Friday, January 16, 2009


With all of the demands of life--work, family, and other things--it has been a while since I last visited the writing forums. So, I took some time out lately and meandered through the old familiar territory. In the process, I felt this weird sense of ... well, of being lost. I saw the names of remembered friends, all with a slew of posts to their credit within the last couple of weeks. And yet, it has been well over a month since I've posted anything or even looked at the forums.

So, what's the problem with me? I wondered. Have I failed to manage my time? Have I lost my priorities?

At lunch last week, a friend asked how things were going on the writing front. I commented that things were still going fine, but it was all slow. Before I started writing, I never realized how much work was involved in the process. I never realized how much time you could spend just to finish one story and get it out the door. Maybe it's just me, but when it comes to writing a finished draft I'm an exceptionally slow worker. As I mentioned to another friend lately, for every story I have there is a mountain of revisions. Even my piece of flash fiction that was published in Flash Fiction Online saw at least a half-dozen revisions before I originally sent it out.

And there is my problem. With all the demands of family and work added to my slow writing process, I find I don't have a whole lot of extra time to frolic in the forums, so to speak. On the one hand, I feel like I'm missing out. I feel like I should have more time for the forums. I understand the importance of networking and building a platform, and this is why I have created my blog. But every minute spent in the forums is a minute I could have spent working on my novel or on a short story. Even posting this entry to the blog feels like I have cheated my stories out of their time.

Am I the only one? Am I losing the battle, or am I being too hard on myself? How do other people have time for the forums and still put in quality time with their family, keep their performance up for their day job and keep a solid writing regiment going?

It's days like this when the gremlin hops on my shoulder and squeals in my ear about how I should just hang it up. I can never support my family and still put in the time needed to build up my writing. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment, though, because I still keep doing it. Or maybe it's that stubborn attitude that everyone keeps telling me I have.

So, for all my friends in the forums, please know that I haven't shunned you. I haven't stomped off with my undies bunched in a wad, either. I just haven't found that right formula that makes it all come together.


  1. Stephen, I TOTALLY understand where you're coming from. There's nothing I'd love more than to spend even a half an hour each day on the forums. So often, I've wondered how some of the writers there manage to be so generous with their time, yet still write themselves and balance the rest of their lives.

    I'll tell you a little secret: I'm in a real tizz here lately. I started a new writing group, set to begin next month. The group evolved from my writing workshop, which I also don't want to give up, so basically I have to produce twice as much as I did before. I have no idea how I'm going to do this. I can't even get chapter two on Folly started, much less complete a chapter a month, plus an additional 4K words a month for the workshop. I'm so stressed about it, I can't write a thing.

    So, long story short--yep, I can relate BIG TIME. But there's this thing in me that whispers we can't give up now. Kids will grow. Things will get better. Maybe this is one instance where time works on our side.

  2. Yep. The balance thing. I understand the forum thing - I flit in and out myself. I've been flitting in more than I should, and will be slowly edging away again - time to get down to business.

    I find setting discrete goals easily achievable helps me - a lot. Say, 1 hour in the morning of BIC or 500 words daily. Then, I can go play in the forums.

    As Simon Cowell said to a kid who made it to Holy wood this week - learn to be a little selfish. Write. Peace, Linda

  3. Forums and networking are helpful, but not as important as the actual writing. If we don't finish our stories or articles, a "platform" isn't going to matter. And there are some things more important than writing; you seem to have your priorities in order.

    You have a gift for writing, and I'm confident you'll reach your goals--it might just take longer than you'd like. Remember, patience is a virtue.

    Here's some encouragement, in keeping with the title of your blog: Psalm 1:3, He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.

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