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What I’m doing now: Where I was last week + photos

Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell

I create compelling fiction and non-fiction for a curious world.

If you’re new here: A writer and online editor since 2000, I’ve been a full-time self-employed writer and author since 2011. In addition to managing online content and marketing for various organizations, I write articles about food, craft beverages, business, and more for a range of print and online publications. I’m also the author of 4 travel fantasy books in my ongoing Rucksack Universe series. Outside of my home office, I live with my wife, son, daughter, and kitchen in Eugene, Oregon.

40 writers.

1 week on the Oregon Coast.

5 years worth of business planning.

That's where I was last week. As you can guess, it was quite a time.

I spent the end of October in Lincoln City, Oregon, at a writing and publishing Business Masterclass hosted by Dean Wesley Smith and his wife Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Between them they've written hundreds of books across scores of genres (and you may recognize their names from books in Star Trek, Star Wars, and other franchises). Along with Mark Leslie LeFebvre of Kobo Writing Life, CEO Allyson Longuira of Dean and Kris' publishing house WMG Publishing, author Matt Buchman, and author and indie publishing expert Joanna Penn, they guided us through everything from how to negotiate foreign rights to how to handle estate planning.

It was an intense week of pure business (but I also managed to stay on top of my daily writing, over 1,000 words a day on a new Rucksack Universe novel called Cloud Fortress). Coming home, I haven't even started processing my notes yet. That's deliberate: their advice to the 40+ of us was to wait a couple of weeks, let everything sift and filter in the back of the mind, before making full-on business decisions.

If you want to see some photos from the week, you can find them on my Facebook Page:

facebook.com/anthony.stclair.author

and Instagram @rucksackpress:

instagram.com/rucksackpress

Have a great weekend. I'll be back soon with some links on some recent articles on business, beer, and meat. As you do.

What is happening with you right now?

Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: November 3, 2017.




What I’m doing now, August 2017

Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell

I inspire curiosity and action by sharing stories about fascinating people, businesses, and circumstances.

A writer and online editor since 2000, I’ve been a full-time self-employed writer and author since 2011. In addition to managing online content and marketing for various organizations, I write articles about food, craft beverages, business, and more for a range of print and online publications. I’m also the author of 4 travel fantasy books in my ongoing Rucksack Universe series. Outside of my home office, I live with my wife, son, daughter, and kitchen in Eugene, Oregon.

This month I’m…

Adding 2 events to the calendar

You know how sometimes things come together in the most unexpected ways?

Earlier this year I made arrangements to attend a writer business workshop in late October in Lincoln City, Oregon. A few weeks ago, Lincoln City’s Driftwood Public Library emailed me. They saw my interview in Library Journal and invited me to give a talk as part of their Dark & Stormy Nights Author Program. And the date? Oct. 26. Right when I’m already in town. Funny ole world.

Anyway, if you’re in/around Lincoln City or know someone who is, check it out and I hope to see you there. I’ll be talking about writing, publishing, travel, my books, and how I get things done, and books will be available for sale and signing.

Also, in January I’ll be giving an author talk at the Mid-Valley Willamette Writers chapter here in Eugene. It’s always a good evening, with interesting discussion (and I’ll be giving away a book).

Here are both events on Facebook, please share and I hope to see you at one!

Oct. 26, 2017, Dark & Stormy Nights, Driftwood Public Library, Lincoln City, OR

Jan. 4, 2018, Mid-Valley Willamette Writers Author Talk, Tsunami Books, Eugene, OR

Reviewing Chief Reader feedback on Roadsong

Roadsong lunch

Chief Reader lunch at The Bier Stein, Eugene

My Chief Reader has been reading the working draft of Roadsong, the next book in my Rucksack Universe series. As Chief Reader and I go through notes, there of course have been changes, but on the whole she’s been enthralled.

It’s a book I’ve had a lot of fun with too. One of the nice things about having a series where you don’t have to write books in any particular order, is that it’s easy to explore other aspects of the story and characters. With Roadsong, I really wanted to give readers more of a sense of what was happening in the story world after The Blast. And I wanted to show them a different side of Faddah Rucksack—right down to little things, like why does he only wear one glove anyway?

