One of the few perks of being a public school teacher in Oklahoma is summer vacation. I have a routine that I go through to unwind from the busy schedule of teaching high school students. It follows:
- Read The Lord of the Rings.
- Go swimming with my children.
- Start working on a new writing project.
This year will be different, however, as I have several outlines either finished or nearly finished for at least three novels. I just completed my third novel, Come Apart, and will be having a book signing on May 31st at the Norman, OK Hastings from 3-5pm. I don’t know if I want to dive in to another novel just yet.
In January Literary Juice, an online magazine, published my short story Rust, which is one of many short stories I have been toying with for several years. I write short stories to feel out ideas I might have for novels. If the short story doesn’t pan out, I usually don’t pursue it as a full length novel. Come Apart started this way, but then I realized that I would need much more to tell the story fully, and eventually it took a direction I did not intend originally. The direction was very good, but some of my short stories have not gone any further than 1500 words.
I have decided that for the summer I will put together several short stories into a compendium to publish sometime in September. It will give me a chance to relax from long form novels for a while, and see if the three outlines I have put together can sustain themselves beyond the 1500 word maximum.
The point is, it is necessary for a novelist to write, even if the writing task is not writing novels. Writers need to keep themselves sharp, and if you haven’t written in a while, you need to get back to it.
Writers write. Period. If you are doing anything else, not writing every day or every other day, you are not a writer.