Sunday, May 08, 2005

Times, They Are A Changing

I am no longer going to post daily reviews.

There. In good journalistic fashion I have placed the most important sentence in the story at the top. Now for the explanation.

There are two major reasons for this. The first is burnout, I guess. When I first started this reviewing gig it was fun. I enjoyed dissecting the stories and discovering why I enjoyed them and, especially, why I didn’t. I thought that it might give me more insight into my own writing. More on that later.

Since December 3, 2004, I have written over 140 postings, the vast majority of which are reviews. Lately writing reviews has seemed more like work than play, more so this last week than ever. I kept thinking, “Just get through this week, then think it over.” Finally, as Candace noted, I couldn’t even get through the week.

Also lately I’ve felt that my reviews haven’t been quite up to snuff, at least in my own eyes. I think I’ve overdone it, and I need to recharge my batteries.

The second reason for this course of action is the fact that my fiction writing has practically halted during this time. More than one person whose opinion I respect has told me that they believe my fiction writing has suffered because of the blog. My aim is to become a well-known writer of fiction, not a well-known critic. I have to recognize my priorities.

In the year prior to starting “the short of it” I finished twelve short stories. Since December of last year I have finished one, “Moby Dick In A Can.” A pretty good one, if I do say so myself, but still. As I mentioned above, one of the reasons I started reviewing was to strengthen my own writing. Since I haven’t written much of anything other than reviews I can’t say if that goal has been achieved.

I do know that when I go back and read my published stories I cringe. I do know that I have been trying to revise one of the stories I wrote last year for three months without feeling that it’s yet good enough to submit. I’ve about come to the conclusion that it’s time to let it go and let the cards fall where they may. I’ve got to give my internal critic a good kick in the ass and tell him to lighten up. I don’t think I can do that while writing daily reviews.

Reading for reviews takes more time and intellectual effort than simply reading for pleasure. Often I will read a story two or three times, think about it for a while, then write the review. When I’m done, I’m tired. It’s time to get back to reading for pleasure for a while.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do any more reviews, but I’m only going to review stories that I think are particularly good or exceptionally bad. That means that the appearance of those reviews will be erratic, on no particular schedule.

I also intend to do the occasional author interview, the operative word being “occasional”. I wanted to do more of those before now, but it seemed that the pressure (completely self-imposed, I now realize) to churn out the reviews kept me from taking the time to do the proper research I felt needed to be done before I contacted the author.

I’m also hoping that this lack of pressure will allow me to post more of my musings on the short story form. But again, on a very occasional basis.

I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, all the people who have been regular, or even erratic, readers of this blog. You have made it a success beyond my wildest dreams. Thank you all, more than I can say.

I would appreciate it if you would keep my RSS feed in your aggregator so that you don’t miss the times when I post in the future. I promise to try to make it worth your while.

In short, this blog is not going away, it’s just going to get more irregular. Thanks again.