I'm getting close to getting through all the critiques of the short stories that have been waiting. I'm now revising Zombie Prison Story. Time Travel Flash should not take long (it's only 500 words). And Devil Image Story goes through the wringer next month--that's the last. Now I've got one more short story that's in its first draft form (and is flopping like a dead fish), and some ideas for new short stories. So the question is: do I write these short stories, these potential credit-getters, or do I start working on Mermaid Story, a long-term investment that likely won't pan out without the short story credits?
Answer: I work on Mermaid Story.
Why? Here's the logical reason. Only one short story has sold so far--to an audio fiction magazine (meaning print rights are still available). If I finish this set, I'll have a total of eight stories making the rounds. And there's still a lot of magazines out there. I really should give these stories their chance to make the rounds before I retire them. I'd hate to miss out on a magazine/publishing credit. Otherwise I write too many short stories and can't keep track of them.
Here's the real reason: because I want to. I'd rather work on a novel than a short story any day of the week. And this novel's been incubating long enough. I've been chomping at the bit to write Mermaid Story, but my writing pace is forced to slowness. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm going to give up on these ideas. I might write them during spare time at work--outside my designated lunch period. I may miss out on the practice, but life is too short to spend writing the things you don't really care about. My passion doesn't show through these short works. And I don't feel as good about them as I do about a novel. Plus it takes long enough to write a novel as it is.