Roadsong takes us back in time before the events of the 4 books currently available in the series. As you may know, the story world is defined by a calamity called The Blast, which took place in 1834. Roadsong will take place 100 years and 3 days after The Blast, or, as it’s called in the story world, the year A.B. 100.

Pondering the title of said next book

As I said, the working title of the book is Roadsong, but I’m not married to that title. I just need something to call it while I work on it. My wife and I did similar with our 2 kids. During the first pregnancy we referred to the baby as “Awesome,” and the second was “Marvelous” (words I still use to describe them).

The main character of the book isn’t Rucksack. It isn’t Aisling’s grandmother either. It’s a person named Wander. Everything is told from Wander’s perspective, which I why I’m deliberating between two titles:

Roadsong, or Wander?

What do you think?

Hitting deadlines: articles on beverages, food & business

After some fun adventures with my family in Virginia and at Myrtle Beach, SC, July was a big month of catch-up. And a new project, which I’ll get to in a bit. By the end of August I’ll have filed 46 articles for the year, with 8 filed between July and the end of August.

Talking with the coolest people

I wake up every day feeling fortunate to do what I do, and this is why. There are so, so many times where I finish an interview and say to my wife, “I get to talk with the coolest people in the world.”

So, so true. Every time I’m amazed not only by their drive, but by their kindness and their sense of community. They work hard, and they have endeavored, but they also know they didn’t get anywhere on their own. The people I speak with are humble and appreciative, and they strive for excellence in what they do so as to both make good money in their businesses, but also to make the best product or service for their customers.

Sometimes I chuckle about my work. I’m pretty sure a lot of people think I just hang out with my kids and bake all the time. (And sure, there’s plenty of that, because, well, kids and baking are wonderful.) But I was telling someone recently that if you then looked at my contacts, you might be surprised.

Savoring recent adventures and planning future adventures

As I mentioned earlier and back in the June update, my family and I recently did some traveling to Virginia. We visited my family in Roanoke, then went down to the Myrtle Beach with my dad, grandma, and aunt. Both my son and my daughter spent every day of the trip in either a pool or the Atlantic, and the additional skill and confidence they gained in the water has been a joy to see and share with them.

Oh, and on the way back, my wife and I decided that sometime during the next decade, we are taking the kids on a round-the-world that will be at least a year long.

New project

I mentioned a new project. When my son and I were flying to Virginia (we were meeting Jodie and Aster there, after Jodie finished some training in Ontario), he and I looked out the window a lot and talked about the clouds. It got me thinking… and thinking… and thinking…

And then I had an idea.

During our trip, I turned that idea into a story, and the story would be a book.

I’m writing this on Aug. 15, 2017, and yesterday I finished outlining and planning that book.

The working title is Cloud Fortress. It’ll take place in the Himalayas, there will be a rookie Jade Bluegold, and a Faddah Rucksack who is trying to figure out how to do something he used to be able to do, but lost the ability after The Blast. The world will wind up in peril, there will be a pub in the sky, and something from a past book is going to come back to haunt Jade and Rucksack with a vengeance.

And oh my oh my, this is going to be a fun one.

I can’t wait to get started and to share more with you as we go.

Cherries, blueberries & peaches, oh my

In addition to travel adventures, these past weeks have been full of canning adventures too. My wife and I are avid food preservers, and when you live in Oregon, amazing summer produce is everywhere. It’s been the summer of cherries, blueberries, and peaches (oh my!). Fruit butters, jams, chutneys, you name it—our preserves cabinet is already looking nice and full.

Gonna need more pint jars…

Yoga and steps

One downside of our summer adventures has been my middle isn’t what I want it to be. While I’m still getting 10,000–12,000 steps 5–7 nights of the week, I’m also working on some diet and activity tweaks to help me get my weight more toward where I want it to be.

Darn, guess, I’ll have to do more Yoga with Adriene videos…

What is happening with you right now?

Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: August 15, 2017.




What I’m doing now, June 2017

Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell

I fire up people’s curiosity about our world.

