Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The stillness between endings and beginings

A few weeks ago, I finished the first draft of my forth novel, "Heal Thyself." While I have dabbled in a new story, I have not really begun work on it in a consistent or serious way. Partly, that is because I have been writing continuously for nearly four years and need to take a deep breath. Partly, because I feel as if I'm at a crossroads in my writing.

Now I have the luxury of writing what I want to write. That freedom has taken me from quasi-medieval fantasy to near-future thriller, from a haunted house in present day suburbia to an invented land of desert nomads, magical healers, and a slave trade. Along the way, I've penned two short stories as well--a modern retelling of a selkie tale and a post-apocalyptic sci-fi served with a dash of hope.

I am committed to the path of traditional publication, starting with obtaining a literary agent. The query process has been more frustrating and slower than I had anticipated. For the most part, it is a blind endeavor. Most of the feedback an aspiring writer receives is binary--yes or no. Even partial 'yesses' (requests for partials and fulls) don't garner much specific feedback. So much relies on the writer herself holding onto hope even while continuing to work in a vacuum.

Yes, there are critique groups. Most rely on peer review and one's peers are essentially operating in the same vacuum. There are conferences, workshops, and contests, but it's not always easy to know which are useful, which are reputable.

So I am at once unfettered by responsibilities and expectations and paralyzed by lack of direction or guidance.

I could write anything I want.

I feel like I am broadcasting a handful of unlabeled seeds into uncertain soil.

It all seems so random and purposeless right now.

Will there ever be a time when I look back and see a clear path reaching back to today and whatever decisions I make?

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