All good things must come to an end, and it’s the same with ReadingWriters.

I’ve been mulling this over for months. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve hemmed and hawed. I’ve thrown my leg on and off the fence. But in the end, I knew it was time. For various reasons, the time had come to stop, to look around, to reconsider what I was doing and where I was going.

In other words, it was time to let ReadingWriters go.

And then an extraordinary thing happened. The moment I officially took off my Editor hat, a complete story exploded in my head! The theme, structure, characters, POV… you name it, I had it. Ironically, it wasn’t a fresh new story, it was the very one that inspired ReadingWriters almost ten years ago. (ReadingWriters went live in March 2002 with The Verb coming along the following year.) And that totally blew me away because now I don’t know whether I needed ten years to resolve the issues in that story or whether it took me ten years to shut up and listen. All I know is that I’m flying high on creativity right now, and if all continues to go well, I’ll have a complete novel by the end of the year.

As for The Verb, well, I have big plans for her as an independent writing ezine. But until I finish the novel, I’ve left her in a holding pattern—here at this blog. There’s a new website to build, new software to install, and many new features to tweak. That will all come in 2012. In the meantime, bookmark this site, if you like. And check back now and then.

Also, The Road of Eerie writing contest is still in effect. The details are here with one slight modification. I will announce the winner October 3, 2011, but I won’t publish the winning entry since this is not The Verb in its original form. This way, the winner not only wins the grand prize ($100), she or he will also have an unpublished short story to sell elsewhere. That’s called a win-win!

And by the way, have you read this excellent article on new ways to sell your short stories?

Finally, I want to thank all the storytellers who trusted us with their manuscripts over the years. And along with my private thanks to the staff, I also want to send out a public Thank You! to each dedicated, highly-skilled ReadingWriter who provided feedback. We’ve had some great times together, and more to come, I trust!

Now that the doors to ReadingWriters have officially closed, I feel as though I’ve graduated with several degrees in my pocket. Running a reading service was a wonderfully enlightening experience, and I highly recommend it to all writers. You may learn a few writerly things by enrolling in classes, attending conferences or reading books, magazines and blogs, but if you truly want to study the art of storytelling—to see what works and what doesn’t, to see what’s unique and what’s overdone, to discover new talent, both young and old—read unpublished manuscripts. It will change your writing world!

So that’s what’s going on around here. How are you doing?