Joe Barlow Writes

Quirky Books for Quirky People–New Thoughts on Writing and Publishing in the Digital Frontier

Archives: December 2014

Reflections on 2014

Christmas flat

Happy holidays, everyone!

It’s the end of another year, and as usual, I find myself in a reflective mood. This year, that reflection is tinged with sadness and regret, because I dropped the ball in 2014. Not just once, but over and over again.

It’s been ages since I’ve updated this blog. That’s because I’ve had nothing of note to report. I made great strides on two novels early in 2014, then stopped running a few hundred yards before I crossed the finish line. Coffee to Die For, my first Clayton Gyler mystery, still isn’t finished, even though I’ve done three complete drafts. And don’t even get me started on the sequel, The Phantom of Mulberry Street. That’s even further from being done, although I do have a complete first draft.

What happened? Oh, the usual: crippling self-doubt, and unplanned detours into self-loathing. “Who do you think you are, Joe? No one cares about what you write. Sure, you can write non-fiction and technical copy just fine, but nobody’s interested in your characters.”

Stupid, right? Yeah, I know.

It’s the curse of the creator. Being a writer is a peculiar combination of arrogance (obviously we think our work is worth sharing, or we wouldn’t write it) and crippling insecurity (what if the world hates what we create?). It’s a contradiction that makes no sense, but it has utterly derailed me. Things got so bad that every time I thought about working on Coffee to Die For, I’d have a mini freak-out.

So I ended up doing nothing at all. Not blogging. Not starting a new project. Just basking in inertia, because that was easiest.

Well, enough.

Early this month I started a brand new project, and I’m happy to report that I completed the first draft yesterday. I wrote over 2,000 words each day, with the word count on the first draft totaling around 32,000. Novella length, basically. This was my Christmas present to myself.

I’ll tell you more about it soon. I’m very excited, because this isn’t just a new project; it’s a whole new way of storytelling that I’ve never tried before. Not a novel, and not truly a novella, despite the length. It’s its own thing, and I’m super proud of the concept behind it.

Watch this space. If you haven’t done so, please sign up for my mailing list over on the right, so you can be notified when I have more to share.

I’m looking forward to 2015. This year is going to be different; it’s going to be the year I take control of my life and make it work for me.

How about you?

-j.

P.S. Due to a recent influx of spam comments on the blog, I have temporarily disabled comments. Sorry about that. I hope we’ll be able to turn them back on soon. This is why we can’t have nice things.