Monday, January 7, 2013

Balancing Act


When we started this blog over two years ago, I was an unpublished writer. Since that time, I’ve had numerous short stories published. In 2012, six of my stories were published, and although I’m extremely proud of that fact, I am still not a published novelist. Most instant successes aren’t—having practiced their craft for years before submitting their first stories. I hope the path I travel is slow and steady because I don’t want to miss a thing, don’t want to cheapen my craft, want the time to develop my style (when I figure out what it is, I’ll tell you), try new techniques and grow.

Were I an “instant success” (and I fear that ship has already sailed), I would distrust that success. When I first started writing, I couldn’t gauge my own work. I’m getting better at that now. As I progress, I distance myself from my work, which I think is a more professional stance. When I read books that I “sink into,” I know the writer is gifted, and if I can make myself “sink into” my own work, which I’ve occasionally accomplished, I know I’m progressing in my craft.  

Telling readers about our progress in both craft and publishing, discussing the issues we’ve encountered and techniques we’ve discovered were the blog’s objectives at its inception. The blog invited fledgling writers a place to share, but it also provided a place for us to vent, a way to celebrate milestones while releasing our frustrations when we weren’t always successful. To other fledgling writers, there is a need to share and in doing so learn, commiserate and celebrate. Blogging is a way to create community.

Even though I haven’t had a personal relationship with many of our WWK bloggers who have come and gone over these two years, I have felt a collegial comradery once they have written here for a while. We critique our posts, which has served me well since that process improved my writing. There are differences of opinion, which are expected, and we’ve overcome those differences. A few bloggers may have felt that they weren’t a good fit here or that they were over-committed. Leaving was their decision—also respected. Blogging does require time, commitment and ingenuity. It can be a grind, but then those authors, who we admire and who churn out great books year after year, are also in the grind. It’s where we want to be.

Warren Bull was already published in both the short and novel markets from the start of this blog. Last year, Jim Jackson, already published in shorts, signed with Barking Rain Press, after being published in the nonfiction market, fulfilling his goal of published novelist in 2013 and showing us that there is light at the end of this proverbial tunnel. We await hearing about their promotional and professional trials, about how they interact with their publishers, the public and within the industry. Those of us who haven’t yet jumped to that level will learn and hopefully be of help to them along their way.

I have two professional goals this year: revise my WIP, TOASTING FEAR, and write a rough draft of my new WIP, COMPROMISED CIRCUMSTANCES. Both endeavors will take months to complete and, all the while, compete against blogging and writing short stories, which I fear will take a hit. If I am able to have two short stories published this year, I’ll be lucky.

Balancing is always a writer’s problem that occurs on every level of the writing career. I hope that all of you make 2013 a balanced year, and even if you can’t accomplish that, don’t let it drive you crazy. I’ll try and take my own advice.  


  1. I'm called by the devil, I guess, to offer a contrary perspective.

    I've wondered if this idea of "balance" is overblown. Those who are great are rarely balanced because they have concentrated their energies in a particular area.

    Often I have found my attempts to balance my work have taken away both the pleasure I get from work and the productivity of my efforts.

    That does not mean I can spend my time entirely as I choose--others do have a call on it--and certain tasks I might prefer to ignore are required in order to bring other (enjoyable) pursuits to fruition.

    The question is how to minimize the "required" stuff and then utilize our "optional" resources.

    E.B., wishing you the best in 2013.

    ~ Jim

  2. At the risk of angering the devil's advocate, I have to say that I agree with Elaine. Balance is essential unless you want to be so focused as to lose other things that might be as important. When Jim refers to "those who are great," that makes me think of people like Einstein or Edison or others who are so focused that you wonder if they knew how to actually enjoy the calmer moments in life. I've heard that Einstein, at least, wasn't considered a very nice person (not that he cared, I'm sure), because he was overly focused on one aspect of life.

    I think it really comes down to what type of person you are. I certainly wouldn't like to be so focused that I miss out on special moments with my friends or loved ones, or that I don't get to enjoy a random rainbow that might cross my path.

    I wish you success with your balancing act, EB.

  3. Thanks, Alyx. The fact is though, that I've been looking after my family for 30 years. They still count on me for personal and business reasons. I'd like to drop everything and write. But, I can't. We can't afford a cook, a maid, a bookkeeper and every other role that I fill. I have to get my writing time when I can. Now, when I start making the big bucks--I'm sure that they will drop everything to help me--and I can count on that so everything evens out in the end. The Beatles said something to that effect, I think.