A writer and online editor since 2000, I’ve been a full-time self-employed writer and author since 2011. In addition to managing online content and marketing for various organizations, I write articles about food, craft beverages, business, and more for a range of print and online publications. I’m also the author of 4 travel fantasy books in my ongoing Rucksack Universe series. Outside of my home office, I live with my wife, son, daughter, and kitchen in Eugene, Oregon.

This month I’m…

Sending Roadsong to my Chief Reader

Person standing on a rocky promontory, high above the sea, facing the sun

This is one of the images I’ve had in mind for an important scene in the book.

Yesterday I finished reviewing the current draft of Roadsong, the latest book in my Rucksack Universe series, and I sent the manuscript to my Chief Reader. The revisions went well, and I’m pretty happy with the story.

The idea with Roadsong has been taking readers back in time before the events of the 4 books currently available in the series. As you may know, the story world is defined by a calamity called The Blast, which took place in 1834. Roadsong will take place 100 years and 3 days after The Blast, or, as it’s called in the story world, the year A.B. 100. And yes, the 3 days is incredibly significant.

In Roadsong, we’re going to see a very different Faddah Rucksack, someone who is struggling to figure out his place in the world and what he can do to make up for, ahem, some rather bad mistakes. Fans have also asked for more from Aisling’s grandmother, who we hear about in Home Sweet Road. The most powerful Awen of Ireland is no longer on the scene, so Roadsong gave me a chance to duck back in time and bring you adventures with this fascinating character. I may or may not have based her in part on one of my grandmothers, and added a nod to Gandalf and Granny Weatherwax. Maybe.

I’ll be sharing more about Roadsong in the months ahead. Later this summer, the manuscript will go to my copy editor and I’ll figure out when the book will be released, what the final title will be (since, you know me, I always start with a working title/codename to give me something to call the story). In the meantime, here’s a working draft of the book description that I’ve been working on:

Follow the black road. From the west coast of Ireland to England’s Black Cliffs of Dover, the mile-wide line of ash is known as the Black Road. In the hundred years since The Blast scarred the world, none have traveled this road… until now. A wounded hero, a wanderer who fell between worlds, and a mysterious sage undertake a quest: for home, for purpose, for a light to stop the shadow covering the world. Pursued by a hunter of strange souls, the trio must overcome many trials—and their own mistakes—if they are to find answers to their questions… and if they are to survive the unwelcome surprise that also awaits at the end of the road.

Hitting deadlines: articles on beverages, food & business

Glass of Hellshire beer - As always, I am willing to undergo whatever grueling field research an assignment requires.

As always, I am willing to undergo whatever grueling field research an assignment requires.

I’m coming up on some well-earned time out of the office, so the past couple of months have been pretty busy with freelance assignments too. I’m just about up to 40 articles for the year—not too shabby. Here are links to some recently published pieces:

Some pieces have been submitted but not published yet, and others are print only, such as in Eugene Magazine and the Oregon Beer Growler.

It’s been a fun year of writing so far. Part of what I love about writing articles is being able to talk with people and learn about their world, their mission, and what they do on a day-to-day. I hope I keep bringing that joy and curiosity to my work every day.

Working on different client projects

In addition to the Rucksack Universe and my freelance articles, I’ve also been busy with projects for various clients. It’s a mix of online content management and marketing, depending on the client and project. One of the most gratifying things about what I do is getting to help so many people and organizations get their message across to the right people. Here are some of the folks I’m working with right now:

Doing more yoga

In addition to doing about 11,111 steps most days of the week, I’ve also been upping my yoga. In particular, I’ve really been digging the routines—and irreverent banter—of the awesome Austin-based Yoga with Adriene. Here’s her YouTube Channel, and a wee video to give you a taste:

She also has a great Revolution: 31 Days of Yoga, that’s 31 days of routines. Great stuff, lots of variety and different levels of challenging. If you’ve been wanting to do more yoga but don’t want all the sanctimony that sometimes comes with the practice, check it out.

What is happening with you right now?

Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: writer@anthonystclair.com

I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: June 17, 2017.




Revisions finished on next Rucksack Universe book

First bit of Roadsong, the next Rucksack Universe adventure by Anthony St. Clair

So this morning I finished revising ROADSONG, the next Rucksack Universe adventure. How’s your day going?

