So I’m in Wales at the moment.

It’s really good to be out of London for the weekend and to see my family. Hanging out with my brother, his girlfriend and my niece was really fun. I can’t believe how quickly C (my niece) is growing and I don’t think it’ll be long before she’s mobile, apparently she’s already crawling a little – although I haven’t seen it yet. Through the magic of the internet I also got to see/speak to my sister in Sydney. She looks well and seems to be having fun on her latest adventure.

However, mainly I’ve been resting. That I was tired I knew but it still came as a surprise that I slept for around twelve hours last night and I feel much better for not carrying a full set of luggage under my eyes. Typically, as I start to have more time, my thoughts are turning to writing and looking at what I’ve managed to do this year. To be honest it’s been a bit disappointing.

The year started very well with a couple of stories scheduled to appear and I’d be lying if I didn’t say how pleased I was to take part in Illuminations in spite of the less than stellar review I got. Yet since then I haven’t managed to place anything, due largely I think, to focussing mainly on my novel projects and largely only submitting to pro-markets. My main concern about the length of time it’s taking to find places for my stories is that I’m not getting feedback and this slows down my progress. For example, the review in Illuminations was a little bruising but it was also incredibly useful and made me work a lot harder on my line edits. Hopefully, improving my work for the better. The fact is that some of the stories I currently have in circulation are coming up to a year old and I want to move on, to learn from them. Feedback has to be part of that, in my opinion.

Then there’s the danger of obscurity. I’ve found the Friday Flash meme incredibly useful in terms of generating feedback but it is ultimately such a short form that it limits the amount of experimentation you can carry out and increasingly I find myself wanting to post some of my longer stuff. You know, just to see what happens. The fact is that no one gets rich from short stories these days and I wonder if perhaps I’d be better off trying to promote my own stuff online.

Or is it just vanity?

I don’t know. I do know that it seems illogical to continue with the same process when it doesn’t seem to be working and that if I put myself in the mindset of using my short fiction as a loss leader or marketing tool it leads me down a very different path than submitting to a handful of paying markets. Or that if I just want to do it for fun. Or if I could generate a different meme along the lines of the Clarion process maybe I could generate some feedback.

Lots to think about.

And I can’t silence that voice in the back of my head. You know: the one that keeps pointing out whether you really want to get to the end of your life and still be asking what if? Thoughts?

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