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I’m giving up!

For years, I’ve pushed toward a specific story, a specific series, and I’ve been trying to line everything up just right. It’s been the plan since, oh, 2015. It’s built around a business model that probably doesn’t work anymore (and we’re not even talking about the hot garbage that is LLM (the fake generative “AI” stuff so prevalent right now) generating content and vastly bloating certain publication spaces).

But it’s a sunk cost. You know, the thing you can’t abandon, because it’s already received so much time, effort, and attention.

Here’s the thing. I have this vision of what it will be like. I am excited by that vision. It’s a thing I do want to do.

It will have a cover to rival the great fantasy covers of my youth. It will have maps, like the ones that I loved as a kid. It will have traditional publishing perfection. And I’ll do it all myself (there’s a budget, folks, and it’s, um, basically zero dollars).

And Dad will get to read it. And Mom will get to read it. And they’ll love it, because fantasy, magic, and sailing ships. (They did, after all, live on a sailboat for a decade in retirement.)

In April 2014, I did Camp NaNoWriMo. I did a project that started this. I’ve been seriously working toward this since 2015. In fact, in 2015 is when I started the first big rewrites.

Mom died in 2016. Guess what, she’s not gonna read it. Her death, in fact, derailed the Camp NaNo I set aside to do the first draft of book three of Starsailors. I didn’t have a lot of happy writing energy that spring.

But that summer, my region did a real, physical writing retreat, and I managed to (finally!) have a solid rewrite of 1.3*. I thought I had forward momentum again. I even drafted a big chunk of a book 4 in 2017. And in 2018, because of Not Having A Job, I followed my wife around when she traveled for work, and I got some serious revision out of the way on 1.2 in particular.

(OK, quick note: the goal was each novel would be serialized as novellas, so book one is 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3, book two is 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, etc. [Book].[Novella]. It’s a fantasy space travel thing, so book 1 is the home planet, 2 is the moon, 3 is the Venus-like planet, 4 is the Mars-like planet.)

But I was running out of steam on the actual prose revision, plus, you know, critique, editing, covers, interior maps/illustrations, etc.

VERY slow progress, while my brain kept chasing other New Shiny Ideas (beware the New Shiny!): an urban fantasy idea, a magical espionage idea, a paranormal romance series, a fantasy conspiracy story… So frustrating.

Dad died in 2022, right as I’d basically handed 1.3 off to my critique partner.

At first, I was determined to drive through, but by the end of the year, the wind was entirely out of my sails.

I poked at stuff, I had great intentions for 2023, but it’s becalmed. And as it languishes, the goals for it grow. It’s past the point of being even vaguely reasonable.

So I’m giving up. Those goals are gone. This is not going to launch an awesome, sustainable, income-generating author career.

I’m not stopping, I’m just giving up all those expectations. I’m removing the hopes. I have a thing, it’s nearing the end of the beginning, and when it’s ready, it’ll be out in the world. Because it’s ready, and I want to share it. Not because I want it to launch anything.

I’m decoupling expectations. I’m giving them up.

Maybe it’ll be out in 2024, maybe not. But I’m not setting deadlines, and I have this other thing (to be talked about soon) as well.

And in the meantime, no longer burdened by this, I’ve found some joy in writing, again.

Happy writing!

Published inWriting