“You found me because you needed to pass on the best of yourself, and what you passed on was light, guidance, and inspiration. Now I’m passing it back to you. You must inspire others. Help them find the hero in themselves. That is the person the world needs.”

I’m pretty excited about this book. Set before the other 4 books currently available—100 years and 3 days after The Blast, to be precise—we are going to see a very different Faddah Rucksack. Someone shaken and guilt-ridden, who isn’t sure about his path and place in the world. (He also wears two gloves instead of only one. We’ll find out why that changes—and why it’s more important than you might think.)

ROADSONG will be a sort of prequel for the series. But it’s also a tale of what it feels like to be a stranger in a strange land, what it feels like to drop from the world you know into a place that is different. (Or, to put it another way, how I’ve felt my whole life.)

I don’t have a release date yet. Now the book goes to my Chief Reader and then my copy editor. I’ll let you know, probably later this summer, when ROADSONG will be coming out. In the meantime, catch up on the series here (and remember, you can read them in any order), or join my mailing list for other news and updates and some freebie stories I’m finishing up too.




What books are on your summer reading list this year?

Here are a few of the books on my summer reading list…

Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers Who Ruled the Seven Seas, by Laura Sook Duncombe

Glass Houses (Three Pines/Inspector Gamache), by Louise Penny

Everyday Lakota: An English-Sioux Dictionary for Beginners

Kiwis Might Fly: A New Zealand Adventure, by Polly Evans

Honeymoon with My Brother, by Franz Wisner




The pit and the page

What we’re aspiring to. Image: jamo

 

If being a parent and an authorpreneur have taught me anything so far, it is this:

The amazing is the sum of the incremental.

To a degree, I always had some understanding of this. I knew conceptually how building a business and raising a child would very much be this bit-by-bit, day-by-day thing. But as Morpheus from The Matrix says, there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

The pit

Earlier this week, my son asked us to keep back an avocado pit so he could plant it. I pulled up Pinterest and showed him a great pin that walked through the steps.

We went through the steps. I polished the pit, being careful not to remove the protective brown skin. Connor poked 4 toothpicks into it. He filled up a half-pint mason jar and gently set the pit inside, checking to see that the bottom of the pit was actually in the water.

Then we talked about how this will take weeks to sprout—assuming it does, and there were no guarantees it would. In the mornings he’s been changing out the pit’s water (to protect against harmful microbes that might damage the pit) and he’s been observing it.

If all goes well, in as little as two weeks a root will sprout.

Naturally, I think about my kids in this context too. Every day I check them, observe them. And yes, of course, in those early years there are changes a’plenty, especially of the keep-fresh variety.

But as they grow, as my wife and I are there for them and doing our best as parents, they too will likely grow up all right.

The page

My son has a daily list of things he’s supposed to do each day: get dressed, make his bed, practice violin, etc. We recently revamped his list, and he suggested something he wanted on there:

He wanted to make a book.

(Yeah, I felt a wee bit proud.)

Each day, usually after breakfast, Connor has been getting a sheet of paper, punching holes in it, and having me or my wife write down a story he is dictating. It’s only a few sentences a day, and then he adds some drawings, but each day has continued on from where the story was the day before.

What really matters is that he sees this story growing. There is plot, action, and even some development. We read through the pages each day, and he can tell that he is using daily bits of work to make something bigger. It’s inspiring pride and confidence in him, and I love seeing him realize that he can do big things—even if it’s in wee pieces at a time.

The point

After 2 kids, 4 books, nearly 6 years, and hundreds of articles, I get it: everything is incremental. Day by day, my kids grow and learn, and I can look back and see how different experiences or epiphanies have built up into who they are now. Day by day, I work at my assignments and projects, building on successes and failures, achievements and setbacks, and am amazed at how far my business has come since 2011.

A 1,000-word article is really lots of little segments of 100, 200, or 300 words.

A 90,000-word book (about 360 pages) is a collection of 1,500–2,500 word scenes.

And business is showing up every day, with an open heart, a ready mind, and a wry grin. A cuppa hot coffee helps too.

It’s all incremental. But from those wee pieces, something bigger and amazing grows—as long as you nurture it, keep at it, and appreciate the journey along the way.




Daddy, why are you a writer?

