As I work to perfect my “Work-Life” Balance, I have found that I haven’t been utilizing my time and resources as effectively as I could and this blog entry details some of the ways in which I have developed to address this imbalance. In 2015, I wrote a lot, but did not maximize the submissions part of my writing. In 2016, I wrote a little, but I really focused on the submissions aspect, and did not really focus as much on my writing. This year, I’ve tried to focus on both, but the amount of schoolwork has limited my ability to really write creatively, as you can see through the lack of blog entries that I have posted this year. So, I had fallen back to prioritizing submissions as a way to still feel connected with the creative writing part of my life.
However, after recently dusting off an older story that was already published and sending it to a market that accepts reprints, I realized that I already have a cache of material, that with a little reworking, that I can use as “stepping stones” to create longer, and more lucrative works. Ship of Shadows (SoS) is a story that I created, submitted and was published in Visions IV: Space Between Stars. I have detailed its genesis in this blog entry. I am really proud of this story, but rather than try to reprint it in other anthologies/markets (although I totally could as the rights have reverted back to me), I wondered if there was a way to “expand” upon it in some way, and to make it longer and more in-depth. In other words, was there a way that I could revise (“re-vision”) the story and take the same “kernel” of the story, but “re-see” it in a new, longer form work? I then began to brainstorm what that would look like. First, I would need to know what longer form work is it that I’m envisioning. The options that I would be interested in working on at the moment are graphic novels, screenplays, and novels. In my mind, the next logical stepping stone up from a short story is the graphic novel–it is short enough to be read in one sitting (in many cases), but tells a more elaborate story. I already know that the characters, setting, and plot are strong because it was published (& something an editor paid to publish), so why not work smarter and try to “build” upon a structure that I already know has the potential for success? So I am currently working on outlining the graphic novel version of SoS. I am hopeful that I will be able to write a strong rough draft from my outline during my Summer Break. I will, of course, be detailing its construction in this blog.
MAXIMIZING FREE TIME
Okay, look, I’m a PhD student. My days are jam-packed with reading, teaching, reading, working, reading, writing (academic), reading, grading, reading, reading, reading . . . you get the picture. Heck, even as I type these very words, I have a 5-7 page paper to complete and an annotated bibliography to start, so my time is precious to me. This, unfortunately, means that creative writing has gotten the short shrift during the past two semesters. I realize, however, that I have a lot of time (free) built into my days that I’m not utilizing in a very productive way. On those days where I’m “free” (i.e., no classes, I should take an hour as I’m eating to simply write on the current draft that I’m working on). On the days I have to “work” (i.e., days where I have classes or academic commitments, I should simply outline/rough draft future works). That way, I’m always working on something current and will be ready for those extended “Breaks” (Summer & Winter) when I can devote my full time and resources to the things that I’ve outlined or rough drafted. On weekends, my time should be used for preparing submissions. If I can somehow achieve and maintain this balance, I think my writing production and my satisfaction with the writing process will improve immensely.
Well, that’s all I have time for this week. I’ve got assignments to write, papers to grade, and books to read, so I’ll sign off. Here’s hoping you have a successful week, and with luck, hopefully I’ll have a successful writing week as well.