The title of this post comes from a book written by Natalie Goldberg (you can find out more about it here). The book delves into both the craft of writing and how to think about yourself as a writer. This post is a bit about the latter.
As this year slides to its end, I’ve begun plotting out the year forthcoming. There is potential for 2020 to be drastically different from 2019 on several fronts, which I’ll talk more about as the haze of uncertainly slowly rises to reveal the light. Notwithstanding other issues beyond my control, I’ve already decided that my 2020 writing goals will focus not only on writing books (which will get more focus in themselves) but on the freelance side of my writing career.
After decades of working as a scientific consultant, the last thing I wanted to do was spend my time hustling work for pay. So I consciously avoided copywriting work even though it can be more lucrative. I still don’t plan to do copywriting; I do enough of it for free to help the non-profit Abraham Lincoln group I support, so nothing changes there. I’ve also not put much emphasis on writing for magazines, newspapers, and other paying gigs. From now on I’ll make more of an effort in that regard. In addition to some earlier Tesla Magazine work, I have a couple of recent paid book reviews for a prestigious Civil War magazine. The plan is to have more, plus longer articles, in the future. A long list of other ideas will move from brain to pen this coming year.
While this is somewhat of a change from my previous strategy, it’s not a major detour by any means. Consider it more like taking the time to explore some of the offramps and small towns rather than drive straight through on the highways. This analogy actually represents what I’ve physically done on several Chasing Abraham Lincoln road trips; now I’ll try it in my writing life.
Lately I started reevaluating what I’ve written here on Hot White Snow. This site was initially set up as a place for my responses to writer’s prompts and flash fiction, but both original prompt sources have gone into internet oblivion. As a consequence, much of the writing shifted to memoir and social commentary. In 2020 I would like to revisit fiction and creative nonfiction, but also continue to experiment with memoir-ish writing that may, or may not, end up in a book or two. I’ve also found several old posts that could be the basis for longer literary pieces suitable for the above-mentioned magazine submissions. One piece I found this week has been the inspiration for a short story that I’ll enter into a writing contest.
So….yes, I realize this is my first post on Hot White Snow in about three weeks. In my defense, some of that time I was traveling, with much of the rest of that time bogged down in multiple projects and, well, just living life. For those who like what I write, I’ll be writing more – here on Hot White Snow, on Science Traveler, and, hopefully, in the kind of magazines you all like to read.
In case you don’t come back soon, I offer my best wishes for a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays to everyone. That said, please do come back soon.
David J. Kent is a science traveler and the author of Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, in Barnes and Noble stores now. His previous books include Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (2013) and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (2016) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate.