Writing Through a Lull

Time for a report on my writing projects.

It turns out that things can not move forward swiftly all the time, especially when publishers, magazines and editors get involved. That’s why I haven’t published anything since The Library of Lost Books in July. But although the editors haven’t green lighted anything yet, I’ve kept writing and wanted to share where my projects are at.

  • I am still waiting to hear back on a SciFi short story. I sent it to a magazine that’s undergoing some management changes, so it’s been held up for some time. This has been frustrating, but it’s a good story and a really good mag, so I’m willing to be patient and see what happens.
  • I have a fantasy short (7,500 words) story pretty much done and ready to submit.
  • I have finished draft one of a historical fiction novella (18,000  words). It’s not speculative history (i.e., the Nazis developed the atomic bomb and won WWII), but a fictionalized retelling of a familiar story. I’m excited about this one, as it’s my first foray into historical fiction.

To sum up, although there’s a lull on the publishing side, the writing side is moving forward. Which is just the way one of my heroes, Epictetus, would have liked it. 

I hope to write more about Epictetus, but the central idea of all his work was that excellence (arête, see Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Plutarch’s Lives, etc. for the ancient Greek concept) comes not through outwards signs and awards, but through doing our best. The universe’s role is to play itself out, to continue to function according to the laws of Logos (what we might call Reason) and Fate (what we might call Chance). The individual’s role is to play his part bravely and well, no matter what the universe throws his way. To be the best soldier, the best wrestler, the best doctor, the best trumpet player, the best friend, the best father that one can be (with the caveat that each person and creature does the best with the body and abilities they were endowed with by nature). As Epictetus put it (Discourses, Book II, Chapter 5):

Therefore Socrates well understood playing at ball… And what was the ball he had to play with? Life, chains, exile, a draught of poison, separation from a wife, and leaving his children orphans. These were what he had to play with; and yet he did play, and threw the ball with address. Thus we should be careful as to the play, but indifferent as to the ball.


So, the ball may not be dropping my way,  but I’m going to keep playing the game. The short story will be off to magazines soon. And the novella should follow fairly soon thereafter—whether a publisher picks it up or I have to publish it on Kindle myself.

As always. Keep playing, keep pushing. Keep reading, keep writing. Until next time.

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