Time to Write Plus Motivation Equals Production

On Saturday, The Writers Club, an online literary journal, published my short story “Hit and Run.” In addition, since August 4, 2020, I’ve published three books: The Shadow Chamber, The Heidelberg Gap, both of which are Nick Temple Files, and A String of Beads, my collection of short stories. I’ve had some time on my hands.

My last day of teaching was in May of 2020. I had planned to teach for one more year, but the experience of teaching for two months online during the early days of the pandemic convinced me it was time to move on. My favorite aspect of teaching was always the classroom work. Once my school transitioned (rightly in my view) to an online model for the safety of students and staff, teaching lost most of its charm for me. By June of 2020, I was no longer working. I was, however, still writing.

When I retired I’d been working on The Shadow Chamber for some time and was able to finish it in short order. Once it was published, I got to work almost immediately on The Heidelberg Gap. At one point in that process I took about a four-month break. The break might have become permanent had not Joe Poletto, a friend since high school, encouraged me to keep at it. I kept at it and published The Heidelberg Gap in late October of 2021. By then I really did believe I was done writing, that I’d lost interest in writing, and that I had little else to say. Joe, once again, in his terse, inimitable way, convinced me I wasn’t done. The result of his latest push is A String of Beads which I released about a three weeks ago.

Last week, as I looked around for other opportunities to get some of my work “out there,” I remembered The Writers Club. They’d published some poems of mine a few years back. They also publish short fiction. So I submitted “Hit and Run,” one of my short stories from A String of Beads. They published it on Saturday. Three books and a short story: that’s a pretty solid level of production in less than two years, I don’t mind saying. In retrospect, two key items have made that production possible: time and motivation. Time is a constant at this point in my life. I have plenty of it. For years, my motivation was all internal. Something changed in 2020 that eroded my internal motivation. Fortunately for me, a friend gave me a couple of pushes when I needed them. Nothing drastic, just some words of encouragement and a reminder or two here and there, for which I am grateful. As it turns out, time + motivation = production is a reliable and surprisingly simple writing formula for me.