I've developed a clear love/hate relationship with blogging lately. Most of the blogging I've done has been on technology issues over at my Off the Beaten Path in Technology site. But even there, I'm often unclear on what I'm doing.
The hate part of my relationship with blogging is that it encourages me to write in an undisciplined manner. Since I'm not under any editorial scrutiny I can fire off a half baked post at 10:30 at night and only be embarrassed about it in the morning. I can also start series articles which I never finish, and bounce from topic to topic without any particular end in mind.
The love part of the relationship springs from the same source as the hate part. There are no editors to tamper with, place deadlines on, or reject my work. I have complete control. If I wake up one morning and decide to write about some random neighborhood issue, or the weather, or go off on an Andy Rooney screed about the little square plastic things which hold bread packages closed I can do so.
Frankly, blogging isn't the worst waste of keystrokes in which to indulge myself. For several months I was an active participant on the various political banter forums and comment sections of websites. If I'd maintained the average daily word count working on my short fiction that I did in pointless circular arguments on Politico or the Huffington post, I'd have dozens of stories in various stages of the editorial pipes.
Which brings me to my point. I'm going to write a bit about my writing. I'll be retiring from my "day job" very soon. I'd always assumed that my primary source of income after leaving Dilbert World would be freelance computer programming. But a few months ago I asked myself the question, "What do you really enjoy at this point in your life?" The clear answer was writing. To some extent this has always been true.
Over the past few weeks I've prepared two works of short fiction. One is a sci-fi piece which I've submitted to Isaac Asimov Science Fiction Magazine. If it gets rejected by that publication I have a list of other publications queued up.
The second story I wrote specifically for a rather gimmicky contest in a writer's publication. The publication provides a fragmentary first line, and the writer prepares a very short story (1500 words) with that line as the beginning.
My story is about a deserter from the Roman army during the second Punic War, who steals one of Hannibal's elephants to escape across the Alps. His theory is that Hannibal and Fabius Maximus primarily care about where Hannibal is going, not where he's already been. It's funnier than it sounds in summary.
My goal is to submit one work per week, year round. That work might consist of a short story or a query letter to an editor proposing a non-fiction article. The nature of the work depends on the muse, but each week, either by mail or electronically I intend to officially shove something in the pipe for consideration. I'll post my progress here.