Of course, the fix is easy. Which is (after the current round of work is done) to cowboy up and stop accepting the invitations unless I already have an appropriate story in inventory. Yes, I'm a Yankee. Yes, I find it physically painful to turn down work. But it often takes me somewhere on the order of years to build a good short story in my head (I just work ona lot of them in parallel), and trying to write a specific short story to a tighter deadline is not something my brain is particularly good at.
In fact, I think in general I will no longer be writing short fiction (short stories and novellas) except on spec, which is to say, I will write the stories when I have them, and when I do not yet have them, I will not sign contracts to write them. Because an inordinate amount of the stress in my life these past two years has been short fiction deadlines, and that's just got to stop. I can get enough stress out of novel deadlines, and that without even really trying.
(caveat 1: I do reserve the right to waive this policy in certain cases, mind you. But I find myself in a situation right now where I am promised to write several short stories by year's end and I have no idea how any of them go.)
(caveat 2: This rule does not apply to Shadow Unit. I have no plans to leave that project. Ever. *g*)
And having decided that, I feel obscurely better, despite the little voice in my head telling me I am a lazy slacker and surely I will starve, and also I'm letting down my friends.
2009 will be the first year of the new regime, in which we here at Ebear Central attempt to remember that we are no longer scrambling to break into print and establish a presence in the marketplace, and instead
And also, not making ourselves stark raving bonkers in the process.
Which brings us to
Finish Bone and Jewel Creatures
Finish "The Tricks of London" (started)
Finish "Mongoose" with truepenny (started)
Write S2 Shadow Unit episodes: "Lucky Day" (with coffeeem);
Rewrite The Sea thy Mistress
Shadow Unit S3
When they get done:
Write "Smile" (Bone Garden) (started)
Write "Snow Dragons"
Write "The Horrid Glory of its Wings"
And now I am going to eat some breakfast, drink some tea, do some math, and open up Bone & Jewel Creatures and poke at it until it asks me to stop poking--or until it is time to go climb, one of the two.