Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Holidays!

Just a quick update: the photo challenge was a bust. After my last post, I took a few more photos but then never did anything with them. It was fun while it lasted, and I think I will plan to take it a bit more seriously next year, and I might even go back and upload the few photos I did mange to get, but overall, I did not complete the challenge this year.

What can I say, I'm a writer, not a photographer.

More on that in a few days, where I look back at this past year and make plans for the coming one.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and have a safe and happy New Year.

Peace,

Prospective Writer

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Capturing December Photo Challenge

I hope your December is going well. It's been a flurry for me. I can't believe we're almost two weeks into the month. It's flown by.

That being said, I have been able to keep up with the photo challenge I mentioned in the last post. I decided to post them all to my Flickr account, which you can find here: Capturing December.

I'm having a hard time thinking up content for some of the upcoming prompts, but hopefully I'll be able to keep going. I'm almost halfway done! I don't always do one photo a day - just like NaNo, some days I take two or three to make up for a day or two where I took none - but it's easy to catch up when I get behind. I know that's not quite the idea, but it's putting me in a photography frame of mind, which I haven't been in for awhile.

You'll probably notice that the quality of these photos isn't great: I'm using the camera on my phone because it's easier and faster to just send them to my email from there instead of taking out my memory card of my camera each time. Maybe next year I'll take the photos on my nice camera and do a blog with all thirty-one at the end of the month, or upload them once a week or something.

It's been fun. It's been a nice break from writing. I will dive back into writing and editing next month/year, but for now, I like thinking photographically.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Switching Gears in December

My co-worker, Jane's Girl Designs (go check out her blog, btw; it's a lot of fun whether you love crafting or not, she's quite sassy and always entertaining), introduced me to a photo challenge for December. Not that I need another month-long challenge, but I thought this one sounded fun, and even if I don't have my camera with me every day, I can use my phone to take photos.

I miss taking photos. I got quite good at it for awhile there, but I've gotten out of practice.

So, in December, I'm switching gears from writing to photography. It's a different part of the brain, but my writing side of the brain needs a break.

Besides, this is a great time of year to take photos. I'm excited about this.

I haven't decided if I'll post the pictures here or elsewhere, or if I'll do a post once a week or daily. Check back if you want to see how it's going. I'll at least link here if I do post them elsewhere.

Here's The Challenge List. Let me know if you decide to do it, too, and we can compare photos!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nanowrimo and the Lottery

National Novel Writing Month is drawing to a close. As long as I manage to write 5,000 more words by midnight on Friday, I will put another win under my belt.

It was rough for awhile there, but I pulled through and I'm no longer worried I won't hit the finish line.

Time will tell if I ever actually finish the novel itself, though, or if it'll even be worth editing. I'll admit to being a little disappointed because my novel this year isn't the level of writing I know I am capable of. I know it's Nano so of course it's going to be a hot mess, but my novel last year was really pretty good. I worked a lot harder on it, I think. Plus I had written a novel right before it, as well, so I had gotten all the Nano slop out of my system.

I usually pride myself in writing better every year, so it does make me a little sad that I didn't meet that goal this time around.

In other news, the Powerball Lottery just hit its highest jackpot in history: over $550 million. Needless to say, like almost everyone else in the nation, I've bought myself some tickets.

I'm totally going to quit my job first thing tomorrow.

Hah. Not really. Even if I did win, I don't think I'd quit right away.

There are a few things I would do, though.

Well, very first I'd find a good lawyer and figure out logistics. Lump sum or annuity? Open a new bank account or use one I already have? Invest? If so, in what? Hire someone to invest for me? Who do you even trust to do that?

Second, I'd trade in my car for something I actually want to drive. Something that fits my needs better.

Third, I'd start looking for a house. A dream house. I'd probably buy out the rest of my current apartment lease and find something nicer to live in for awhile, until the right house comes along - a place closer to the Boyfriend's and preferably no shared walls.

Next, I'd take care of my family. Mostly, I'd try to settle up any debts they have. Give them a clean slate. For my nuclear family, I'd make sure they all had homes they loved and a good nest egg that they could either invest or spend as they saw fit.

