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Showing posts from August, 2013

Being Yourself

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Just over ten years ago, my life underwent a huge and unexpected transformation.
I changed career paths (a decision that went brilliantly for many years, before going somewhat off the  rails and leaving me in a bit of a career limbo).
I left a romantic relationship with a someone who shared many of my obsessions and priorities and shortly after that entered into a new relationship with someone who had a significantly different view on life than what I was used to.
One thing I decided to do at the time was abandon my dreams of becoming a successful writer. I felt that I  had lost whatever magic touch I once had that made my writing worth reading and had become disillusioned with the notion of success.
None of my friends who had become successful full-time writers seemed much happier for it - and I was stunned by the amount of pressure they encountered as their work became more popular - to hew to a schedule. Prolificacy became the single most important thing in their lives - which migh…

Don't Obsess About a Single Story

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So far my observation is that a writer should not allow any given story to become too important to them. I think it's a form of obsession.
But it has happened to me anyway. And that story continues to exercise its thrall on me.
Over 20 years ago, I wrote I novelette called "Masks of Flesh and Sanity." Even while I was writing it I felt that this was the story that defines me. In 20 years, it's gone through probably 20 versions, five different titles and a dozen endings. Every time I reread it, I think, "this is a major story."
I felt that way about "Labour Relations" - which became my first story sale and first appearance in a well-known magazine. I felt that way about "The Onion Test" and it was sort of an underground breakout story for me. I felt that way about "Fourth Person Singular" and received validation from the award nominations and great reviews and resales of  that story.
Of course, I also felt that way about "L…