by Stephen Buehler
Today it rained in Los Angele, my hometown for the past 33 years. It usually doesn’t rain. As a matter of fact we have been in a disastrous drought for at least the past 4 years. That’s a lot of time without rain. Not only did it rain today but we also we had thunder and lightning. If you’ve ever lived in Los Angeles you know how rare that is.
Am I using my first blog entry to tell you all about the LA weather? Yes – but for good reason. I’ve been a writer for most of my life but only in the last five years have I buckled down and really made a go of it. During that time I’ve had 3 short stories published, one nominated for a Derringer Award. But in the meantime I’ve been working on a PI novel, DETECTIVE RULES, on and off for the past 15 years. Along its evolution it has been sent out numerous times to agents and publishers to mostly unrequited love. But with each incarnation the novel has improved. Especially during the past two years as I put a lot of work into it.
Along the way I’ve written a mystery novella about a magician, THE MINDREADING MURDERS for an online publisher that has been sitting on it for almost a year – financial problems they say. I’ve envisioned the magician novella as a series and am three-quarters finished the first draft of the second in the series, THE DEATH DEFYING MURDERS. During this latest writing push I’ve written several more short stories but have not been able to place any of them.
For some time I’ve felt like Los Angeles, in the middle of a long drought. I’ve done my work but I still can’t make it rain. It’s frustrating, many times I have thought if I want to keep doing all this work with a rainfall. Don’t get me wrong – I love to write. The best feeling in the world is finally coming out of a creative fog and discovering I’ve been writing for 3 hours. I love dipping into my fertile imagination and letting my brain click and create. Yes I would do it even if I never get to publish. But the thing is, I do want to get published. I enjoy creating but I also enjoy sharing. I want my cherry on top.
Like Los Angeles, the skies above my writing desk has opened up. One short story I’ve been trying to get published for at least a year, NO MORE, a story about a trouble teen, is finally going to be published in October by Spleck Fiction, a British online magazine. At a recent writers conference I pitched DETECTIVE RULES to two publishers and both wanted to read it. I haven’t heard back from one publisher but this week I received an email from the other saying they really liked the voice and humor but they had some problems with the character. They proceeded to give many examples of their reservations. They offered me a rewrite and resubmit and of course I said, “Yes!” They are very positive and appear to want me to succeed. A good feeling. It will be a lot of work but once again I’m sure the novel will become even better.
In another conversation a publisher is interested in my magician novellas, once I get the rights back and if accepted, they might want to publish both novellas as one book.
This all looks good, right? This is where the record on the record player scratches and stops.
My job for the past 10 years, my own business, ReWriteDr, a job I love where I give writers notes on stories, feature film screenplays and TV scripts has slowed down terribly. My savings are nearly depleted. I need to get a full time job soon (or a couple of part time jobs). Either way I need to generate income quickly.
Nothing’s worse for my creativity than having the sword of uncertain financial security hanging over my head. I find it hard to focus on my writing when I’m anxious about how to pay the bills.
I’m like Los Angeles – in the middle of a drought for years. Now it’s raining. If you know Los Angeles you know it’s a city that doesn’t handle rain very well. There’s flooding, there’s mudslides, the freeways are choked with accidents.
Am I complaining? No. I’m comparing myself to a city that has been around since September 4, 1781. It has seen its share of floods, riots, earthquakes and various disasters. But it’s still around. It’s had its ups and downs. Like me and my writing life. If a city that was built on what is essentially a desert can survive for 234 years, so can I. It’s going to be hard, there will be bumps in the roads and probably a few detours but hopefully this time next year, Los Angeles and I will be expecting more rain – and I hope it’s pouring. At least that’s what the weatherman in my head is saying.
Where are you in your creative life? Is it raining, snowing, tornadoes or a drought? Is the sun drying up your creativity or are you drenched with imagination?
Btw – I didn’t write this blog to be inspirational to others. It was purely selfish. I wrote it to give myself a needed pep talk. I think it worked.