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.

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