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?

Boundaries for Writers and Their Families

“Do you need to leave the room to get writing done?” my wife asks, concerned. We’re currently sitting in a hotel room. Three of the kids are on their laptops at school meets. The baby is staring at my wife’s phone so she doesn’t disturb the others at school. I’m trying to get a little work done while everyone else is busy. My wife is concerned that I might be distracted.

Nah. I should be good. Everyone else is distracted right now, and I’m just going to quick type out a blog post. It requires concentration, but not the same level as creating worlds out of words.

So I open up the word processor to get to work. And then she sits down and starts talking at me.

None of it is bad, and all of it is stuff that we should really iron out before we have to leave the hotel for the day. But it’s also stuff that can wait a few minutes, and she was all good with me writing.

She just now leaned over and asked me to feel the cup her coffee is in. It’s made of recyclable paper.

And now I’m back to typing.

Continue reading “Boundaries for Writers and Their Families”

Rejections and Submissions

Woo! I’m an author!

Like, look at my Published Works page. I have allthestories there! So far ten published works, and more on the way! My first novel is at an editor to make the whole thing better, and then it’s off to a publisher – doesn’t mean the publisher’s going to, you know, publish it, but they’re willing to take a look, and that’s a good sign.

So, that means I’ve made it, right? Now I can just write and concentrate on crafting good stories.

Yeah. Not so much. Continue reading “Rejections and Submissions”

Shotgun Writer

man wearing jacket carrying a gun
Photo by Harrison Haines on

A friend and I chatted about writing. This friend of mine is amazing. He’s going for a doctorate while working full-time as a minister and serving his wife and kids. He’s also a writer.

I asked how his writing was going. This is something the two of us do on occasion to encourage or commiserate.

I’m going to paraphrase here, because my photographic memory is 8-bit, but he said something along the lines of, “If I took all the writing I did for my doctorate and everything and focused on just writing, I’d have a few books done by now!”

Oh, man, that one hit home. A lot. Continue reading “Shotgun Writer”

This is what I am now.

I’m beat. I’ve been beat all day.

The day previous to my writing this, I was in the hospital. Lung infection. It was grand, let me tell you.

Today I knew I wouldn’t get much done. And it’s true; I haven’t. In my “day job” I’m a minister. It’s still where I spend most of my time, and gratefully. I’ve been very blessed to serve where I am. However, that work requires a lot of time and energy. Writing a sermon is not a simple matter. Visiting hurting people can’t be done when you’re distracted. However, given that I’m in recovery, I wasn’t expecting to do a whole lot. And it’s true; I didn’t do a whole lot today.

Writing isn’t a simple matter, either. Creating worlds out of thoughts takes effort and energy and can leave a person exhausted. Which means I didn’t expect to do much writing today, either.

And yet, here I am. This post marks more than 2000 words written. Now, that’s not a great day of writing for me, but it’s a far cry from nothing!

And it reveals something to me: Continue reading “This is what I am now.”