Notebook and blue pen

This morning my 5-year-old son came into the office, looked at my computer screen, and asked, “Daddy, why are you a writer?”

I thought about it for a moment. It’s something I haven’t considered in a long time, up there with why my eyes are the color they are or why I live in Oregon or why we breathe. But I took Connor’s question seriously, because I always take my children seriously. A child’s question is an opportunity to refresh and examine your beliefs and understandings. My kids keep me honest, they keep me assessing, and they help me disrupt myself.

The difference between breathing and atmosphere

But back to Connor’s question: why am I a writer? The gist is simple, I explained to my son. I’ve known since I was 12 that I would work with words. It’s so much a part of me now , that I don’t think about it. If I do think about it, I have to take mental backsteps.

It’s like when you think about the atmosphere. Sure, we all know that we breathe, and we know that we are surrounded by air. But when you stop to think about it, it’s a pretty crazy fact and you need a moment to process it. Connor’s been going through that himself lately, telling us how every time we move, we displace air and create wind, and talking about how the atmosphere is all around us.

As with so many things though, the gist is simple yet incomplete. When I talk to my kids, I try to get to the heart of something, the how and why. For my thinking, I try to find the most truthful explanation that balances being comprehensive with being comprehensible. I believe that life’s great truths are things a 5-year-old can understand—and that adults then constantly struggle to remember.

About the words but not about the words

“When I was becoming a teenager, I realized that words were really important to who I was,” I answered my son. “But I came to understand it wasn’t about the words necessarily, it was about how I could use the words to express thoughts, feelings, and concepts. I came to understand that I was capable of expressing things that other people felt or thought, but they had a hard time putting their thoughts or feelings into words. I could though, and that meant that I was capable of expressing what others wanted to say.”

He nodded, we had a little cuddle, and then he went back to his room to play.

But it got me thinking some more.

Why am I writer?

The real answer

It’s a little like asking why I have arms. As much as I believe in nurture and free will and self-determination, I also believe deeply that some aspects of us are wired in, we just mainly determine how we do or don’t apply those various parts of ourselves.

I’m a writer because I get language. Not necessarily in a grammatical sense—I understand grammar, I have an English degree, but I’m no more going to wax authoritative about grammar than breathing Earth’s atmosphere means I have a comprehensive understanding of the laws of chemistry and physics as it relates to elements in a gaseous state.

I write because I under that language is the process through which we translate the infinite into the temporal and the temporal into the infinite. Language is how we express the heart and explain the mind.

This is not as elementary as it sounds. Ever notice how certain you can be of how you think or feel about something, and then go to actually try to convey it into words?

Yup. It can be hard as hell.

It’s hard as hell for me—and I do this for a living.

I’m a writer because voice is who I am. There have been many years where I’d forgotten that. Or maybe I ran away from it, got scared and tried to abandon a sort of calling.

Many times over the years I’ve been pretty scared of this part of myself. After all, what if I express the wrong thing? What if there are bad consequences? For many years, I’ve erred on the side of saying nothing at all. But not anymore.

I’m not just a writer. I’m a teller, an explainer, a letter painter, an understander, a sharer.

I’m a writer because that is how I can be one with the heart of the world, the soul of us all, and turn it into something that we can understand in our day-to-day lives.

I’m a writer because it’s a decent way to make a living.

I’m a writer because someone needs to be.

I’m a writer because it’s who I am, and it is the only honest truest expression of who I am and what I am on this world, in this life to do.

That’s why I’m a writer.

Now I’m finishing up at this, and I’m thinking of my articulate daughter and my inquisitive son. I’m thinking of how I hope that what I live, what I try to live, is what they will see and connect with too: that just as their mother and I strive to live our most honest truest selves, that we hope that one day, as they come to understand, they will too.

It just happened that for me, it’s being a writer. But for my kids, it’s an example.




What to do when your kids ask you to join their dance party

“Daddy!” asked my 5yo and 2yo, “will you join our dance party?”

I’d been in the midst of a big morning, writing, revising, and filing an article, while also moving pieces for some upcoming assignments. I’d planned the week, checked the finances, and all this after, I confess, having stayed up a tad too late with Jodie while we watched most of Star Wars: Rogue One.

