The Burden of Creativity (Writing Update)

Sometimes (read: most of the time) I wish creating things didn't matter so much to me. I wish I could just come home from work, flop down on the couch, and stuff my face with Cheetos while falling asleep to Parks and Rec. But I'm just not wired that way. Putting off writing might make me happy for a night, but in the long run it leaves me feeling empty. At the end of my life, I don't want to look back on my accomplishments and see nothing but a cracked wasteland with a lone vulture circling the desiccated remains of my unfinished drafts.

In that vein, I don't know how much longer I'll continue to post these updates. They started as a way to keep me accountable for what I read and write each month, but now they feel pitifully narcissistic. This might mean that the frequency of my more substantive posts will decrease. Or it might just force me to get off my ass (figuratively) and write about other things for a change (albums I'm listening to, shows I'm watching, interesting shapes I'm finding in my navel hair).


Writing update for August:

Last month was almost completely taken up by the Project-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named. I wish I could share more details, but I'm just not ready to (yet). Hopefully in November.

I also worked on A RAVENING FIRE. Some parts of the novel are starting to look pretty good. Other parts still need a ton of work. But as I keep reminding myself, it takes the time it takes.

Writing goals for September:

I recently received a nice rejection for A SMUDGED AND CROOKED LINE, so I'm revising it again before sending it back out for submission. Once that's done, I'll dive back into A RAVENING FIRE.


Books read/listened to in August:

I didn't think it was possible, but August ended up being even crazier than July, and I did a piss-poor job of staying on top of my reading.

  • THE MIRROR EMPIRE by Kameron Hurley. I'll be honest, I didn't finish this one. This was a tough decision for me. I hate abandoning books in the middle. Also, I really like Kameron Hurley as a person. Her essay We Have Always Fought is brilliant. But I read THE MIRROR EMPIRE on and off for the better part of two months, and barely made it halfway through. I don't know what happened. By all accounts, I should have loved it. Then again, I'm in a pretty weird place these days. I'll probably give it another try at some point.
     
  • THE BONE CLOCKS by David Mitchell (audiobook). I still haven't gotten around to CLOUD ATLAS, but enough people have raved about THE BONE CLOCKS that I decided to give it a read (listen) first. It hooked me right away, though I did feel like it dragged on a little toward the end (the final sequence made the whole story feel a bit anticlimactic for my tastes). I understand why he chose to end it the way he did, it just didn't quite work for me. Overall though, I liked the book, and would definitely recommend it.

[Ugh...I didn't even make it through two books last month? That's pretty terrible.]

Reading/listening list for September:

  • A STRANGER IN OLONDRIA by Sofia Samatar.
  • SHADOWSHAPER by Daniel José Older.
  • CITY OF STAIRS by Robert Jackson Bennett (audiobook).
  • BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
  • THE PERSIANS by Homa Katouzian. (Still working my way through this one as part of ongoing research for GARDEN OF THE STARS.)

All right, I think that's plenty. I'm off to gaze at my navel and scarf some Cheetos.

-Peter