Matches, Jamie Street

In-Between Writing

I don’t want to write another novel.

It’s true that I have several ideas waiting to be continued or started, but to be perfectly honest, I just don’t have it in me. I can’t bring myself to start another 80,000 word project right now.

So I’m in the in-between writing phase. I want to write but I don’t want to start a long term project.

My focus over the next few months will be journal and magazine submissions. Poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction/essay. Let’s do this.

I’ve tried poetry before and while I enjoy it, I don’t think I’m good enough at it. Of course, half the time I don’t know what makes a poem good, so that doesn’t help matters. I’m sure I’ll try to write some more poems. I have a few that could use some revision. Of course, most literary journals and magazines ask for 3-5 poems in a single submission and I don’t have enough that I feel really confident in to even do that.

As for short stories, I have two that I really, really love. And I have another one started that I have been meaning to finish. And a few very short pieces from my graduate school workshops that could possibly prompt some fleshed out stories. So without even touching on creative essay (which I’m not as comfortable with), I’ve decided to place my focus on short stories.

One of the stories, a short science-fiction piece, I submitted last year and received what I consider encouraging and helpful feedback: “Overall, your story is strong, but the ending is somewhat disappointing and confusing.” So I did what I had to do – I revised the ending. Then I revised it again. Then I submitted it again. The thing with sci-fi short fiction is that there aren’t a ton of places to submit and nearly all of them don’t allow simultaneous submissions. After my first rejection, I revised and submitted somewhere else. After a few months of waiting, I received that rejection. I’m going to keep going though, because I do believe the story is strong and I just need the right person to read it.

The other story I wrote a while ago and just recently revisited. Then I revised the hell out of it. I love it. It’s a complete piece that I think really touches on a lot of conflicting emotions. I would love to find a home for it, and I have a few places in mind but submissions periods aren’t open yet.

I guess what I’m trying to do here is figure out how to keep writing and how to even want to. I’ve moved from novel to novel over the last five years. Sometimes I think I don’t know how to write if it isn’t a novel. I just want to focus on something new. For a minute I thought maybe I should try and write a novel that isn’t YA but I just can’t stomach dedicating that amount of time and that many words to one project again right now.

I need to try something new. I need to try and figure out the best way to move forward. I need to change my game plan.

I guess I’ll start by trying to write a few short stories.

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