I’ve almost committed blog-icide. It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and I’m a week overdue for facing facts on the fifth. It’s not avoidance or procrastination — just a dose of goodness and life. Last week I was visiting my family in Southampton, Massachusetts and was able to hike Mt. Tom with my brother and niece.
Then, I met my husband in Boston where he was leaving a conference and we drove to New Hampshire – where we had a lovely visit with a Mount Holyoke friend of mine and we hiked. Our drive out along the Kancamagus Highway, gave us this spectacular view:
So, as you can see, I’ve been having my fill of some of my favorite things, mountains (and writing?), autumn (see recent post) and time with many of my dear ones. Now, time to put my feet (and fingers) back in my real life. I’ve missed blogging, but when I was out of town, a story started haunting me. The character would not shut up and I had to work, work, work while it was coming. It’s a tough one – not yet ready for submitting, but I think it has real potential. We shall see.
Facing facts again though — my monthly commitment to update my goals and writing progress on the fifth of each month this year — here we go. (If you’ve missed these posts before, check out last month’s and you’ll find links to the whole rest of the year, for all you schadenfreude fans. )
These were my goals for this past month – my updates will follow each in red type:
Goals for September 5 – October 5
1. Novel – Let it rest. Will be waiting to hear news from agent — if it’s a no, the new submissions can begin in October. If it’s a yes, new revising will begin, I imagine (after I stop happy dancing). Will be workshopping a chapter from the book in Sicily that I’m reframing as a stand-alone short story.
I am still waiting to hear from said agent. I did email her this week, as I remember a lovely editor at Random House telling me that my polite persistence was not only appropriate, but important. I’m not overdoing it. I’ve emailed and now, I’m waiting. Trying to be patient. I like all I see about this agent – I am hoping she is the right person to take my manuscript on the next steps of its journey to your bedside tables. Got great helpful feedback on story I workshopped in Sicily.
2. Submissions – Will aim for getting three more done, but that will only happen if I get that done in the next week (note to self – remember that a calendar can be your friend).
Success! And, I received a rejection this week to prove I’m actually back in submitting mode. Rejections can be your friends, writer. Evidence that you’re doing what you should be. I also applied to a residency after being encouraged to do so by many of the writers I met at Bread Loaf in Sicily.
3. Encouraging Other Writers – I will settle for four blog posts between now and October 5 if that’s all I can manage. I will try to continue being responsive to questions I get. And, in exciting news, I will be leading a roundtable group at my beloved RedBird-RedOak Writing in Milwaukee. The group begins next week. I have found those roundtables so encouraging and so important to my growth as a writer. It thrills me that maybe I can help others there too.
Again, success – I only managed four blog posts this past month, but two of them — the thrum of autumn and dirty laundry, received a lot of traffic and great chatter on facebook. That was quite fun. The roundtable group I’m privileged to lead at RedBird-RedOak Writing is fabulous — we’re reading beautiful poetry, a middle grade novel, several different short stories and a feature story. The variety is marvelous and the kind, supportive, constructive comments from the group makes my job pretty easy.
4. Ongoing Education - Be open to whatever awaits me in Sicily — I’m often surprised by the take-away moments from writer conferences. I have been using a learn Italian app on my IPad and will continue doing that every night until I leave – ongoing education doesn’t only have to apply to writing, right? And, here, so I won’t forget, I will remind myself to look into those Stafford books in October.
I am still “processing” much of what I tried to absorb at Bread Loaf in Sicily. I hope to blog about some of it soon. What surprised me? The intimate nature of the conference created an incredibly rich atmosphere for us literary types — conversations at meals bounced in ways that kept the writers’ brains fired up. It was a hard place to leave. Truly.
My grade for Sept. 5- Oct. 5? I give myself a well-deserved A, finally.
So, for October 12-November 5?
1. Encouraging other writers: Blog – minimum 6 posts here; three at the Lyon Review; work on one for friend’s new blog about novel writing. Touch base with a writer friend (from Tin House) who has a new book out and I’ve dropped the ball for doing a post with her! Yikes.
2. Novel – If haven’t heard from agent in a few more days, email again. Prep email to editor who offered to give me more agent referrals if this one doesn’t work out.
3. Submissions – Aspen story can go out to a few more places. Two flash pieces can go. Check on France essay status – almost ready to go?
4. New writing – Revise story begun last week. Revisit the sisters story. Consider doing revised Nanowrimo next month. Brainstorm those ideas that have been tickling the brain for next novel. Get them down in an electronic file. Reread the second novel again — worth continuing? Make a decision, even if the decision is it still needs to sit another month or two.
5. Ongoing education – Stafford books!! Jeez.
This hasn’t been the easiest New Year’s resolution for me to keep, but putting it out there for you all to see has helped keep me (relatively) on track. When I haven’t kept my goals, I haven’t liked to fess up to that, but this only works with honesty. I will admit though, that I’m pondering if I’ll continue with it next year or not — and, I’m thinking not. But, would love to hear from some of you. Has this exercise been instructive for you? Encouraging? Annoying? Anything else?
Happy #writing one and all!