Yesterday I completed an inventory of my short stories. It was a useful exercise, even though it left me dissatisfied with the result. I noted how many stories I’ve written over the past three years, the date they were completed, and their current status (at market, trunked, etc.). I listed the stories that languish in an unfinished state also, which was handy because it reminded me of several that have potential. This stock-check revealed an unpleasant truth, however: I need to write more new stories (and scripts, etc.).
It’s easy to be distracted by the revision and submission process, which is an essential on-going task. Yet, even though it’s an important part of writing it can give you an illusionary sense of achievement. Once you’ve built up a small stockpile of stories you can spend a lot of time tweaking them and rotating them out to markets. It can hide the fact that you are not producing new work.
Thankfully, on some level I recognised this, and during the last two months I pushed to start and complete new work. At least I’m on the right track now, but I need to stay focused – a fact my little spreadsheet made brutally clear. I’m pleased that I’ve been sending work to markets consistently this year, but I need to expand my pool of story submissions.
I plan to keep my inventory up-to-date from now on. It’s important (for me) to assess my work and how I’m hitting my goals. As long as the stock-check doesn’t take the place of writing of course…
I’m off to wrangle words.