Paving the road ahead for the unemployed writer…

This is my fourth day of ‘unemployment’ if you only count working days. Pushing through the haze and rush of sleeping in, Emerging Writers’ Festival sessions and a few other things, I’ve actually done a little bit of writing but am aware all this time can get away from me, run off with video games, and Facebook, and Twitter, and more sleeping.

I need a plan!

…or at least I need to set out what I want or plan to do in the next few months. I’ve worked out my redundancy can probably last me until I get back from my three week holiday in Turkey at the end of August, if I’m smart. I’ve basically got two months at my disposal, to make the most of, before about a week at the Byron Bay Writers Festival and Turkey.

  • Freelance projects – There are a few writing and web design projects, some paid, some unpaid, that have been thrown in my lap that I plan to do. Some of the paid gigs will hopefully assist me in pushing my need to get a job back for longer. This includes writing for an exhibition on refugees, redesigning the Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) website, and another paid web design gig.
  • Farewell to the Cubicle: a spoken word show – I’ve been given a feature slot at the regular Passionate Tongues poetry gig at The Brunswick Hotel. On Monday, July 4, I’ll present all of my boss, work and office poems as a farewell to my job, including a heap of pieces I wrote after I was told I was being made redundant. I’ll need to put together a set list of two 15 minute slots, memorise some of the pieces, promote the gig, get together set and props for some pieces as well as a few other odd jobs.
  • The Red Pen II – The second issue of my zine, The Red Pen, has been a long time coming so unemployment ought to give me enough time to actually begin to work on it, hopefully finish it, print it and launch it, or at least set a launch date. It will be dedicated to a comrade that lost her life in the Oklahoma tornadoes and include some of her poetry.
  • Short fiction and poetry submissions – amongst all these major projects, I’d like to still keep working on short fiction and poetry pieces to submit to various journals and other markets. It’ll be hard to kind of bind these all together and work out what to work on, so need to think more about this.

The ideal plan now is that when I get back from Turkey I have some funding or support in some way to work solely on Capital Comes Dripping, my collection of Marxist horror fiction. I’ll be looking at grants and other forms of funding. Not sure how likely it would be for me to get ‘crowd-funded’ so that’s a long shot. Short of that, or any brilliant ideas, I might have to get a part-time or casual job.

The main thing is to finish off these major projects and get them out of the way whilst maintaining work on my own writing, with the end goal of having enough short fiction for a collection. For this, I’ll need to actually work myself into a routine, constantly write and rewrite to-do lists, make the most of my time and try not to procrastinate.

Upcoming writing projects…

It’s time to look at what projects I have ahead and what I’m focusing on. After last week’s shift, I announced my focus would be short stories and I made some changes to this blog. So in lieu of my monthly goals posts, I thought I’d spell out, more for myself, what that means as well as what other other projects I have ahead.

Short Stories
Last year my focus on short fiction happened under the banner of Capital Comes Dripping, an idea for a collection of ‘Marxist horror.’ I thought if I wrote stuff for that and sent it out to markets in the mean time, it would give me some focus. This will continue, but there are other outlets too. I have a few of those stories out in submission land, but am also looking at what pieces I need to give up on in favour of working on other pieces. I have some old stories that I’ve been meaning to edit or rewrite as well. I guess I need to take one piece at a time.

The other projects include an anthology on suicide awareness, Hope with Karen Lee Field, the 2011 Chinese Whisperings anthology and some pieces for Literary Mixtapes.

I’m also looking to write new stuff with much more of a focus on specific markets and opportunities such as themed editions of journals and themed anthologies. I missed out on a few of those last year.

Robbin’ Toorak and novels
I’m not sure if I’m going to continue with Robbin’ Toorak. I still kind of like the idea, but never finished that final scene in the first draft. I want to do that in the next few weeks and put it away in a drawer to rest. I may come back to it for a rewrite but I need to rethink the plot. I’ve been thinking about another novel, my unfinished NaNoWriMo novel from like 2006, called Going Postal. It has some overlap with Robbin’ Toorak so the two could kind of merge. This isn’t a focus though.

Poetry
Writing poetry, going around to open mic nights and gigs and reading my stuff feels very much removed from the rest of my writing. Different people, a different style and the rules around ‘self-publishing’ and related things feels different. After all, what is open mic other than aural self-publishing? It’s much more accepted though and there are venues you use to test out work that you later hone.

I’ll continue to do this and see where it goes. Though I’d like to submit to more poetry journals but the problem is around what works on the stage doesn’t necessarily work on the page and my confidence with editing poetry is much less.

The Red Pen #2
After the modest success of releasing The Red Pen #1, I’m beginning to look at issue two. It’s developing into a kind of writer’s group as well and I’m looking to refocus the zine and it’s aims to make it clearer to the audience, looking also at the theories around literature and art from a Marxist perspective and in some cases, applying it to the work published.

Write Anything and other non-fiction
I’ve been a reader and occasional guest writer for the writing blog Write Anything. And with the relaunch of the site this year, am taking on more of a regular role. My introduction post is coming out this month and I’ll be working with Annie Evett as my editor in writing posts for the site on the writing process, publishing and anything writing related really. I haven’t decided on any specific area of focus with that.

