Full tilt into 2016 (and the dilemma of ego and resistance)

Two new contracts. Since I’ve taken up the Ray Bradbury short-story challenge, I took a contract writing short stories. I’m contracted to do one a week, so that should get me in the habit early-on.

Second contract was a feather in my Upwork cap. They’ve established a new policy where Upwork assigns an assistant to a new client. The assistant then helps them to find a contractor whom they believe will give the client a positive first-time experience. I was recently chosen as “that contractor,” and garnered a $3000 contract from it. Considering my total expenses for the month are under $500, you can see how this contract is a real boon. I will be ghostwriting a biography.

I finished my 22nd novella two nights ago, and as I said in my last post, that’s my last novella for hire. No more romances, no more cozy mysteries. If I return to those genres it will be because I have my own ideas for my own stories written under my own name.

New inspiration. After spending the last year and a half writing 30 – 40,000 word novellas, I realized I was quite unprepared to try to cram a story into 7000 words. So, I’ve begun reading short story collections in order to remind myself just how that’s done. I discovered and was richly rewarded with stories which drew me in immediately.

I also bought the book, The Plot Machine: Design Better Stories Faster by Dale Kutzera yesterday. I haven’t delved into it yet, but the reviews convinced me it was just what I need.

The dilemma of ego and resistance. One of my writing dilemmas is that it is difficult for me to come up with ideas. Yet when I was writing for hire, I rarely liked ideas I was provided with. That can make it difficult. It could take me weeks to incubate a story, especially if it was something I was resisting.

My motto for several years now has been something Krishna said to Arjuna: “Resist what resists in you; become yourself.” I try to recognize when I’m resisting something and work to break that resistance. This last novella I did for hire was like that. It was one of those Billionaire Bride romances (my first and last), and I had such contempt for the subject matter. I finally was able to negotiate a plot I could live with, but I still procrastinated forever. I wrote the first 10,000 words haltingly. The second 10,000 came easier because I began to inhabit the story. I became those characters as I wrote.

I swear my ego can make things really difficult for me. I was so condescending about the story, that I realized I was subconsciously telling myself I couldn’t “lower myself” to write it. Once I realized that was what I was doing, I was able to overcome it.

I could barely believe it myself when I turned out the third 10K just a day and a half after the second. It took me about ten days to finish writing the remainder because I had character dilemmas to work out.

It’s done, and I think I learned more about myself as a writer during that last experience than ever before.

Resist what resists in you; become yourself.     Krishna