There are times in life when it all hangs in the balance. Now, is one of them, at least for me. As the blurb says, I write science fact to science fiction, however, these two worlds do not always find a peaceful way to coexist. In life we always have choices even if some of them don’t seem like it at the time. And so it is that I find myself here, at one of those decisive moments. Concentrate on the scientist, or concentrate on the writer. Let’s be clear, science is what puts food on the table, while writing is a passionate pastime that is very much in its infancy.
So on the science fact front I face an uncertain future. In six months time I might be out of a job OR I might be spearheading an initiative that will take most of my time for the next 15 years. There are a lot of “ifs” to fall into place for the latter. So it appears, at least for the next 6-12 months, that the “decision” is not so hard, or at least not so complicated – I need to concentrate on the science. My apologies but this will have to remain cryptically anonymous for the moment.
Why am I telling you this, then? I’m arguing with myself again about how much time I have for writing scifi. The last couple of years I’d tried to ease off on the 60-70 hour working week to make more time for writing, amongst other things. This has worked well and I’ve been writing a lot. And learning a lot! Recently, I sent off a bunch of flash and short fiction to some people for feedback while I concentrated on a full length novel. This has been an incredibly satisfying time as I brainstorm, compost, build worlds and twist plot lines, before I start writing in earnest. But this is too much to ask.
I cannot do it!
There, I said it.
Perhaps what I should say is – I can’t do it justice.
Which is why you find me this weekend in front of two computers, one for the writer and one for the scientist. The writer is madly writing down as much of the world building and plots of a future science fiction masterpiece ;-) … while the scientist is madly writing down the world building and plots of future science facts. I told you the two aren’t really that different. This weekend, in a sense, is where it all pivots.
The plan then is, as always perhaps, to be a better writer. However, I am going to have to take a long view (should that be longer view?) of this and for the near term at least, I will concentrate on short stories, when and where I find the time. I will not go away completely, perhaps not at all. It could be that my appearances become even more sporadic than they are now, or there’ll be no visible difference. Once I get things rolling on the science side, assuming it doesn’t all fall to pieces, it will become more clear to me and to you.
Maybe all of this is for naught. Maybe in six months I’ll have a job that puts food on the table and leaves me time for writing. Then I can continue to improve my craft. Writing is a long game in any case, so it seems that for me it might be a little longer. This is the decision I have to make if I am to indeed live!
I want to live. I want to write. I want to change the world, but I can’t do everything at once.