Summer Writing Project Wrap-Up

At the end of June, I shared how I was working on substantially revising my short-story cycle that is set in Western Minnesota and Eastern South Dakota. It has been so much fun spending a part of the day working on the project. A couple mornings a week, I was at the nearest Starbucks, other mornings I was at home in the quiet of the bedroom while my wife and kids were out on playdates, and some afternoons I was in my university office, enjoying the quiet of the building.

The idea of fun hadn’t been something I’d associated with my writing life in the last few years. I enjoyed my writing life, yes, and I was satisfied with my hard work, but just the experience of feeling free to pursue the stories wherever they went, building up more of this imaginary world I’ve spent time in for over a decade was childlike fun. I had the benefit of all my years of writing and of so many more books read.

When I was a beginning writer (as an undergrad and even as an MFA student), I was often troubled by a not-uncommon concern: what if run out of things to write about? In a perverse way, that irrational fear often prevented me from writing. Or to state it more with my active will involved, at times I avoided writing because I thought I would somehow exhaust every single idea.

My work this summer reinforced the ridiculousness of that fear, and I now have ideas for several more stories (beyond those ideas I have yet to draft). The nature of the interconnected storyworld offers me as a writer a realm that I can continually return to, a place to dig for more drama.

So what’s next? Sending out several of the individual stories, and, I hope, seeing them in print form in a great journal. After that? Sending out the entire collection.

And all the while I’ll be writing more stories, trying to make more progress on a list of ideas that grows faster than I can keep up with.

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