Last night I spent an hour at least searching through my site. I was determined. Determined to find the stories and poems I failed to categorize and title properly. Why? So they could be removed.
More and more and more as I ponder just what is going on with my writing life, the more I am reconsidering how I actively do things. What am I posting? How often am I posting? How long is it appropriate to keep poems up for free? Short stories? What purpose am I doing either? Readers are one, sure, but why else?
That “why” has been bugging me. I mean, it’s been really bugging me.
Why am I putting stories up weekly? Practice comes up as one. A way to hold myself accountable to put in the work. Is that worth it though? I already write every day, is roping in a flash fiction story worth my time and effort? Is it something that I want to do for the rest of my life? Writing fiction, yes. But what has been happening is that when I look at these stories, though I am trying to be short and concise, I feel more like I am cheating the story. 500 words for a story is very tough unless I want to get really vague. But in most cases, I don’t want to write vague. If anything, I want to let myself be more flowery and poetic in how I write prose fiction. And it has been an unnecessary struggle.
Then there’s my poetry. I already have one poetry book out. There’s enough poems in my backlog that I think are decent enough for at least one more book. At least one more right now. But I also have experimented with writing a poem a day. Sometimes it works; most often it fails. That’s a little trickier to say whether I want to be doing that for the rest of my life. While the answer is yes, I actually don’t have legitimate goals with my poetry. It’s why I’ve not really even considered publishing a second poetry book other than brief thoughts of fancy on the matter. Posting a new poem a week is doable, and I am not all that positioned against it. But then, how long? How long should they stay up?
As I was deleting old poems and stories on the site, I noticed a number of them dating back to 2016 and 2017. Then they were sporadic all the way up until this year. Anything before December of 2020, I deleted. My original thought of 6 months felt too long. I revised my thought to 3 months and I am going to see if I can ride that thought out for a little while. I think.
Again though, why am I posting these things for free on my site?
I certainly cannot argue that any of these might translate into sales of my novels. In fact, with only two novels and a book of poems out, why am I bothering to worry about whether a free story on my site is going to move the needle? Frankly, it’s not. Writing more books will move the needle. Then there was this whole concept I stumbled on (from some unexpected sources that I follow for other reasons that a writing career) where “free” was argued as the wrong price for creative works. Yes, free is a price. It then got me thinking more and more on the matter. There are all sorts of writers who make the first book in a series perma-free, but there’s a reason for that. It’s like a sample. The hope is that once a reader downloads book 1, they will then buy books 2, 3, 4, etc. There’s less risk for a purchase of the first book. What I am doing does not equate to that even in the most vague of conceptualizations.
Throwing short stories up every week when I literally have nothing else of substance… am I cheating myself? Not only in price (not that I expect people to pay for flash fiction stories) but also in effort? Am I wasting energy trying to write these free short stories instead of focusing on the work needed to complete the umpteenth project sitting off to the side that I can’t seem to move past the first draft?
There’s real argument to that. Maybe I should chill on that? I am really thinking so. In other words, I think the whole concept of “Free Fiction Friday” that I’ve pushed is going to die again. And this time I am don’t believe that I am going to regret that. In fact, I think this time I am quite content knowing it. (The only thing I might try to do — simply for the sheer fun of it — is another round of Month of Macabre come Halloween. The few stories I got up last year are down, but I might rehash that theme in some form — why not? It is fun.)
Finally, there’s this whole blogging every day. I cannot see that I am going to keep that up for much longer. Blogging each day takes up a lot of energy, and I cannot figure why I am doing it so routinely. At least in the near term, I am going to stick with it. Then, soon, I am going to decide on a reduced schedule. I’ve been considering tapering back to a Monday through Friday thing to start. Maybe even twice a week instead, where I can put a little more effort into what I am writing. It’s another thing being debated. Until a decision is thought through however, I am not going to move on it, because consistency in whatever I decide must come first.
All in all, the point of this post is to basically say to expect this blog, the site, my handling of it, all to change in the coming weeks and month. Starting last night, old poems and stories have vanished. This Friday (3/26/2021), don’t expect a free short story. I cannot keep up with them, nor do I think I want to. Sometime later, I’ll announce when and how I might taper back the blogging. We’ll see. There’s much left to sort through.