Exactly that. It's challenging. What is? Writing is. Now you can take that comment at face value. You might think, "hell, I could write a little poem or something." Which is all well and good - if you're going to do that as a one-off. But to take to the keyboard time and again and transform blank pages into compelling stories, haunting stories, eerie stories, even terrifying tales? Yep. It's challenging. I'm not bemoaning it, none of it. I love what I do. I'm just stating a fact here. It's challenging. Right now, there are two things on the writing front that are challenging. One is placing my first novella. Two is completing the This Is Horror challenge, 'A Story A Week', where all ye who enter (and hopefully don't abandon hope) are required to knock out a story a week every week for 2017. Simply put, they need to knock out 52 stories this year. Luckily there's some flexibility in this challenge, in that while it's called, 'A Story A Week', it just means that 52 stories need to be complete. As such, people like me can get to knocking out more than one story a week. So I'm aiming to get at least two done a week. I'm not always clear on best practice from the off, but as I've gone through the challenge, it's occurred to me that I can knock out stories that much faster and finish the challenge that much faster. At this point, it's not an issue of if I'll beat the challenge. I know I will. It's a question of when. And for me, the sooner the better. Why? Because I still want to work on long(er) fiction. Ideally, I'll have 52 short stories done by the end of June at the latest. The sooner the better, to be honest.
Currently I've done 14, with a couple of haikus in there. Story 15 is mentally outlined and already researched, ready to go before the week is out. For most stories I write, if not all of them, I like to get them down in one take. I dont' stop to clean up typos and such, so this does mean that the real first draft is littered with that shit. The most important thing is that, no matter how shoddy it might look, there is a first draft. Once the draft is complete, then I can go back and tighten the grammar, punctuation and such. One thing I've seen with the challenge is that the muse is actually having to work a little harder to give me something to write about - since I don't want to write 'filler' just for the sake of beating the challenge. The muse grumbles and pouts about having to get off her ass and work. I tell her to work it for me. Yes. In writing faster, it takes me more time to craft an idea. At my usual pace, I get ideas faster than I can write them, but then, my speed is more like a short story a month. Given that I - at least for now - prefer to focus on novels and novellas, that means even less short stories. Plus, I already have a fair back catalogue of short stories to fall back on. Now that back catalogue is getting bigger. It'll get bigger faster as I work flat-out to get my 52 in, and get back to writing longer fiction. Still, it's not all bad. There've been 3 anthology invitations, for which two have an acceptance, with one of those signed on the dotted line, so to speak. All at various points during the year, so more news on those as release dates draw near.
Of course, there's still plenty of work to do.