There are also numerous other outlets that I’ll likely be writing for such as; The Specusphere, working on a series of pieces on speculative fiction and politics; Ricochet Mag’s blog, working on pieces to do with emerging writers; as well as guest posts and reviews for various blogs when the opportunity arises.

It looks busy for me. The test will be to see how focused I stay on things, but I will keep you all updated on how things are going. You all keep me accountable.

Writing Projects: Late April Update

FoldersI intend to keep people updated on the status of my projects, though it might not be as regular as my writing goals posts that I post at the beginning of each month.

Capital Comes Dripping – the short story collection

I continue to work steadily on the pieces for this project and it’s at the forefront of my mind more than the other projects. As per my goals at the beginning of the month, I’ve finished Chapter Three of All Fascists are Zombies! – as well as submitting Evicted and My Boss Sucks out yesterday and today.

I’ve also begun work on the rewrite of An Abused Mind according the research I’ve done on homophobia and gay hate crimes. The story is so radically different that it could be considered a first draft.

Barbarism – the novel

I still haven’t touched this but last week another writer/editor asked about dystopian fiction from emerging writers and after some discussion, he wanted to read my first draft. It’s a 53,000 word first draft, which is unfinished and a NaNoWriMo first draft at that so it’s a bit of a gamble but perhaps someone reading it might spur me on to finish it.

The Red Pen – the zine

The Red Pen zine is my new project that I announced last week. My aim was to announce it and get discussion between contributors going which I can say has been a success. Now it’s time to get people moving on their pieces, as well as a piece of my own.

Sanity Juxtaposed – the unpublished collection

After some discussion here on this blog, I’ve decided to take the earlier work, my first short stories and poems, and section off that section of the collection into an ‘earlier work’ section with a little introduction.

Other than that, I’ve done nothing. I need to find a nice chunk of time to go through this blog and the old blog and pick out some pieces to include.

***

There might be some overlap between this post and when I report on April’s writing goals at the start of the month, but thinking about these updates and going through each project is really helping to focus.

Another thing I think I need to do is prioritise projects and work out which ones deserve more attention.

Writing: What Projects Am I Working On?

FoldersI’ve been sick the past couple of days, wasting time at home, and when I’m at home I tend to do less blogging, which is weird. Anyway, yesterday, in my boredom I managed to get moving on my novella again, All Fascists are Zombies!

I was partly inspired by Jeff Sparrow’s blog post comparing writing to work. Beginning to write again after a break hurts, especially those first few paragraphs, but I think I’ve pushed through it now.

So, thought it might be useful for myself (and maybe you too) if I updated everyone on the status of my projects.

Barbarism – The 2009 NaNoWriMo novel

I haven’t touched this since the first few days of December. It’s worrying that I’ve forgotten it. Coming back to it will become harder and harder the more I leave it. But I need to push myself to get some words down for it.

Sanity Juxtaposed – The Collection of Unpublished work from 2004 to 2009

A few weeks ago perhaps, I found someone to do my cover art for this minor project and after seeing the WIP of that last week, I feel like I need to give it more attention and upgrade it to a major project. I’m keeping details of this under-wraps because it’s just too exciting ;)

I’m thinking of SJ like a band’s demo tape or EP and plan to sell it that way. The pieces being in chronological order will hopefully give the reader some impression of my progress as a writer over the years and a taste of my style. Hopefully the first few pieces aren’t sabotaging people’s willingness to give me a go though.

I have all the pieces from 2004 to 2008 but need to gather the 2009 pieces, mostly flash fiction but there’s a decision to be made about what’s going in this, and what good political stuff to keep for my other project, Capital Comes Dripping.

Capital Comes Dripping – The Collection of Marxist Horror

I think this is the project with the most attention at the moment, leaving me able to work on simultaneous parts of it, be it my novella or various short stories.

I’ve also thinking about adding some pages to this blog’s sidebar about ‘Marxist horror’ and what I mean by it in order to conceptualise what I want out of it.

  • All Fascists are Zombies! – the novella – Like I said before, I’ve begun working on AFAZ again and am in the middle of writing a second draft, this time with a nice outline using Scrivener. I’ve become a real fan of rewrites, honing the plot and characters with each draft.
  • My Boss Sucks – short story – I’ve been through so many edits of this. I think it’s time for another rewrite in light of learning more about the main character. I’m struggling to find a market for this piece though that might publish it before it’s added to the collection.
  • The Homophobe – a poem – I’ve submitted this out again after making some changes that really improved the flow. I’ve gotten some promising feedback and the results mean I’ll probably work on some more poetry for the collection too.
  • Evicted – flash fiction piece – I think this needs to be edited and submitted soon in order to get a feeling of what I need to do with it even if it gets rejected.
  • Other short stories – I’ve got a few other shorts and flash pieces in various stages, needing edits, complete rewrites or redrafts. The main ones being one about homophobia and another set in an abattoir, which both are niggling in my head every so often.

I think Capital Comes Dripping is going to be an ongoing project overtime and I plan to submit the various pieces as they’re written in order to give them some miles so to speak. And this will certainly be the main project throughout 2010.

I’ve got a lot on and I think it’s going to be very easy to forget about things so might make these ‘project updates’ semi-regular.

How do you juggle and organise your writing projects? Do you find this kind of update interesting or useful?