Beth Firestone and I just wrapped up our serial, "To the Edge of the Galaxy" in Aim! Magazine. It was a great experience...I learned a lot about writing by working with Beth, as she is a novelist (previously, I'd only published standalone pieces of 1400 words or less) and has spent much more time formally studying writing. She filled me in about creating a story arc, building character development and generally kept my writing coherent and funny. It was also great helping kick off a new magazine and developing a readership with them. We got fan mail! It was amazing knowing that kids out there were reading our work and LIKED it.
What is also great about writing a serial is that you have deadlines. If you don't meet them, there are real life consequences: angry editors, paychecks that don't come, readers who no longer trust you. I busily wrote several nights a week for about 6 months to keep "To the Edge of the Galaxy" on schedule with the printer. Now I have no one breathing down my neck about writing...and I'm not getting much done.
I have no shortage of ideas and writing projects to work on. In fact I have today's ideas and also the ideas I put off writing for the last 6 months because I was occupied with the serial. I think there are a few reasons for my lack of productivity:
1) No deadlines;
2) There are SO MANY ideas, and no editor telling me which one which one is a priority;
3) The lure of blogging.
Yes, blogging is taking over my writing life! I write this blog as well as another semi-private one, and I find that it is addictive. I've had to cut down to two nights a week (mostly). I LOVE checking the "Stats" and finding people are actually reading what I write! I love that I can't get a rejection letter. I can write what I want the way I want to without being judged by a senior editor or the marketing department!
But until you get THOUSANDS of page views weekly, blogging isn't a remunerative profession. And in the end, there's still no story (with illustrations!) in a glossy (inter)nationally-circulated magazine or an actual book on an actual shelf in an actual bookstore that people can actually buy (which is actually a delightful experience).
I think I'll be shutting down Google Chrome now and switching to Microsoft Word...