Shifting Gears

December 16th, 2020:

This week didn’t beat me down or come with negative surprises, and that’s a welcome gift after the last few. The calm allowed a return to shifting my writing gears towards finishing and publishing novels and novelettes in the coming year. In support of that goal, I made a major decision over the weekend to cut my microfiction writing back from seven new pieces a week to two.

My micros have been a major aid in building my author brand and social media presence. They’ve taught me a lot, and I’ve become a better writer for crafting so many of them. But for the past three years they’ve also divided my creative attention and taken considerable effort for me to maintain daily. That pressure has stacked with my depression, anxiety, the struggles of 2020, and the pandemic this year. Often it has left me too drained to work on longer pieces, and I can’t let that continue. Long pieces like novels are my future as they generate income. No one is paying to read the micros.

Microfiction has enabled me to reach tens of thousands on social media and build a strong platform. I’m grateful for that, and I won’t be abandoning the format so much as reducing new output in the style. I have a back catalogue of micros that I can run daily for years without a repeat, and I will be utilizing that. However, to reach the next level from the place microfiction has gotten me to, my focus needs to be squarely on the writing I can market.

Looking at the remaining two and a half weeks of the year peppered with holidays and time-off, I decided to put that focus on my novelette, Tears of the Joyous Mare. My initial plan was to restart work on my novel A Contract in Azure and Indigo first, but Tears is only a few pages of writing and revision away from a new draft. Given the many interruptions late December has, I think finishing Tears’ new draft and editing it will be the more productive option. Azure is going to take many weeks to finish. Restarting my efforts to complete that story after months of hiatus, between staggered days of interruptions, will be hindering.

The revision of Tears, on the other hand, can be worked on between holidays and have a good chance of a beta reader ready draft before the new year. As I’ve decided, after a lot of research, to invest in a pair of powerful editing tools called AutoCrit and ProWritingAid, this will also grant me an excellent opportunity to explore and learn that new software with a sub-novel length piece. Because it’s short, if I get Tears out to beta readers before I renew work on Azure, it’s possible that I could incorporate their feedback and publish it by early spring or sooner. The faster I can get some new revenue coming in with new releases, the better.

AutoCrit and ProWritingAid are a pricey business expense at a time when our budget is tight, and the funds aren’t there to pay for editing or even cover art. Yet the tools are well reviewed by many, and frequently attested as the next best thing to a flesh-and-blood editor. While I’m not expecting the miraculous, I know that I’m at least an adequate self-editor. Given the yearly cost of the software is a third of what I’d be paying a decent editor to work on one book, I think it’s a worthwhile investment. At the very least, they will be good tools to proof and cleanup my drafts with.

Take care everyone. Be safe, and keep writing!

~Jason H. Abbott

3 thoughts on “Shifting Gears

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  1. I think you’re right to re-use your existing material. Maybe create new graphics, if you have time, to keep things fresh?

    But working on Tears is a solid decision. Under the circumstances of this year, being able to finish something and have that success will lift you up much more than being at the start of a lengthy project.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Deby. A funny thing I’ve learned about the micros: Graphics don’t matter with them. They usually do better without art, or just as well as if I’d put in the time to find or create nice art to accompany them. There’s no return on my effort to make it worthwhile, so I switched to the generic placards for them on the blog.

      I did get a novelette done this year in “The Forever Halloween”, so there’s that if nothing else. :-) It doesn’t seem like it will require a lot of revision before release so far, but with “Halloween” in the title it would be self-sabotage to release it at any other time than the fall. But Tears could be released anytime once done, and it shares much of the same style (fantasy-mystery-romance) and setting as Azure does. It stands on its own, but could act as a novelette booster and gateway for the novel that will proceed it. Another good reason to shuffle things like I am, I hope!

      Liked by 1 person

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