Last year, I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. I participated in the National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo. I finished a novel, Red Maslem and the Pilots of Anzu. About 14 percent of the participants finished a 50,000 word novel. That is no small feat to accomplish.
That doesn’t mean you are a published author, or the work has merit, it just means you’ve taken on a job and finished.
Following that, I decided to take my short stories that had not been published and put them into a book, then two books, then three. Anthem I and II are available on Kindle. Anthem III is still waiting for editing. I have also re-edited Anthem I and II, III is three-fourths of the way through. The originals were a bit flawed, somewhat like a sketch that eventually leads to a painting.
I have also written a novel this year for NaNoWriMo: The Making of Skean Dhu: Space Pirate. It’s about a young woman who hates her life, runs away and joins the pirate federation. I think it is much better than the one I wrote last year. I’ve learned a lot editing my own work and studying what I can find on editing my own stories.
I also managed to get a few short stories published in a local anthology, Chaos.
My next large project will be to write a story I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I’ve been debating whether to write it or not. It will be about a fallen preacher who is a child molester. I’ve hesitated to write it because the topic is a bit hot. However, this year I met a writer who was also a pastor’s child who wrote a story about a dysfunctional minister’s family – not her own.
I had always wondered if people who read my work would think it was somehow autobiographical as if I was writing about my own family. As I was looking at her work, I didn’t think about the story as being about her. That surprised me and led me to decide that writing such a book would not necessarily reflect on my family. While I will be using some stories from my past, the family I’ve created for my story is not my family. It is not a story about any family I know. It is about elements of child welfare cases I’ve been involved with as a social worker (again, not any one family or person), stories I heard from my father about ministers who molested, and my imagination.
So, I declare 2013 a productive year in terms of what I have accomplished, what I have learned, and what I am planning to do.
To keep up with my writing, I am going to have to teach less at the University. I love teaching, but teaching eats time. I feel obliged to study and read my texts and notes, then the student’s works.
If I do a decent job teaching, I fall behind in my writing. Teaching will not last forever, so I need to cut myself loose from it and become a writer.
I’ve already over committed myself to teaching this coming spring, so my reduction in teaching hours will take place next fall.