There are times where I truly feel like the old Far Side cartoon called "How To Blow A Fisherman's Mind", in which you have a fisherman paralyzed with inaction 'cause the eternal question "Fish or cut bait?" is racing through his head.
Well, if you substitute fisherman with writer and add one more item to the equation, you pretty much get the dilemma I currently find myself in.
"Write, or submit short story? Write or submit novel?"
Considering that I'm pretty good at multi-tasking, this should be ridiculously simple for me to execute, right?
1}Write! This should be a no-brainer as the current project that I'm working on, I actually like working on because I'm seeing a wealth of possibilities not only with this story (of which I have about 25K words written), but possibly connecting another story with it as well. So even though I'm gung ho about working on it, I can't help but feel a little guilty about working on it.
I mean, as I'm writing it, I have this little nagging doubt in the back of my head that I really should be concentrating more on submitting my work for publication and less on writing even though most people say you should keep on writing while you're waiting to hear back on your submissions. So I frequently stop my writing to work on my submissions.
2}Short Story Submission! Okay, this one is also a no-brainer in that the more stories I can get published, the more writing credits I can show when I query my novel. However the problem now becomes trying to find a proper home for my short stories. Why is this a problem?
Well, it's a problem simply because most of my short stories defy easy classification and instead get lumped into the catch-all genre called "Quirky" (see the links for both of my published short stories as prime examples of this quirkiness).
Now if you take the fact that most of my remaining completed short stories fall into the "Quirky" label and couple that with the fact that I loathe doing research for appropriate markets, you can easily see why this is turning into a problem. Eventually I put this aside and turn my attention to the next thorny problem.
3}Novel Submission! This one should also be a no-brainer, but as I've mentioned over the years on this blog, I have a problem with the glacial response of the publishing industry as it pertains to queries. I also have the underlying problem of trying to properly define exactly what genre my current novel falls under. The initial classification I thought it fell under (Erotica), turned out to be an erroneous assumption. So thus I have to re-tool the query process by refocusing on what kind of publisher and/or agents I should tackler.
This also raises the question of how many queries should I have out there to begin with. I mean, how many is too many? Eventually I do stop working on this issue simply because I find it to be rather large hill that I'm too tired to climb anymore and thus I revert back to working on question #1.
However, working on writing does conveniently neglect and push to the side the issue of become a bigger success than I already am. On the surface, I'm overjoyed about the fact that I have two short stories published and that I'm a moderately successful blogger.
But then I'm always asking myself, "Do I want more?"
And the problem is that my answer winds up being the ultimate waffle.
"Do I continue to write for the pure pleasure of it or do I submit in order to better myself?"