Archive of Our Own

A friend steered me to the Archive a few years ago, about the time that many indie slash sites were falling, and LJ was threatening to crack down as well. I liked the notion of supporting transformative fiction on a site devoted to that. I have ended up doing nearly all my new posting there as well as slowly uploading my prior body of work. Long stretches without personal time to speak of has further limited my LJ presence.

There have been two consequences of this forum shift, I've neglected my LJ contacts, and I've gotten hooked on the daily receipt of "kudos" and comments from new readers on Archive. I don't think either of these effects are positive. I write for myself, but it would be untruthful to say that the enthusiasm of readers doesn't matter, and being reminded that others are touched by what I take time to craft is wonderful. But the substantive discussions that can be had on LJ don't emerge on Archive.

That said, I think Archive is a great example of the advocacy of writers for writers, and I recommend it to others. It isn't a journaling tool. I like the networking on LJ and the ability to connect with my writer friends around the world without the creepy aspects of Facebook. Despite the limitations on time, I think both LJ and Archive are worthy tools.

making time for the muse

I was returning to a creative project over the weekend—editing the first full draft of a novel that I finished in late 2012—and I was stunned to notice that the modification tag of the file showed that the last time I had accessed the document was a year ago almost to the day.

At first, I rejected the information. I would have sworn I had been back to that project over the summer and fall of 2013. But I was patently wrong. Frantic that I had lost the most recent file, I checked, and this one had the last edits I recall making.

So, I revisited my year creatively. Last spring, I also stopped taking dance class due to a calf injury. I haven't sketched or sculpted in the intervening time. And I haven't been writing new stuff. Nor, incidentally, was I playing on the internet or out having great fun with friends. Where did the last freaking year go?!?

There are many legitimate answers to that question, but I find none of them satisfactory from a creative standpoint.

When I exclaimed about this, and repeated the exclamation in various forms over the course of Saturday and Sunday, my husband gently reminded me that I had just finished another creative project. I spent my free time over the winter editing and compiling a collection of short erotica (original characters) and self-publishing it with a friend's help on Kindle. I wrote two new stories for the collection, but otherwise, these stories have been lying around in quiet piles for years, and they just needed a good wringing out, trimming, and ironing. I had to learn how to format and convert for Kindle and all that good stuff. I had the joy of sending ideas to a cover maker and then agonizing over some great choices he produced. But that took evenings and a few hours on weekends for two and a half months of this cold, dark, long, miserable northern Midwest winter. That means that from last April through December 31st, 2013, I did not engage in creative play.

I am sitting here contemplating that I must restore some disciplined place in my schedule for creative endeavors. With the collection finished and out in the ether, I am pledging to keep for myself at least a fraction of the time I spent on that project each week. Rather than turning it back to work time, household chores, family needs, or paperwork (which is always endless anyway), I will do something creative with it. Two to three hours a week seems like a reasonable goal that I can stick to. At least, I'll try.