At the beginning of the year, I set myself the challenge of writing a short story a month.
First off, I need to remind myself that I didn’t challenge myself to write a good, saleable story a month; sometimes one produces a clunker, after all. So I am hereby officially accepting the fact that I didn’t actually finish “Kingspeaker” until the beginning of March, and my February short story was “Schrodinger’s Crone.” Doesn’t matter that SC actually needs to be a poem; I wrote it first as a story, and if it’s a bad story, oh well.
Which is me telling myself that I can officially not kick myself over the fact that “Once a Goddess” (theoretically my March story) isn’t done. “Kingspeaker” was my March story. This is my April story.
But the real issue is on the horizon: Midnight Never Come. (And the wedding.) I don’t know if I’ll be able to write a short story a month while also writing a historical novel with lots of research. (And planning a wedding).
I might be able to, were it not for the fact that many of the short story ideas on hand also require research. “Hannibal of the Rockies” (which is technically on ice at the moment) requires me to know about elephants, Siam, the Civil War, and nineteenth-century mountaineering. “Mad Maudlin” needs research into mental health care. “The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots” might pass, since half of it’s the same research I’m doing for MNC anyway, but “Xie Meng Lu Goes on Pilgrimage” and all the subsequent stories I want to write for it require me to learn about imperial China, and what I presently know about imperial China would fit comfortably in a thimble. Etc. The stories that don’t need research mostly aren’t developed enough to be written yet.
I had a secondary goal for this year, though, which was to get a new story out the door each month. This isn’t the same thing as writing a good, saleable story a month because I have a small backlog of things I’ve written but not revised. So I think I’m revising my intentions: the submissions will be the real priority, and the writing will be something to aim for but not freak out if I fail to achieve it. I have two non-researchy things I can write in May and June, and then I can let myself slide in July, August, and September if I need to, picking myself back up in the fall, after the novel’s turned in and I’m officially hitched.
This sounds wise. Whether or not it will happen remains to be seen. But ultimately, the point is to aim for it; any progress I make toward the goal(s) means I have more short story production than I’ve had in the last year or two, and that is a Good Thing.