In the last six weeks I've written first drafts of 16 stories ranging in length from 200 words to about 5500 words. Many of these have gone through revisions and/or Beta and are out to markets. I'm thrilled with the volume of writing I've gotten done, but I'm also running into a situation where I'm starting to feel like I'm doing some serious juggling. Several of my stories have sat in first draft now for 1-2 weeks without me revisiting them for a second draft. This is due to a combination of factors. One is that I'm spending time doing revisions of slightly older stories based on feedback from Beta crit partners. The other is that with my goal of having 500 news words every day and with the fact that my average story length is about 2000 words, I'm producing at least two new stories a week. Finally, just the process of submitting all these stories is taking a non-trivial chunk of time.
The longest story I've ever written is just under 10,000 words. When I first started investigating being published -- around 1990 -- the common wisdom was that novelettes and novellas were next-to-impossible to sell for non-established writers. That might be a bit less true today if you consider self-publishing options. But, for now, I'm still primarily interested in following the "traditional" publishing route. I'm interested in learning about self-publishing, but not ready to jump into those waters yet.
I've already planned to do NaNoWriMo in November. But I've got two novel ideas and I'm feeling the itch to try to start diving in to one of them sooner than that. Starting on one of these would let me keep working on writing every day while not adding to my backlog of short stories. I could still write a short if the mood struck me. In fact, I'll probably try to do that to make sure I don't let the short story muscles I've been building up recently get flabby. Looking at themed issues and anthologies seems like a possible way to keep myself using those skills.
On the one hand, it's an exciting thought, tackling something new. On the other hand, it's scary. A novel is a big project representing a lot of time commitment. The thought of spending all that time on something that possibly no one but my Betas would ever read is unsettling. But I think I'm going to take the plunge.
I'd love any advice from people who have gone through that shift of writing shorts to writing novels. Naturally, I'll keep everyone posted on my progress. My plan at the moment is to do some preliminary work over the next few days (while getting my 500 words in on other tasks) and start Chapter 1 by the middle of next week.
OK, I've said it. Now I just have to trust in myself and let peer pressure help keep me "honest" to what I've decided I want to do.