Friday, May 15, 2015

Writing, College, Change, and Selling My Soul to the Devil

(I'll explain that title, I promise.)

I've been silent on this blog for several months now, and I feel that I owe you a bit of an explanation: I'm soaking up my last few weeks in West Africa.

Yes, you did read that correctly—the four awful letters of "last."  Come June, I'll be leaving Liberia and venturing out on my own into the great uncivilized wilderness of America's higher education system.  The college in question is Abilene Christian University, a school in Abilene Texas.  While I'm not fond of Texas, it's a wonderful college.

What does this mean for my writing and my blog, you ask?  (Okay, maybe you're not asking that.  But I'm going to tell you anyway.)

Regardless of what happens, I'm going to keep writing.  The going has been slow, admittedly; my current project has been languishing at nine thousand words since last November, and the outline is hardly faring better.

However, I have big hopes for what I can accomplish this summer and this fall.

My fantasy epic, A Swiftly Moving River, is still tugging on my heart.  A third draft is in order, as soon as I can get to it.  It's one of the most important stories I've ever written, and I'm determined to beat it into shape.

My current writing project is something I'm really excited about.  Chromeheads, a science fantasy time travel murder mystery, recently won Second Place at Kingdom Pen's "Begin Your Novel" contest.  I've got something really, really cool on my hands, and I can't wait to dive into it in earnest.  (The last time I worked on it was a ten thousand word vomit during the last week of NaNoWriMo.)  Plus, I have motivation: I need to have it at least partially done for this year's OYAN Summer Workshop.

And finally, I have a memoir I wrote last November.  I honestly don't know what to do with it.  It's forty thousand messy words, an outpouring of my heart, an examination of how Liberia's Ebola outbreak affected me, as a missionary kid.  It's bittersweet and raw.  It desperately needs a revision.  But after that?  I have no idea.

Moving on from writing—I'm also hoping to get things done with this blog.  It's in need of some upkeep; I used to average several posts a week, and now, I'm lucky if I write one post a month.

Some of it is uncertainty on where to take this blog.  Back when I was young and—let's face it—a bit of a know-it-all, I wrote authoritatively about writing, giving tips, tricks, and tools of the trade.  But the older I get, the less I feel like I really know about writing.  How authoritatively can I write, when I'm struggling to patch holes in my novel that should have been fixed two years ago?

I'm a better writer than I was two years ago, but I'm a humbler teacher.  I know that I know less than I thought I knew, if that makes sense.

The core of what I want to do is the same: to have this blog be a place where we can come learn together through the bumps I've found on my own writing path.  And, of course, so I can chat with you guys about my writing projects, and your own.

But I think that's going to take some change.  I'm not going to be a "Teenage Writer" much longer. And, while I want to keep the informal feel of this blog, I also want to smooth over the rougher edges that come with being an amateur blogger.

So my idea is to begin to set up a new site, with an actual domain.  I'm not sure when this will happen, honestly, but it's buried somewhere on my to-do list.  I'll keep you posted; this blog won't just disappear!  And I'll try to keep it updated in the meantime.

Finally, a little bit of round-up.  I may be offering editing and critiquing services in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled.  I'll post as soon as I know for sure.  In the meantime, I've added a poll on the sidebar about it—would you take advantage of such services if I offered them at a reasonable price?  (And it's totally okay if you say no.  Writing is hardly lucrative work, and most of us are dead broke.)

One last thing.  I'm probably going to put up one or two discreet advertisements.  I apologize for selling my soul to the devil.

Till next time, guys.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these changes; leave a comment or shoot me an email.  Adieu!