Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Aphelion Editorial 043

January 2001

The Senior Editor's usual drivel about whatever...

by Dan L. Hollifield

Hello and welcome!

Before I get to the editorial proper, I'd like to welcome McCamy Taylor to the Aphelion staff as an Assistant Editor. She has kindly consented to help out with the backlog of submissions. (Although, I don't know how this is going to look on her resume', LOL! "You were working for an online magazine? For free?) McCamy's long been a favorite of Aphelion readers and now she will be bringing her talents to editing for us. We've got a sizable backlog of submissions to wade through and Cary tells me that his hip-boots are beginning to chafe, just a little... Ahem... So I'm proud to announce McCamy coming onboard as Aphelion's newest editor. We change as we grow, and grow as we change. Once again, I have to remark on how Aphelion has evolved since the early days-- four whole years ago, LOL! Back then it was just me, a TANDY 386, and a lonely little URL. Now, there's an active staff of six! My, how things change.

And in the spirit of change-- Feburary's issue will mark another Aphelion Birthday, so look out. There are some tweaks in the works for the Birthday Issue. Just another step in Aphelion's continuing quest to provide a quality forum for writers.

And now-- back to the drivel- er, the editorial, that is...

The Web is one of the most marvelous tools that a writer can have. It can also be one of the worst time-wasters mankind has ever invented. That was driven home to me yesterday as I re-visited a website that I'd not looked at for months. Not only did I come up with an outline for a killer story, gotten a chance to witness the evolution of a website, and spent several hours reading page after page of oddities worthy of Charles Fort-- I also managed to while away most of a cold afternoon. I both wasted time and put it to good use in the same motion.

So, great - the Web is the biggest research library ever stocked... However, it can also be the single greatest procrastination excuse of modern times.

And let's face it- who needs another excuse to put things off? Certainly not me. I learned years ago that the best way to get a sink full of dishes washed quickly-- was to turn on my computer and open up the word processor. I'd suddenly feel the need to stack clean dishes in the cabinet just as soon as that blank page came onscreen. Now, you can imagine how that urge mutated after I bought a modem and got online! Now I could delete my spam-- er, check my e-mails, or read Newsgroups, or look at websites... Anything but get the work done.

Well, all that blather amounted to was that its easy to let yourself get distracted. Writers face that challenge, and to overcome it they learn to schedule writing time. Somehow. You learn that you have to make time to write or run the risk of realizing one day that you're not a writer any more. For some strange reason.

"You are young and life is long,
And there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find,
Ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run,
You missed the starting gun."
Pink Floyd -- "Time" -- Dark Side of the Moon

Those lyrics sum up what I'm getting at in this essay. To wit: A procrastinating writer isn't writing. Delay doesn't get the story told. As Fictioneers, we have to whip that particular demon down every day. We have to decide to write that story, work on that next draft, do the job we keep putting off. Its either that or that long, slow slide into suddenly not being a writer any more.

Now, I'm not saying that the Net is evil, or a waste of time for a writer. It is and should always be a great tool for writers. What I am saying is that the Net is also a great temptation to put off getting that "job" done. Just one more webpage, just one more Newsgroup article, "I'll just pop into one more Chatroom-- Say hello to some old friends..." I'm sure you've done it your self. I know I have.

So at last we come to that oft repeated saw: Schedule time to write, stick to the schedule. You may not feel like writing when it comes time to write. I often don't, myself. But I do write, anyway. I know that I have to, or fade away. Its something that I've had to learn-- And it didn't come easy.

The nice thing is that you should not only schedule time for work, but time for play as well. Oh, and don't let the one swallow the other. To keep yourself sane, you need time to play and work.

Thanks for your time.



2001 Dan L. Hollifield

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.