But when your kids ask you to join their dance party, there’s only one answer.

Yes.

Now excuse me, I need to dance, jump on it.




The circle: Why bend genre when you can break it?

Image: Stiller Beobachter https://flic.kr/p/og2Waz

The circle

We were all supposed to make noise and move around in whatever direction we wanted.

It was the last activity for an acting workshop I was attending in college, put on by a theater troupe who later would perform Shakespeare (Twelfth Night, if memory serves). Through the course of the afternoon we’d gone through various improv, blocking, and dialogue techniques. Now, in this last activity, we would just wander and react.

It was quite fun. At first, everyone was all over the place. People moved about, dodging and bumping into each other. There would be brief exchanges of words, some nonsensical, some with depth. There was a good bit of laughter.

Eventually, though, the most curious thing happened. Two people began moving in a similar direction. Then a couple more joined them. Then more and more.

Eventually, every person in the workshop was walking in a counterclockwise circle in the middle of the room, going around and around and around together.

Except for one person.

I was still wandering my own way—and had wound up in the middle of this stream of people. Only problem was, I was walking in the opposite direction as everyone else. I still wanted to move my own way. I still wanted to go in my direction. It just happened to be different from what everyone else was doing.

As soon as I could, I got out of the circle and kept doing my own thing.

I guess some things never change.

Don’t bend genre

I think about that afternoon a lot—how it felt to be doing something different from everyone else, and wondering why I was the only one. I think about it as a parent too, since early observations indicate my son and daughter will be walking their own directions too.

But I also think about it a lot as an author. Specifically, when I think about genre and book categories.

You know. You look online or go into a bookstore, and everything is categorized all prettily for you. There’s the romance and the horror, the fantasy and the westerns. Everything is tidied into stacks or web categories. You can whittle things down finer too. There’s sweet romance and paranormal romance, epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and even things more granular which I won’t even get to.

Then there’s poor buggers like me.

Thing is, so far my books don’t fit any tidy genre categories. The Rucksack Universe is categorized under fantasy. But just as Neil Gaiman has said, more or less, that he doesn’t necessarily see his books as fantasy but concedes they have to be put on the shelf somewhere, I figure that fantasy is about as good a fit as I’m likely to find.

But that doesn’t mean I play by the rules.

My books aren’t what come to mind when you think fantasy. If you envision swords and sorcery, wizards and kings, vampires and werewolves, and lots of scantily clad helpless women who need rescuing, well, you won’t find that in my stories. That makes it a challenge to attract readers and help them see that the Rucksack Universe is something they want to take a chance on.

Break it

The other day, Library Journal and their SELF-e program asked me for an author interview. It was a really cool bit of Q&A (should be out next month). I keep thinking about my answer to one question in particular.

They asked what I wished I had known about self-publishing when I was getting into this.

I thought and thought about that. Then it hit me.

Genre.

I wish I had understood how hard it was going to be to categorize my books, and what impact that would have on how I appeal to potential readers. I’ve been a full-time, self-employed, independent writer and author since 2011, with books on the market since 2013. Yet in all that time, genre continues to bust my balls.

Now I understand why. It’s ridiculously simple, of course. Been staring me in the face all this time. Hell, not even that. It’s part of my DNA.

I don’t fit the box. I don’t tidy nicely into the category. I don’t walk in the circle or the same direction as the circle.

My stories are different. Thing is, the people who come to them, tell me that’s what they like. They like that they’re unlike other stories.

I appreciate the validation, and I’m going to keep on keepin on with my oddball stories of travelers, beer, and living and breathing legends myths. But how do I appeal to new readers and bring them to the series? When someone is browsing, say, the fantasy category, they may already have a set of genre expectations—but I get to turn those expectations on their head. It’s what I’ve always done. It’s who I am and who I choose to be. Expecting X from a story? Here’s a heaping of A with a pint of B—and you’re going to have a feckin good time.

After all, why bend genre when you can break it?

Appealing to new readers has been a challenge because I’ve been walking the same direction in the circle with everyone else.

Now I’ve stepped out.

Image: Stiller Beobachter




Behind the recent silence

Plum tree with spring blossoms

Plum tree with spring blossoms. In Japan, the spring blooming of plum and cherry trees signal a time of change, renewal, and beginning. I’ve been putting that to work for me and my writing too.

