mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

Life News

I have just emailed out a new MABFAN Newsletter, which can also be found here:

However, the most important part of the newsletter is here, behind the cut tug:


Time for the announcement.

Next year, 2005, will mark a milestone in my life. It will have been ten years since I started publishing science fiction professionally. ("TeleAbsence" appeared in the July 1995 ANALOG.) In the past ten years, I have published thirty-two stories (including collaborations), been nominated for six Hugos, two Nebulas, and a Sturgeon, and won the Campbell Award. But I have never managed to publish a novel. In 2001, I finished a novel, but to date, that novel remains unrevised and unpublished.

The problem is that for me, longer projects take much more of an effort, and the daily grind of teaching (my other career) made it difficult for me to find the focus I needed to work on such projects. So although I've been able to write quite a few shorter works, the longer ones have up until now eluded me.

If you've read this far, you can probably already see where this is going.

Nomi and I discussed it, and we decided that now was the time. This past summer, I made the decision to leave my day job for the year and devote myself to full-time writing. The goal is to write another novel, hopefully one that some publisher will deem acceptable. During this year I'll still work on any other projects that might come my way. And it's entirely possible that some shorter work might take precedence -- for example, I devoted most of September to working on a story I had pitched to an editor because if he's going to use it, he'll need it soon. But the goal is to use the year to write a new novel, rewrite the old one, and see if I can line up other paying freelance work.

The schedule is a simple one. My work day now consists of either completing at least five pages of writing, or devoting about four solid hours to revision. Sometimes I get my pages done in an hour, but more often than not it takes a solid morning of work to meet the quota. That leaves me free in the afternoon to do household errands and chores, while Nomi finds the time to read over my pages and edit my work. It means that for the first time in my life since I left school, I'm not earning a steady paycheck, and we have to be very careful in our budgeting because of it.

So it's a scary step, a risky step -- but a necessary one. Many writers are fond of Joseph Campbell's work on the power of myth and his lesson to follow one's bliss. Well, that's what I've decided to do, and we'll see where it leads.

I should note that I'm not completely out of the teaching game. I've signed on with Chyten Educational Services to tutor part-time in Physics and Mathematics and to help prepare students for the SAT II exams in the same subjects. So if you're local and you know a student who might benefit from my tutoring, get in touch with Chyten ( Having this part-time job helps reduce the stress of writing without a net, and after the year is over, I plan to increase my hours with them so I'll be back in the full-time workforce.

But for the rest of the academic year...please wish me luck. And thanks for sticking with me on this journey.


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