...why am I not as accomplished as I expected to be?
Don't get me wrong, I love my life. I have a good home, a loving family, great friends, and a substantial lack of drama... and the fact I'm getting older isn't what's bothering me, either. No, what I mean is that, as a writer, I'm still in the same place I was back at 25: unpublished. And it's only my fault.
I have learned a lot about the craft since then. I'm well aware my writing talent wasn't developed enough back then to land a professional publishing gig, but now? My regret is that I let myself slack off.
I have two full novels written, and one of them is big enough to be two books. Both have been professionally critiqued by an editor, but neither are ready to be sent to a publishing house. And why is that? Because when edits were complete I left them on the back burner instead of completing the editing process with new material from what I had learned. I had plans on doing some short stories for anthologies and magazines to help get myself some writing credit, but all that's come of that are two rejections, one submission in which I haven't heard back from in over a year, two partially-completed stories, and a bunch of ideas I've yet to even begin. I don't think I've ever felt so ashamed about something I claimed was my passion. The rejections are to be expected; it's a part of submitting, and I'm not bummed about that (as much). The rest, however... All those ideas I had? Until it's written down, an idea is just an idea, not a story, and I should have more written by now. How can it be a passion if I'm not working at it? It's not for a lack of opportunities, and I think that's what's frustrating me the most. I look around at various open calls for submissions both in this fandom and in others, and mere months ago I saw them as opportunities. I saw the themes for the anthologies, and within minutes ideas were springing up like a garden. But now? They're still just ideas, the deadlines have passed, and when I look back at the submission pages I feel deep regret for procrastinating.
I don't have any excuse for this. In the past I've had no problem writing out stories when commissioned, and even fanfic ideas became written-out stories in a matter of weeks. Or get this... Not too long ago I wrote out a two-and-a-half-page mini story on a whim, so I know I have the ability. I'm not going to try and analyze what's going on here. I know I'm procrastinating. In fact, I specifically remember years ago when I wrote a journal telling of all these great ideas and awesome characters I saw by various artists, and lamented the fact that in spite of all the pictures, there was no solid story (as in a book or comic) that came from them. I all but swore never to let that happen to my characters and ideas, yet here I am now... a gallery full of diverse characters, but all I have for reading material, solid stories, are a couple of snippets in their descriptions and an occasional short story. I've become just like those creators, and I feel I've let down not only myself, but you watchers as well. I need to get back on track with writing, and I've been mulling over one way to do it.
I think it's time I try something a little different than my initial plan of submitting Auran Connection first. You all probably recognize it as the one featuring my R-Force crew such as Voltage and Rain Dancer (who will be getting a codename change). I'd been developing that story the longest and had so much material built around it that for the longest time I expected that to be my debut, but I think it's gonna be a bit of a hard sell for a first-time author due to its length, complexity, and the fact that so much of it needs revising. Auran Legend, on the other hand, seems perfect for it. That's the one set in ancient times, featuring Akosha and Ri'kinto, and the same setting as Khalil and other Auran Sages. While I have a lot of confidence in Connection, Legend can easily be a self-contained story, set in a world so far from the other that it doesn't need to be aided by a previous work. Furthermore, Legend has both fewer characters to follow and a bit less complex of a setting. Plus, its length is about 10,000 words short of the "sweet spot" for ideal novel length; a gap I can easily fill with some added world-introduction material borrowed from Connection and a couple of Mikaou's character-developing stories (he's a bard, after all). It's kinda strange looking at it as a first publicly-shown story set in this world I've created. It takes place thousands of years prior to Connection. My original intent was to have it sort of like the separation between Star Wars and Knights of the Old Republic; a way to show what the world was like when these mystical beings were in their prime, after already having been introduced by tales from a modern period. Debuting Legend first, it will instead be like asking "what would these mystical beings be like in the modern world?" Legend's first draft was completed and edited months ago. It's been too long since I've come back to it to finish those edits.
As for the short stories? I have a few more being prepared. One of them has already gone through its second major revision and will likely be ready to submit soon. The others I can work on when I'm not doing Legend's extension. I'm actually coming up with numerous story ideas I can submit aside from the Auran series. I think it's time to stop looking at them as one-paragraph synopses on my "idea list" and start looking at them as completed works, which will only happen when I decide to stop letting myself get distracted and start getting them written. For once I'd like to actually talk about my stories and have you all actually know what I'm talking about when I discuss characters and plot points!
Okay... sorry if my rant sounded a bit depressing. I'll try and make my actual birthday post next week be more upbeat. Let's make that a goal, shall we? I commit to making some actual progress, and that way I'll have something positive to mention to everyone when I finally hit 31 ^_^