Copper Prawn!

I’m a copper prawn!

All right. Here. Let this chart explain it:

What does this mean?

Basically, it means that I’m working hard. I’m a pastor, and we’re in Lent, the lead-up to Easter. My ministry load is literally double the normal amount. However, I’m pushing out an average of 2000 words a day. Some days are more, enough that I’ve been able to take a day off writing here and there and still keep up my writing average.

That’s the part I control. Yes, things come up, but by prioritizing writing, by taking it as a job, I can consistently write a fair amount.

But the other column there… that’s a lot harder. I don’t control that at all. I can market. I can provide a good product. I can write and write and write, but I cannot control who purchases my work.

And to be honest: I’m often not a prawn. That column fluctuates widely for me. Some months I’m lucky to be algae. The most I’ve ever been is a prawn. Maybe 2021 is the year I’ll make lobster, or even trout! For now, though, income from writing is inconsistent at best.

That chart is handy for me, personally. It gives me a goal to shoot for. But I want to tell you what it’s not:

It doesn’t mean you’re an author. It doesn’t mean you’re a “level 2 writer/barbarian.” It doesn’t validate you in any way. All it does is provide a handy way for you to judge you. The only person you’re competing against is you.

Today you’re a glass algae? Set a goal. By the end of 2021, you could be a quartz algae!

For me, I’m content in being copper. I’d like to be a more consistent prawn. Maybe I could be a brass prawn? Maybe once this lead-up to Easter is done. Maybe over the summer, when my ministry usually relaxes a bit, I could even be a steel prawn. That would be amazing!

I know I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: As you set goals, remember what you control and what you don’t control. My goals for 2021 were to have 20 short stories out for submission, and to have written 2 novels. My short story count fluctuates; right now, I’m at 15 stories out. I’m about halfway through the first novel of the year. That word count is important!

I also set a goal of being published 10 times in 2021, but I also knew I don’t control that. All I can do is control the quality and quantity of my output.

So today I’m a copper prawn. Tomorrow? My species and metal could change. So be it.

How about you? What are you made of? What sealife are you? And what goals have you set for yourself?

The Ego Shelf Grows

Sometimes I just need to stare at it. It doesn’t feel real, you know?

But it is.

Look at it. That’s my ego shelf.

I didn’t come up with that title. I don’t remember where I first saw it, so don’t give me any credit. I’m not taking it! An ego shelf is the place where a writer can put all his or her published fiction. And that’s mine. Nearly all those books are anthologies. I’ve got at least one story in each of those. The last two little books are novels that my wife edited, so they belong on our family ego shelf. (Also, check out H. K. Devonshire’s work if you’re into westerns or good science fiction!)

And that last big, thick book… that’s The Keeper of Tales.

It comes out Monday, available for order in physical copies, as well as for download onto your Kindle. You should check it out. It’s a story about stories. Tales are alive. They will be told. There’s a great review right here.

But here’s the funny thing:

I’m not content.

Continue reading “The Ego Shelf Grows”

It’s got a maaaaaaaaaaaaap…

When you enter the guestroom in our house, you will see three things:

  1. A bed
  2. Shelves of books
  3. Maps

The bed is so you can, in theory, sleep. You can also read there. I’ve known one guest who watched some movies there. Basically, it’s a comfy area to be comfortable on.

The shelves of books are for comfort, too. There’s nothing quite so relaxing for me as being surrounded by all my friends. I’ve seen enough memes to know that I’m not alone in that. To gaze upon worlds bound in ink and paper is an amazing thing.

But the maps…?

Continue reading “It’s got a maaaaaaaaaaaaap…”

Jason J. McCuiston: The Man, the Myth, the Legend

Jason McCuiston writes stories that will keep you up until tomorrow you will hate today you. But that’s too bad. You need to finish the story. His initials are also pretty nifty.

I’ve gotten to know him a little bit, and he’s a pretty cool guy. We’re into some of the same stuff — writing, fantasy, science fiction, comics — and oddly enough he lives in a city the same name of my city, though in a different state!

On March 1, his next book, The Last Star Warden, Volume 1 will be released from Dark Owl Publishing. Jason was kind enough to answer some questions!

If I were to meet you on the street, would I immediately say, “Now there’s a guy who looks like a deranged writer”?

Deranged, certainly. As for writer, possibly as you are also one. We can sense our own kind, but the vast majority of folks would think I’m simply an aging nerd or jock stuck forever in the fashion of the 1990s.

Continue reading “Jason J. McCuiston: The Man, the Myth, the Legend”