But now I'm considering another shift and I don't know if it's a smart idea at all. I've been focusing so much on short stories and it made me wonder if perhaps I should try to finish my science fiction novel (The Lies of Venicia/The White). I've been letting the novel writing slide under some sort of preconceived notion that I need to break into the short market to make novel writing more of a reality. I'm fully aware that you don't have to do what is considered the "traditional" route to be successful, but there's something about being a short story writer and then a novelist that seems right. But then there's that part of it that feels like perhaps I'm putting too much time into one side and not enough time developing the other. I've only written one complete novel (The World in the Satin Bag) and part of the sequel (The Spellweaver of Dern), and about a third of the science fiction novel. I have loads of other novel ideas I've set aside because they began as shorts and became longer works, and ultimately I am not ready to have five or six novels going all at once. That's too much.
So, I'm curious if perhaps I'm burning myself out on the short market and should really try to push the longer stories forward. Novels are...difficult, to say the least. They aren't like short stories, not by a long shot. True, there are similarities, but there is infinitely more information in a novel than in a short story, because infodumping in a short story would be pretty much the kill point. But in a novel you can expand upon ideas and fully develop characters, giving them histories, futures, everything. I love both forms because of their differences.
Thinking about all this has really put my writing into question, especially considering what I want to do with my life. I've recently begun searching for freelance work--anything really, so long as it is something I feel comfortable doing--as a means to hopefully jump start my career and get appropriate references (anyone with a job for me, feel free to send an email). With that in mind, I considered the fact that novels take a long time to get published, if they are publishable. Unlike short stories, which can go to a magazine and get accepted or rejected in a couple days, weeks, or months, novels can take many months, sometimes years with one editor. The longest I ever waited for a short story to be rejected/accepted was four months, and that's unusually long. But some novel writers have waited upwards of a year, sometimes two. Do I really want to wait five or six years before I start hitting the novel market (assuming I have something worth writing about, or something that an editor might like enough to want to publish, and I hope I do)? True, it could take me years to get published in any format (even if I am good), but I also have to consider where I want to be in the next two years.
I want to finish my BA and go on to graduate school for my MA and then PhD. I do want to teach, though that is more as a "job to do while I'm trying to jump start a writing career" thing (think of it this way: teaching is the job I'd like to do if I can't be a full time writer). That's a pretty good plan, in my opinion.
So, here I am, wondering what to do, how to go about my writing, etc. What do you think? Am I putting to much effort into short stories? Or should I keep plugging away?