So the other day, to my very pleasant surprise, I got fan mail about a story I hadn't put much thought to since it came out. I don't mean to say that I didn't care about the story; I'd simply moved on. I'd written The End and hoped others would enjoy it while I tried to figure out what was next.
I suppose this is an example of my brain at work.
The story was short, maybe 5k and I'm sure afterward I was beating at myself to stretch my word count. That's my problem, you see. I couldn't, and too often still can't, see myself as a real writer without a novel under my belt. I hang out with the real deal, chat in groups, promo, and probably have my own set of fans (I met a few of them when I did my interview on Wave's blog)...but it's like it doesn't penetrate.
For each 5k story I write, it's as if I instantly feel like I'm playing at writing. I'm not, ya know. I just can't seem to do it right to my mind. Sorry, this is very stream of conscience but the fan mail got me thinking. I need to stop dismissing my short stories. I'm good at them, hell, I'm great at them. I know I am. But I suppose this feeling of failure comes from the fact that I'm friends with people like James Buchanan, Jay Lygon, Stephanie Vaughan, Amanda Young, and the list just keeps going...
I don't think it's surprising that I occasionally feel rather inadequate. Still...that bit of fan mail? It tells me that I'm not bad. That short story that reader found will lead her to my back list and maybe she'll become a fan too. I guess in the end, it's not about novels. It's about writing something that people enjoy, that I enjoyed and if that happens to be only 5,000 words, then so be it.
Don't take this as me giving up on writing novels. One of the reasons I am a writer is because of that lust to be in print. I'm not gonna lie and there's really not an author alive (generalization) who would tell you otherwise. I do really want to write a novel or ten. To become a recognizable name. I guess it's just gonna take a little longer than I thought. This little bit of fan mail though...it'll keep me going.
And I realized that I liked that short she asked me about. Maybe there will be a sequel after all.
So what about you? What keeps you moving forward?