The conferences are already scheduled. I’m presenting a paper at Slayage in June, and I will be attending the NCLCA Institute in July.
Writing, however, is significantly more up in the air. I see two directions I could go with my dedicated writing time.
On one hand, I very much want to finish a novel manuscript and prepare at least one short story for submission to publications.
On the other, I have quite a few ideas for academic books that I could easily see myself putting some effort into and working toward publishing them.
I have eleven thousand words written on a novel sitting in Google Docs. I have a whole list of ideas in Evernote on my iPhone just waiting to be realized.
Unfortunately, I have low self-esteem combined with a bad case of the “don’t even try its.”
I go through phases where I think my fiction ideas are either the best things in the world or the worst. I need to be able to settle on them being the best if I really want to make a go at selling fiction. My main concern is figuring out how to not be wishy-washy like this.
It’s not as though I don’t have the gumption to do it, either. I read on John Scalzi’s “Whatever” blog that he has a 2000-word per day quota. While I’m not saying that is easy to maintain (in fact, 2000 quality words are not easy to write), I can do that.
Figuring in travel days, weekends, and even a few breaks, I will have approximately 100 days free to write. 100 days x 2000 words per day = 200,000 words (over double the length I am shooting for).
Provided I settle on writing fiction, if I can’t get even a few drafts churned out over the summer, I need to just let this dream die.
At heart, I analyze literature. I can’t help it. I watch TV, and I see ways to dissect it. I read a book, and my entertainment is slightly diminished because I am thinking about what makes it tick.
In my heart, I am an academic. And as an academic, I want to share my analysis with others. I want to, as one of my graduate professors put it, enter the conversation with other minds out there.
And I have a wife who is simply brilliant. Our interests, both personal and scholastic, line up almost exactly. One goal I’ve had in mind since we first became a serious couple was to co-author/co-edit a book with her.
With our interest in both LOST and the Whedonverses, we could put together one hell of a book of essays and ideas analyzing our favorite series. That’s quite a lot of work, even with someone with whom we know we work well.
And then on top of that, I have ideas for books of scholarship that would not include her solely because she has never seen any of the series. As far as I know, there are no academic books dealing with the Stargate franchise whatsoever. And I don’t have to tell you, dear readers, how much I love me some Stargate.
And as much as I would love to play a part in helping get Stargate scholarship to become a reality, I cannot help but feel bad about going in a direction that would also not include Jennifer. As much as we’ve talked about co-writing books, I feel a bit selfish in pursuing a book idea she would be excluded from by default.
A Lot to Think About
My semester ends with graduation ceremonies on May 1. And I really have until then to make up my mind where I prefer to focus my creative energies. Because I have promised myself that this summer will be professionally developmental regarding my writing in addition to my conference attendance.
Of course, all this could be a moot point entirely. I could write until I get a first draft done (set a goal for halfway through the summer, maybe?) and then begin focusing my energies on figuring out where my scholastic research could take me. I don’t know where I got the impression that my writing had to be hyperfocused, but I seem to think that’s off-base a little.