So, I have lovely news to report: I’ve been Grokked. More specifically, I’ve been inducted into GroupGrok, a collective of fellow writers who blog regularly on various things writing- and story-related, be it their own writing, thoughts about fiction and storytelling, reviews, etc. It’s a good fit. Everyone in the collective is either a current student or graduate of the Stonecoast Writing Program; we all know each other and our tastes very well. We’re all great friends as well, and our personalities complement each other nicely. I’m already envisioning special GroupGrok cross-blog features, like Adam and Adam At The Movies (featuring myself, obviously, and Adam Gallardo). First up on that docket: the collaborative filmography of Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski.
It seems I don’t report such news often enough here, though. When Julie Day, podcaster supreme for Small Beer Press and fellow Grokker, gave me the invite to join, I was quite happy. Then, I checked my blog stats and it hit me: I hadn’t posted in two months. I winced. Here I am, trying to make progress in consistently establishing some kind of platform for myself, and I’ve essentially been living in Stealth Mode since January 31.
It’s not like I haven’t had anything to write about; a lot has happened in the past two months since I graduated.
- I became Managing Editor at Weird Fiction Review, working with contributors on various articles and features, even contributing a few editorials and interviews of my own.
- I worked on some projects for Cheeky Frawg, most notably a collection of short stories by Amos Tutuola (I’ll hold off on saying more about that project until later, though).
- I’ve been applying for full-time teaching jobs all across the country, which is a full-time job in itself.
- I’ve met all sorts of cool people and fellow writers, making new friends and acquaintances along the way.
- I’m making plans to travel up to the World Fantasy Convention in Toronto this year, which will no doubt involve various shenanigans.
- I’ve been searching through the speculative fiction publishing industry, specifically trying to find new publications to read so I can learn more about where I might fit in with my writing.
This is all big stuff, yes? Especially the Managing Editor bit; I think this is the first I’ve written about it on this blog. It’s been a great experience so far. Having the regular obligation of managing a website with one of your favorite writers will make you get professional real quick. I’ve met people in the industry and not just encountered them on friendly terms, but read their writing and sent it back to them with suggested edits! And I did so without hyperventilating much. Much of the time, all I’m thinking about is the nuts and bolts of my job, meeting deadlines and making sure posts are ready to publish. It’s a job, when it comes down to it, albeit a job spent working with incredible people on a site dealing with material I love to read about. But at times, like when I help a published novelist with his review and he tells me he hopes to work with me again on something in the future, I still get that inner wow. I hope it never completely goes away.
So why fly under the radar about all of this stuff? The easy answer is I’ve been tired. The past two months, my energy level has been utterly sapped. Part of that is due to taking on more work than I’d had up to that point and getting my energy level adjusted to match its new required levels, sure. Part of that is also probably due to the inevitable comedown of graduating with my MFA and having to get used to making my own deadlines, being accountable for myself. And part of that is simply due to my everyday life draining me dry more often than not.
That’s no excuse, though. Take my boss at WFR and Cheeky Frawg, Jeff VanderMeer. For the better part of February and March, he struggled with bronchitis and other assorted ailments. No doubt that wore him down. And yet, he still found time to meet all his obligated duties and maintain regular updates on his blog, plus write a new novel! I’m a slouch by comparison. I don’t have as many contractually obligated duties as he does. I’ve maintained a relatively high measure of health since December. I’ve been threatening to write a novel, I suppose, but I haven’t followed through yet (I haven’t written much of anything since graduating, really). And I’ve ignored my blog and other important extensions of myself. Truth is, I’m great at honoring professional commitments I make with others, but I’m not so good at holding myself accountable on personal commitments. I need to learn how to juggle various things on a regular basis; that is essentially how I will be conducting my career, if I continue to move toward being a full-time writer, editor, and teacher.
So, I’m thankful for GroupGrok, not just because of the stellar company but also because of the opportunity it gives me to be more accountable for what I need to do. Everyone loves community for the companionship and fun times held by all, but it also means that everyone in that community will hold someone by the standards they share with the others. In order for a community to work, everyone needs to pull their weight. Fellow Grokkers: I promise I’ll do my best not to make you all look bad.