"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek." -Joseph CampbellIt’s been a hard week of long days, lots of work, and knowing I have to start buckling down for the PMP. The exam is scheduled to last four hours, and reminds me a lot of the AP exams I took in High School (how many decades ago!) for its ability to test the prospective certificant on any aspect of project management. Given that that includes some of the more arcane earned value and cost return calculations, I’m having to work at not freaking out over how much I have to memorize. Given that there are some literal dollar value increases (in salary and bonuses) tied to earning the credential, Joseph Campbell’s quote this week holds some literal truth for me at the moment.

I’m also facing the quote’s figurative truth. I’ve spent the weekend beginning the process of de-listing my books for distribution via Smashwords and listing them for distribution at Draft 2 Digital (so… if anyone is actually looking to buy my stuff now… be patient. It may or may not be at your vendor of choice for the next week). I had the brilliant idea that this would be a great opportunity to re-edit my work to make sure there were even fewer errors in my stories. And to see whether I still like them. Basically, I do, and can see my style/voice emerging more clearly in my later work. But I’m having an odd echo-experience of what Carrie Vaughn blogged about on Friday: Writing short. Comparing myself to a New York Times bestseller is obviously the height of hubris. Or hope. But as fiction authors, we’re driven by word counts. It’s the main goal of all my ROW80 cohorts and author friends. I’m holding Gayla’s hand as she pushes herself to keep adding words to her WIP and grouses similarly to Vaughn.

I wonder if, in my case, my “writing short” has as much with me racing to the finish line of a story to find out how it ends (I totally had no idea I was writing scifi when I started out writing fantasy with Wytchfire), and then being done enough with the story idea to not feel like pulling myself out of my writing happy place and into my writing working-hard place, tired and cranky place. In short, not facing that cave of Campbell’s fears.

And the revisions I’m contemplating on books 1 and 3 of Red Slaves… those will require that tired and cranky place of looking for all the missed opportunities for character development and world-building that had my crit partners yelling at me last month. Given how tired and cranky I’ve been for other reasons, piling it on… Well. Yeah. There’s some avoidance happening. I’m going to guess that revising and re-releasing book 1 and finishing book 3 per my stated goals–especially with the PMP studying… Not gonna happen. Which adds to the tired and cranky.

On the other hand, hubs and I have made great progress on enforcing weekend activity boundaries–and enjoying each other’s company for a weekly date night. This week we got to see Avengers: Age of Ultron. In an actual theater. And shared a huge number of fanboi moments. I cringed at Natasha’s “moment of weakness” along with other feminists, but here again, more strongly echoed Carrie Vaughn’s review. We’re also doing a lot better with the nightly dog walks–yeah, some are just 10-minute half-milers, but we’re going every night.

So the cranky I’m anticipating in my creative life should at least be somewhat mitigated by family togetherness.


Especially when hubs shares links like the one to Aristotelian wisdom he forwarded this week.

So I will soldier on. (And so will he–at least he’s past halfway through the hell of an intensive series of continuing ed classes to reinstate his national certification status.) And I will check in again next week to report on my progress. In the meantime, check out how the other ROW80ers are doing.

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2 thoughts on “Facing Fears

  1. When the publisher for my novel decided to cease distributing it, I went down the “edit and put it up for sale” path… For a few days. This novel was one of my earliest writings and it needed more help and time than I had to give it. I felt letting it go out of print was just the best choice. Not saying you should go that path, just saying I understand your cranky. You chose a hard road with a great reward. I wish you the best!

  2. Good luck with moving your books over and your revisions. That certainly isn’t my happy place. I love the first draft, discovering all the little things I didn’t already know about my characters when I started writing. But, the revision phase is necessary, too. Hope you have a good week.

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