by Michael Seese
It's been a while since I've "written about writing." I truthfully don't feel as though my writing is in a rut. But I have developed a certain routine. I have several novel-length works in progress that I try to make progress on. Then I occasionally get "sidetracked" to either polish a completed novel, or work on a short story.
Last month I sort of did both.
I'd spent the early part of the month expanding a Middle Grade book I had written a year or two back, trying to take it from 11,000 words (which I learned is too short) to 20,000 words (which I learned is about right) based on an agent's feedback.
But in the back of my mind, I had the Nelson Algren contest. Each year, the Chicago Tribune sponsors a short story contest in Algren's name. I entered two years ago, then somehow forgot about it last year.
This year (though technically in calendar year 2015) I resolved to submit something for 2016. I came up with the idea... over the summer, perhaps. I'd jot down little drabbles here and there. But I couldn't seem to find the unifying voice to keep it all together. Suddenly it was January, and the aforementioned MG book had my attention.
But I resolved to spend the last week-plus before the contest -- the due date was 1/31 -- on the piece.
Then life got in the way that week, and I couldn't garner the time to focus on it. When I went to bed Thursday night (bear in mind, it was due Sunday; but with the kids, it's hard to write on weekends) I'd all but resigned myself to having to pass this year.
When I woke up Friday morning, feeling guilty over my slacker attitude, I shook it off and said, "Damn it! You're a writer! So write it."
I knuckled down, and started wording away.
When I made my "Damn it" resolution, I figured I could get in a big chunk of writing Sunday night. Then I realized that my wife and I were going to the Jake Shimabukuro concert.
(Quick aside: if you have a few minutes watch the video. You won't be disappointed.)
Great! But bummer!
The show started at 7:00. So we were home by 10:00. The deadline was three hours away, since it was due by 11:59 CST.
I finished with literally five minutes to spare.
Is it good? I don't know. Will it win? I really don't know.
But the point is...
Damn it! I'm a writer! And I wrote it.