So, I submitted Far Flung to the BookLife Prize.

This post is an update to getting Far Flung, my sci-fi book long-in-progress, finally published. It should also help writers know more about the BookLife Prize, and what you’ll get for the entry fee (89 USD for me, after using a coupon). The draft I submitted stands at 50,000 words – my editing will extend that somewhat, but it will still be in that uncomfortable territory between “novella” and “novel” that is difficult to get published under the best conditions. I want to move ahead anyway, and I’m eyeing indie publishers in Canada and the US who don’t mind dealing with shorter books. Professional editing is too expensive for me to handle alone, so for now, I really don’t want to self-publish it. I also want somebody to help me with marketing, and I definitely won’t have that help if I publish it myself!

Anyway, on to what I actually got out of that entry fee. Far Flung did not place in the quarter or semi-finals of the contest, so the result is only a critics report (and a short one at that). Here is the report they gave:

Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10

Originality: 8 out of 10

Prose: 8 out of 10

Character/Execution: 8 out of 10

Overall: 8.00 out of 10


Plot: This exciting and well-developed sci-fi adventure sees a space vessel and crew stranded in an unknown galaxy.

Prose/Style: While this narrative occasionally becomes overly technical, which tends to somewhat slow the plot, the author ultimately crafts a believable world in an easy flowing manner.

Originality: With appealing alien characters and a vividly realized world, this futuristic story has some surprises in store for readers.

Character Development/Execution: The characters display change and growth through the novel and readers will be invested in their outcomes.

What am I to take away from this? Well, for the longest prose I’ve written so far, and for what will be my very first book, I think that it can be edited into something very good. If I try BookLife again with an updated draft next year (an option that is available), I might boost that score. But honestly, I’ve already put money into this particular book idea (just look back at my Inkshares experience), and I really shouldn’t take any more out of my own pocket if I can help it. I’m not expecting any great sum of money out of it once it’s published, but there’s got to be some traditional or indie publisher who’ll take it on.

I’ll do some editing I’ve thought up since submission, and I’ll continue the search for a publisher.

I still like writing

My job doesn’t pay enough.

I like it, I’ve invested a lot of time and effort to help my students, and to help myself enjoy it. But I don’t earn enough from it, and I doubt I ever will. My wife also works full-time. She earns more than I do, but her work is physical, outdoors. She can’t do it forever. Between the two of us, we barely earn enough for our two kids and the apartment we own.

But I still like writing.

Back when I started this blog, I had the idea that I could earn extra income from writing fiction. But I didn’t go about it in anything resembling the right way. I still don’t really understand how to market myself, how to handle all the non-writing jobs that are essential for a writer. It’s entirely overwhelming and intimidating.

But I still like writing.

I can’t make money from it right now. I understand that, finally. No, even if I do everything properly, I won’t see a penny for a long time. I might win a short story contest, I might get a short story or even a novel published, but the money will be small, a bonus for pursuing a dream at best. A perk added to my day job income.

I’m fighting against my own handling of Inkshares and crowdfunded writing – the evidence of that is still easy to find on this blog. I thought of deleting it all actually, deleting all of my past posts and starting the blog anew. But no, that past happened, it’s still visible, and I will own it as best as I can.

I still like writing. I promised myself I would complete and publish Far Flung, and I will.

Far Flung. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about it. I have worked on it since the Inkshares crowdfunding attempts. I will finish. I want to try my luck with traditional publishers – I don’t know if the excerpts and information I’ve posted will interfere with my chances, but I need to try. I’ve always been willing to self-publish it; I probably won’t wait too long if I get rejected by some traditional publishers.

I have to do something that is not writing.

I have a number of online courses I bought on sale or received through various promotions. They’re mostly programming – C, Python, Java, and a few other courses. There are a few edX courses too – I’ve just started one now. I’m not sure what my endgame here is. I’m 43 – am I really considering a career change now?

I have to do something, that’s for sure. My wife can’t keep her job forever. Our marriage is not good. Tonight I will go home, and I will do my best to help with cleaning up the house and I will make sure the kids are ready for school tomorrow.

But I will make a mistake somewhere along the way. A very basic mistake, something that would probably not happen if I were better at concentrating and dealing with anxiety. And my wife will yell at me because it’s the nth time I’ve made that exact same mistake. She’ll tell me how the stress of double-checking my work around the house is killing her. She’ll remind me that she works longer hours than I do and has to work every single day because I don’t make enough.

The kids will forget something, or make some small mistake, and she’ll yell at them. I’ll think about how, if I had just done things differently in the past, I could spare them the angry words. I’ll curl up into a ball of sadness and fall asleep way too early. Lather, rinse, repeat. Don’t get me wrong – I know why she yells, I’m not some deadbeat husband who wonders why his wife is always angry. At least I don’t think I am.

And I still like writing.

Somewhere in the changes I must make now, writing will still play a role. It won’t be a career – at least, I don’t see that it can be unless I’m ridiculously lucky. I’ll have to have a different job full time. Right now, today, I still have my current job, and I need it to earn me the time to work on what’s next. Meanwhile, the fictional worlds won’t stop swirling and forming in my head, and I must devote at least an hour or two each day, along with getting more exercise, trying out some online courses, and working with my children.

It’s a hell of a lot to take on. But I don’t see anther way –

Because I still like writing.

#IWSG – Writing, exercise, self-improvement

I think I know what this blog will be now.

It won’t be much of a change, just a different approach. I’m looking at ways now to incorporate the exercise and healthy lifestyle changes I need along with writing. I’ll write about the activities and exercises I do to make sure I can write fiction, and about how writing fiction keeps me going back to that exercise.

I’ll write about how I’m addressing the issues in my last post, and share some of the writing that comes from the process.

I finally feel ready to return to writing. The ideas never stop! I have so many of them, and a terribly slow typing speed along with so many other things demanding my time. But I have to try, and I have to get back out to the writing groups that mean so much to me.

I hope readers will find some value as I talk about how I deal with these problems, and how my physical exercise and weight loss ties in with writing fiction.

Keep writing. I know I will.


#IWSG November 2017 – Rethinking my blog and writing

A short post for the Insecure Writers Support Group this month, all about my current state of affairs and things I think will be interesting to the neurotic writers who pass by blogs like this every month.

First, if you haven’t seen my guest post on world-building on John Robin’s blog, be sure to check that out – it was fun to write, and I really have to do that more often,

I’m looking at new ways to use this blog

So one big change I’m making now (and a reason for the lack of updates) is deciding what I want to use this blog for. Some of my writing tips have gone over well, and I might go back to doing that weekly. I like the idea of previewing others’ writing like I did for the Launch Pad contest – I could see myself doing little previews of upcoming and released indie works.

One thing’s for sure – I can’t do long updates or too frequent ones. Regular updates, yes, but probably not more than once, maybe twice a week. I need to do more actual writing!


No. Not really, anyway. I need to finish the book I’m working on, not start a new one now. I’d rather devote a set amount of time to working on my current book than set a specific word count. I’ll start with 1 hour per day, and see if I can boost that up a bit.


I’m doing some online counseling (best option I have at the moment) and it will spill over onto this blog in some form. I think my writing and my anxiety interact in many ways, and that some tips to deal with one will also help with the other. I’m on the lookout for other blogs that talk about anxiety and writing – there should be some good links with IWSG I would think!

Anyway, that’s my rambling IWSG post for November. If you have some ideas for content for my blog, feel free to leave comments. I’ll be looking around some of your blogs too!