Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

[process] A little regret, like spice, to flavor the day

A little bit of career weirdness is staring me in the face. Not counting "The Baby Killers" (which was a special case), I believe I have written two spec stories in the past year. According to my records, I've written 19 short stories since the beginning of 2007, 17 of which were invited. Not all of those sold, and so they became spec inventory, of which I am at my lowest level in many years.

Since I first began trying to work professionally, I've always defined myself as a short story writer. The novelist angle has unfolded slowly, but it still feels new. The more I do in novels, the more I compromise my short story work. I have no Year's Best appearances this year for the first time in a while, for example. (I am petty enough that this bothers me.) The sheer irrational exuberance of playing in the short form without any market expectations is a rare treat rather than a weekly pleasure.

Am I complaining? Um, no. I no haz teh stoopid. But just like career progress means trading up to a better class of problems, it also means trading away some of your mainstays. The key here is trade — the pleasures of book length fiction are much clearer to me now. The little squee at a quiet invitation to an upcoming project hasn't faded.

This is a funny journey. Sometimes I find myself regretting the oddest things. Like inventory depletion.
Tags: personal, process, writing
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