Not every story need be a novel.

I don't know why it took so long to realize it. I suppose, because I don't read shorter fiction, that I didn't think I'd want to write it.

Here's the thing. I'm not sure that what I write, whether it be novels, novellas, or short stories, are what I would actually read cold. That is, if I ran across the idea without knowing it was me, you know, I'm not sure it would pull my trigger.

I'm not sure what that says about my ambitions. Really kind of bizarre. But there it is. I'm not sure if it means my ideas aren't good enough or that I have different appetites or that I don't know my own mind.

Because I love my stories, and when I'm writing them it's like reading a very intense book.

Yesterday I wrote for 11 hours straight, finished a complete 9000 word story, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Nor do I think the story suffered from the speed, in fact it may have benefited from the creative energy, the excitement, and the goal of finishing.

It's exhausting, mind-draining, and everything but everything else gets put off--even eating. Linda drifted in and out of my attention. (Well, actually, I came to her every 1000 words or so excited to read them outloud to her. She is a gem, folks. A writer's dream wife.) But mostly I was in a fog.

I did a lot of these marathon sessions my first year back in writing, and I loved it, but I also realized that everything else kind of went on autopilot. I also didn't think it was physically healthy. So I arrived at the idea of writing a steady 1500 to 2000 words every day, and I think that was the right approach.

Then again, I love "FREE MARS!" which I wrote in 11 hours yesterday. So I guess every routine can be broken if the urge is strong enough.

The idea that I don't have to do 60K words just because I get an idea is sort of exciting. I mean, it means I can write more things more quickly. Just have fun with them.

I often get these ideas, but then I have to consider whether they are strong enough or interesting enough to carry me for a few months, and most often the answer it no. But some would be just fine for a day or a week or a fortnight or a month, and that is a very freeing idea.

I think I thought that a short story had a specific format, which was a bit of mystery to me. But now I realize a story is just how many words and pages it takes to tell it. Period.

Yes, there is probably a correct formal way to write a short story, and yes, I'm probably doing it all wrong just like when I write poetry, or...probably...novels. But what I enjoy is telling stories, and the stories should be told in the length and style they want to be.

Not commercial relevant, probably. But I'm more and more returning to the pure notion of writing for my own reasons.

I will say this, and it may be egotistical, but I think if I truly set out to do nothing but Big Five mainstream novels, that it would probably take some time, and I'd have any number of set-backs, but that in the end, I'd probably achieve it.

But I'm realizing more and more that I don't want to do that. I don't want to take that journey, because it would keep me from writing what I want when I want. Probably because of my age and relative financial security, I don't want to pay the price because it reins me in.

I'll repeat that: The goal is to write WHAT I want WHEN I want.

And that probably means I'm on my own unless what I write happens accidentally to coincide with the marketplace.

The joy I take in writing must mean something.

I know the old pro writers would roll their eyes at this, and well they should. But it don't matter to me.