Well, it's a couple weeks from the deadline, I have a draft that is 75% done, but I thinking of calling it in. There are a couple good reasons for this.
Firstly, from a creative standpoint I could force the story to completion, but I don't think it would be very good, and when I think of what I could be writing instead, I find I perk up--a lot. Nutshell: My heart's not really in this story.
Secondly, I am 90% positive that I will soon have a contract for a paid writing assignment. It'll be a short story of equivalent length to the Blizzard contest requirement. Nobody gets rich from writing short stories, but in the current economic climate, any additional spending money is welcome. The 10% of doubt is only because I haven't received a contract to sign yet, but communication with the editor points to a yes.
Earlier last week, a friend of mine was talking about a work-for-hire writing job I did several months ago. Like the Blizzard contest, I give up all rights to the story I create, but unlike the Blizzard contest, I get paid and I'm not obligated to write the story until I sign on the dotted line. My friend was urging me to talk with the editor again to see if I could get picked up for another contract, which means more work.
After I sent that e-mail, I got a positive response and the story bibles for two different properties with the possibility of writing stories for them both.
And that brings me to my contest entry.
For me, the Blizzard contest is a hope to be recognized as a writer in a way that will eventually lead to a job. I do like Warcraft, so this thinking isn't entirely mercenary of me, but the fact remains that I am in a fortunate enough position where I can be paid to write fiction and time spent writing for the contest is time I'm not writing for potential pay. Writing is not my day job, but I would like to make a career out of it someday, and each story I write should be furthering that dream.
What will bring me closer to being a paid novelist? The Blizzard contest or pursuing other short stories? Thus far there has been no correlation between winning the contest and writing novels. Richard Knaak and Christie Golden came into the business of writing books for Blizzard through other media-tie in work. Aaron Rosenberg, who wrote the Tides of Darkness Warcraft book is a fellow writer in the same universe my last work-for-hire job was in. In fact, you can get the ebook collection containing both our stories here. I'm doing professional level work.
With the contest deadline coming so soon, I have to look at my schedule, and I see NaNoWriMo is coming up next month and one of my top concerns is finishing the outline for my novel before November 1st hits, and then all of November will be eaten by the book. Assuming the work-for-hire contract comes through I'll probably be due a story in December. And I'm also rewriting a short story for a book anthology I've been invited to submit to that has a deadline in January.
This is not counting the second and third tier projects sitting on my hard drive beckoning me or the fact that something unexpected may come up and I'll have another opportunity to do a short on request. (It's so much easier to write knowing a story is pre-sold.)
But the thing is... I hate to give up. Even though I can rationalize this is the best use of my time, and I know some of my writing peers would agree with me, it still feels like giving up.
I had a really good opening to my entry for this year too. Maybe I'll try to salvage it and turn it into an original story later.