The first five months of this year have been nothing less than wildly successful when it comes to voiceovers and narration. One season of Secret World Chronicle, the podcast of the novel Broken, fullcast lines for Crudrat and Hidden Harbor Mysteries, short stories for a whirlwind of fiction magazines and private projects, and two finished projects available at ACX. Now, two more projects are nearly finished, pending author listen-throughs and some final edits, and I’ve got a flash-fiction piece to double check before sending it off to the producer. And, because of authors who want me to read more of their work and authors who are willing to take a chance on my particular style of narration and storytelling, there are projects waiting for me to pick up as soon as I deliver the outstanding work.
I confess, part of me wonders how long I can keep up this schedule, this pace of dayjob, academic, writing, and narration. It’s timed down to the half-hour on the weekdays, with mornings spent in front of the microphones, days at the desk with course design and dissertation research, and nights in front of the screen with words and waveforms. Sleep, rinse, repeat. Weekends replace the dayjob with more of the other jobs and a healthy dose of the domestic, but the mornings still involve the microphone and the evenings still involve words and a screen. I would bring it to a screeching halt if I didn’t enjoy every minute of it; despite my whining and complaining about the administration at the dayjob, I do enjoy teaching and creating coursework and doing the assessment side of things. There is joy in research and discovery, just as much as there is joy in telling one’s own story or helping another bring a story to life. I really and truly do enjoy it all.
The issue, of course, is time. Time to begin, time to finish, and time to take a breath and relax. Sometimes, I feel like I just want to stand in front of all of the projects, put my hands out in front of me, and scream at the top of my lungs, “Stop!” That, if I do that for a few seconds, I’ll get the opportunity to breathe and enjoy what I’ve accomplished.
Having the opportunity to keep reading for people is a blessing, it truly is. The fact that I can stay busy without having to actively seek out people is mind-blowing, and it’s not something I had imagined when I started reading for SWC seven years ago. Of course, when one project finishes, the sense of accomplishment is quickly replaced by that ego-puncture of “Again? You mean, I have to start all over at the beginning? At word one?”
The fear of success, the fear of doing something well enough that one is expected to rise to the occasion again and again, is very real. I can’t remember where I read it (I want to say it was a textbook written by William Pauk that I used several years ago at the dayjob for a class that I taught) but intelligent people tend to procrastinate because they are afraid that completing a project will mean that they are expected to perform at that same level the next time. Think ahead to how many “next time” moments that would encompass, and it’s no wonder that we encounter so many driven people who are in a holding pattern with their success.
I confess, I’m like that with much of my writing. It’s one of the reasons that I’ve tried to switch up with short stories for the next few months. With the number of anthologies seeking content and the mess of ideas swimming around in my cognitive stewpot, short stories seemed like the best way to work toward the daily wordcount without resorting to daily blog posts. Not that there’s anything wrong with blog posts, but they don’t necessarily bring me toward the main goal of finishing written work and adding works to my author repetoire. Short stories finish faster; there are fewer reasons why they don’t work, and there are few words to run through for the initial editing passes. Short stories help one become more familiar with finishing and accomplishment, as well as the process of starting back at square one.
Starting at square one with audio isn’t nearly as difficult, although it can be intimidating due to my want to always improve my craft and get better… and, of course, getting better only happens with more work, more books, and more practice. The work isn’t stopping, thank goodness, and there is still plenty of the summer left to get started on more of these books. Thanks to some new recording and editing techniques, I should be able to maintain or even increase my productivity.
Again. Because in a week, it will be time to start another book, another story, another project. And each time I have to start, the fear of “again?” diminishes a teeny tiny bit.