I’m not entirely sure where my desire to write short fiction fell off a cliff, but one day it simply did.
I had a reading a week ago and I was all set to write something new for it…until I didn’t. It wasn’t for lack of an idea or energy. I just didn’t want to write a short story. The very idea was fucking repugnant. It made me grumpy, even slightly depressed. I mean, I was amped to do a reading and see peers I really missed over the past two and a half years, but I also didn’t want to write something short.
And it’s not that I’m averse to short stories. Still love reading them. Still love fanboying over writers who do so much with so few words.
I think I just don’t necessarily love writing shorts anymore.
I often wonder if the main reason is money or hubris. There’s simply no path to being paid what I believe I’m worth as a short story writer. There are plenty of publications and projects, but I’ve found the idea of writing for free or exposure to be incredibly regressive for me? But I feel guilty about that. Like I’m turning up my nose at something I still enjoy. At the same time, I’m not as thirsty for immediate validation of my writing anymore. I care that people enjoy what I put out and have actually paid (maniacs) for it, but I’m also not worried that I need to necessarily chase that dragon either. Is that hubris? I’m not sure.
The other reason might be better: I’m simply so much more comfortable with myself as a novelist. Hell, not just comfortable, I’m CONFIDENT. I don’t see the same obstacles I used to that once convinced me I didn’t have the chops to take a concept and carry it all the way to 80K+ words in a satisfying manner.
Maybe it is hubris. Who the fuck knows? That I’m overthinking this and literally feeling bad about not wanting to do a thing nobody is asking me to do is fucking weird and I know I’ll obsess about this for the next few weeks, so yay.
I used to get this really good envy whenever I read an excellent short story. This spark that made me say, “I can do that.” or “I think I can really enhance this aspect of the concept.” and while I still get inklings of that, I see myself thinking of the outline instead, of how to take these ideas and build them out to something sprawling. Sometimes it feels like my brain’s finally caught up with my mouth, to be honest.
Just thoughts on where I’ve been lately with writing. And it should be said: these are my experiences. There are plenty of folks killing it on the short fic scene in incredible ways I couldn’t touch for all their own valid reasons.
I just think I need a break.