Hello? Is anyone still here? Let me turn on some lights and shoo the spiders off the desktop. There, that’s better. Not that I have anything against spiders, mind you, but they never take the caps lock off.
It’s been a busy six months, and I have meant often to check in. Part of the problem is lack of internet time; on my odd schedule, it’s hard to make it to the library in Thessalon in time for a couple of hours of high-speed. But I am resolved now to get to the Scriptorium at least once a week, and twice if I can.
What have I been doing? Here’s the Reader’s Digest condensed version: writing, editing, travelling, working my night job, submitting for publication, applying for grants and, oh, yes, writing.
Most of my writing has been for pay, mainly articles for the Sault Star and Our Homes magazine. I’ve done some poetry for hire, which is always fun, and I’ve also spent some quality time with the last volume of The Swan Harp trilogy. It’s moving slowly, but it’s moving.
I’ve been dealing with the classic dilemma of a writer, or any artist; how much time do you spend writing what sells, and how much working on what you love? Because of the debt left over from the store, money has been quite tight for the last few years. Say what you like about hack writing, the truth is that without the newspaper work, things would have been much, much worse on the financial front.
I’ve also been doing some editing for a small press. It pays very little, but, again, that little has sometimes made a big difference.
In the last year, however, things have loosened up considerably, and I’m looking forward to rededicating at least half my writing time each week to my novel. Once this last book of the trilogy is done, I have several other novels waiting for their turn, and I’m eager to get to them.
In the midst of this, my writing group has been a godsend. I make it to the monthly meeting without fail. I can’t attend a whole three-day writing binge any more – it’s very difficult to get weekends off on overnight shift. I managed one day, however, for this summer’s binge, and got a whopping thirty-five-hundred words done on “Dark Waters, Dark Skies”. That was encouraging, because I certainly miss having more than an hour a day to write, and it was good to know that I could still buckle down and take advantage of the time when I had it.
Lately the money situation has become less pressing, partly because debt is going gradually down, and partly because some planning and hard work I did years ago began to bear fruit this year. I now have a small nest egg, which makes me feel less vulnerable. I am thinking seriously of dropping some of the work-for-not-much-pay and taking that time back for my real work, fiction writing. And, of course, more time at the Scriptorium.