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Rant #10: In Which The Author's Gonna Make Some Changes

New calendar are always convenient, if arbitrary, cutoffs for "starting over", "making changes", and suchlike. That's why gym memberships go through the roof in January, and gyms are empty by February. It's why everyone makes such a big deal out of new year's resolutions, whatever they might be. There might be no tangible difference between December 31 and January 1 apart from the quality of the hangover (eggnog kicks like a son of a bitch, for those who've blissfully forgotten), but it provides the mind with something to push off against, an imaginary piece of resistance that works as well as a real one.

With that in mind, I've already mentally dubbed 2007 as "the year I stop screwing around" although, as you might have guessed, I didn't say "screwing". I am, as they say, out of excuses. I'm no longer a newbie or "just a game writer." I've sold an original novel with nary a whiff of tie-in in sight, and sold to anthologies and magazines. I know how to do this stuff now, and it's time to develop a little confidence in my work and my skill, and put the damn hammer down already.

When I was young, highly caffeinated, and quite possibly stupid, I had long stretches where I'd average up to 5000 words a night. This was great because A)I needed the money and I was being paid per word, B)it was all made-up and I didn't need any particular sort of life experience to write that particular material convincingly and C)it kept me off the streets so I wouldn't be spending money I wouldn't have if I didn't write every waking hour. These days, I can't do that, nor do I wish to. The things I want to write now require a little more life experience and a little more from the writer. I have other commitments now, other things that I need to do and a life to keep in equilibrium.

But I also have better tools than I had in those days, sharper and more precise ones. This is not to say I'm not pleased with or proud of that work - I am. That's not the point, though. The point is that I'm at a stage in my life and career where I either need to get serious about my writing and put all of this to good use, or make the conscious decision to be a dilettante, to write when the mood strikes and that's all.

So, in short, hell no. It's time to put the hammer down, nose to the grindstone, and whatever else wherever else the clichés say it has to be. Time to shut out the distractions and admit to myself that this is what I really want to do. That this is what I should be doing, and that, all chest-thumping aside, I seem to be pretty good at it.

I could be better, though. I will be better. Just got to make some changes around here.

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