You might not have noticed. After all, you have so much going on yourself. But you’re here now, for whatever reasons are yours. Curiosity. Wondering. Concern. Maybe even a dash of hope.

I’ve been quiet for a while. I’ve fallen off with my emails to readers of late, and I have been fairly silent on social media. I haven’t been blogging much either. That’s the visible part of what I do, outside the office, outside my head. Inside… Well, inside, it’s been rather busy.

Over the last few months I’ve written tens of thousands of words. Some of it not visible yet, such as blog posts, Rucksack Universe short fiction, and Roadsong. And some it very visible, such as articles for publications I write for and content for clients.

I haven’t been saying much outside of all that for a couple of reasons. I’ve been more focused, honestly, on just taking care of the business, and doing some growth and strategy checks. I’ve also been trying to figure something out. Something in me that isn’t right.

I’m scared, you see. Always have been. Scared of you. And scared of me.

I’m scared because I’ve always had a certain fear of people. What they’ll think of me and what I do. What they’ll think of what I write. Or, far worse, that they’ll think nothing of it, because the stories will fail to touch them. A story that fails to touch someone is a story that doesn’t matter.

I’ve been working hard on writing things that matter. Some will matter to you. Some won’t. Some will matter to others. But I want them to matter to someone, so I start with making sure that what I write matters to me. That’s my baseline. A story, a post, has to at least matter to me—then there’s a decent chance it might matter to someone else too. So these last few months, I’ve been upping my game, pushing myself. Writing and writing and writing. I’ve snuck words every chance I can. Even on nights when it’s my turn to put my 2-year-old daughter to bed, I sit next to her as she goes to sleep, an iPad on my lap, tapping away on a Bluetooth keyboard.

Now it’s been time to change gears again. I don’t need to prove to myself or to anybody else that I can produce. I can do that. I can hit deadlines and word counts.

I need to prove to myself that I can publish more. Short stories. Books. Articles. You name it. I have so much work just… sitting here. Not doing anything. That’s a waste, and it’s ridiculous. So what I’ve been working on is why things are like this, and how to do something about it.

Things are like this because I’m scared of putting work into the world that isn’t perfect by my standards. Trouble is, perfect has been getting in the way of the published. So I’ve been working on improving my process, so that I can have a comfort point with writing, doing a bit of polish, and then just getting stuff out into the world. My main job right now is not just to write, but to release. I want more stories out there. Folks like you like my stories, but there aren’t enough yet—neither of stories or readers. The more stories, the more reading goodness for you, and the more to attract others who are interested in these stories too.

I’m taking some time now to write less, revise more, and publish the stuff I’ve been working on lately. To get more stories out into the world, in whatever way is best. There will be more Rucksack stories coming to my website, for example. Many short stories in the Rucksack Universe, I’ll post here, for free. These stories may be flawed, and they may also have the occasional typo, but I’ll still be writing and polishing to a good standard before I post them. (Some stories I’ll later gather into paid collections for e-books and such, and those stories will receive more rigorous editing at that point.)

Some stories I’ll be putting out into short story markets for paid publication. I’m also working on getting better about my process for letting you know where else you can find my fiction and non-fiction writing, so that will be improving here too.

It’ll also be improving on Facebook and my email list. I’ll be posting more to those too. I’m also rejiggering my social media presences right now. I’m going to focus on Facebook and email—in part because they’re challenging for me, but also because they’re the most relevant to where folks want to hear from me. Other networks, I’ll occasionally post too, but they’re just not as much my thing right now.

So that’s why I’ve been silent recently. Not because I’ve run out of things to say—but because, honestly, I’m about to start saying more than ever.




Hi.

Anthony St. Clair - Travel Fantasy Author / Craft Beer Writer / Business Copywriter

Author and copywriter Anthony St. Clair has specialized in online content since 2000, blogged since 2004 and is the author of the Rucksack Universe travel fantasy series.

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Rucksack Universe

Travel fantasy tales
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Forever the Road by Anthony St. Clair, a Rucksack Universe Fantasy Novel - learn more and buy now

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