Sunday, February 19, 2012

Like so many writers, the ultimate dream I'm chasing revolves around the novel. The agent, the book deal, a long-running multi-book career. But I also love short story writing, for two reasons:

1. It's a great way to try out a technique without committing to a book's worth of that technique. I've re-written novels to change POV and tense, because if it has to be done, it has to be done, but I'd rather do my experimentation on something under 5000 words, please.

2. It's a great way to try out submission and rejection. I don't say this to sound pessimistic, but the short story markets are very, very crowded, especially in the professional and semi-pro pay scales. I've had some poems and short stories published in pro-paying markets I'm very proud of, but I've also received my fair share of rejections*. It's all served a purpose in thickening my skin, though, in my opinion.

I know there are those rare writers who receive offers of representation from their first set of carefully-targeted queries, and whose agents then sell their book their first week. That's not me. I've collected some rejections on my first novel and, as I'm preparing to query my second, I'm grateful I've learned not to take rejection personally. I want the agent I eventually sign with to love my work, and I'm okay with all the rejections along the way from agents who aren't going to love it (as long as I can be proud of my product and secure that I've done my homework before querying, of course!).

Of course, there's a third reason I write short stories, which has nothing to do with the practical, which disregards the thin markets and the probabilities, and whatever career benefits short stories may carry, and even the bittersweet feelings of a "close, but not quite" rejection, and the joys of an acceptance.

They make me happy.

Sometimes, it's nice to just go back to that.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Someone told me that the nine (and a half!) months of pregnancy drag by.

I do not understand this, not one bit. I'm almost five months pregnant now, so half way through. These are the glory days of pregnancy, and they're fleeting. 

I finally look pregnant, not fat (for a while there, I seriously considered having t-shirts made that said that very thing).  

I am past the morning sickness, but not yet into the huge-and-uncomfortable phase.

I've passed the scary bits early in one's pregnancy, and am not yet facing the imminence of the scary bits at the end.

Pregnant shopping is fun. I still love my maternity clothes - will I ever want to wear jeans with a real waistband again? MJ and I are buying cute crib bedding and adorable gender-neutral onesies, trying to pick out a crib (we've narrowed it down to 5 styles that are essentially the same, but right now this seems SO IMPORTANT), and arguing bickering discussing whether or not to cloth diaper (spoiler alert: we are going to cloth diaper). 

Everyone is excited for us and not yet able to criticize our parenting choices. 

Even labor and delivery still seems like an exciting prospect. 

Everything right now is so much fun. And it's going by too fast. 2012 is a big year for us: we have some major home renovations under way, there's that baby en route, I'm leaving the Marines in November, and I have to find a new job. It's a lot of upheaval all at once, especially for someone like me who doesn't exactly appreciate uncertainty.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm beyond excited for all these big changes in my life. But I remember when nine months seemed like a long time, and now it seems like the end of this pregnancy will be here in the blink of an eye. Baby, you'd better stay in there for the full 38 weeks. I've got things to do, and I'm going to need all the time I can get!