sci-fi that follows a scientist/research and a military commander in the last days of their second homeworld. It briefly touches on some of my personal concerns with humanity entering into space, but I think that’s a theme that’s deserves a larger space. (*wink wink*) This piece appears in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine and is available for purchase right here!

My biggest project of the year is my speculative fiction novella. (I think it fits into the ‘science fantasy’ genre and that’s how I mostly think of it.) Initially, July was dedicated to another round of drafting, with the end of August set aside for revision. But like most plans, it fell apart as I spent part of July finishing up my draft 0 notes, while also reading and commenting on an acquaintance’s novel.

And of course I spent some time outdoors, soaking up the sun and enjoying life. Needless to say, my novella took a back seat for a bit. And I’m trying hard not to beat myself up for letting my plan fall to shamble. Luckily, I managed to finish my draft 0 notes and make some much needed adjustments to my outline based on my own personal observations and feedback from my beta readers. I’m happy to report I’ve officially started draft 1, but I’ll talk more about that in the August post.

I also made a difficult, but rewarding decision. I currently work as a Library Assistant for a local university. While, I hope and pray I can eventually transition to a full-time writing career, I know it will take years before I reach that point. In the interim, I’ll continue to work in the library because it’s genuinely enjoyable work and it’s a slow-paced environment which I need. But, my current position doesn’t pay much, so I’ve decided to apply for graduate school and study to earn my Masters in Library Science. Coming to this decision was rewarding because I love school and I’m excited to delve deeper into Library Science and how to think about information access. But it’s difficult because I hoped to spend 2022 drafting and revising a novel with the intention of querying agents in 2023.

It’s possible to balance graduate school and novel writing. I plan on finding that balance. And I will likely enroll in a graduate program either in the summer of 2022 or fall of 2022, meaning I can spend the spring knocking out a first draft. My program will be virtual, so I won’t need to worry about commuting back and forth to a campus. My current job is supportive of my decision to return to school and I’m sure I can complete coursework while on the clock.

It will be difficult, but not impossible. I’m sure there will be an interesting bleeding effect with my writing. I can’t wait to see what stories I come up with while in school.

I’m feeling incredibly inspired. I look forward to tackling my novella and the other stories knocking about in my head. Of course, the novella takes priority and come hell or high water, it will end up in Neon Hemlock’s submission box in October. As challenging as the process is, I believe in my story and I know it will eventually be published. Once it’s over, I’ll give myself a much needed break before I wade into the novel.

Writing right now sometimes feels like a fruitless endeavor. There’s a lot happening in the world. The news may be overwhelming and I find that I can only consume about an hour’s worth in the morning, before it becomes too much. It’s a privilege, I know. But if you find yourself feeling helpless, anxious or overwhelmed by the state of the world, know that you’re not alone and that it’s okay to turn off the tv, sign off of social media and do something to relax. I remind myself of that fact often and I hope you’re finding ways to be kind to yourself.

Stay safe! Get plenty of rest! And Happy Writing!

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