After that, I'd arrange an extensive trip across Europe. I've been meaning to get over there for about a decade. I will finally have the time and the money to do it!

From there my ideas become a bit more abstract.

I think I'd get a part time job. Something fun and rewarding. I'd lose my mind if I didn't work at all, and as much as I like the idea of being a full time writer, I'm not ready to dive into that yet.


For awhile, I've been kicking around the idea of starting a small press to publish aspiring writers. With all of my submitting lately, I've learned a lot about them and discovered that they have an awesome - if not very glamorous life. Usually that kind of endeavor requires money and time to focus solely on that project. If I didn't have to worry about money, I could devote my time and cash to something like that. I wouldn't dive right into it - I have a lot more research to do on it and I'm not quite ready to be an editor full time yet - but it's something I'd like to do within the next ten years.

My most ambitious endeavor would be to dive into the world of business ownership. Call me insane, but I'd like to open a coffee shop. I know, there are about a thousand of them where I live already. But this one would be kind of a writer's retreat type deal. This month during Nano, it's been difficult to find places to sit for hours to write and drink coffee that has enough space for all of us and is opened all hours of the night. I'd love to buy/rent a great big building and fill it full of large, round tables and little clusters of comfortable couches and chairs, with lots of power outlets, maybe have a couple of meeting rooms people can reserve. And I'd serve coffee and snacks 24 hours a day. I'd probably have a small shop/gallery section dedicated to local authors/artists, too, and maybe a stage for local musicians. We do have a coffee shop kind of similar to this here in town, but they are pretty religious focused and there's not much seating for big groups. The hiring process for my baristas would be easy but selective: make me your favorite espresso drink. Those who make the best drinks get the job. And I'd pay them well for their art.

Because I could afford to if I won that much money.

Basically, I want to give back to the community that has supported me and my writing and coffee and book buying habits for the last ten years.

Anyways. This entry has gotten quite long. I apologize for updating so infrequently. Hopefully in the months to come I will have more time to dedicate to my writing career, and also this blog to document that dedication!

Thanks for reading. Hopefully talk to you soon.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What's This Life For?

I'm having a rough night/day/week/month/year.

This is a long, whiny post, so read at your own risk.

Over the years I have come to terms with the fact that I am not a very flexible person. When things don't go as I expected or I have to change my plans at the last minute, I tend to freak out more than is strictly necessary.

It's led to a lot of issues with stress, depression and anxiety throughout my life. I do various things to manage these three things, but lately, I've sort of lost my handle on them all.

I'm having a bit of an identity crises these days...and the boyfriend, while being incredibly supportive of everything that i do...doesn't really understand.

Not sure anyone else will, either, really, but I'm going to try to explain where I'm coming from and why, suddenly, tonight, I am ready to give up everything I've been working for these last few years.

Ever since I graduated from college, back in 2006, I've been jumping from admin support job to admin support job at the University, never staying in any one department for more than a couple of years, all the while thinking, planning, anticipating the "next big thing," whatever that might be, that would get me out of higher ed. I applied to grad schools, odd writing/editing jobs, and when all of that failed, for awhile thought I was going to pick up and move 3000 miles to do a certificate program in a field I thought I was well-suited for.

All the while trying to write novels, mind you. Crappy novels that will never see the light of day, and a couple of pathetic short stories that read like fan fiction.

I expected that someday, maybe in my mid 40s, I would write a semi-decent novel and make some money off of it - enough that I could write a few more novels and eventually quit my day job.

But I knew I'd probably keep some form of day job until retirement age.

I fixated on editing as that day job. And for that, I needed some education.

I finally gave up on moving to Seattle and settled for an online certificate program offered through UC Berkeley. One of the best online schools out there, I might add.

So there I was, August of this year, excited because I had two novels ready to be edited, several short stories out for submission and one had been accepted, and about to begin my education that would start me on the path to my dream job as a freelance editor.

And then it happened: the beginning of the end.

I knew almost right away that things were not going to go exactly as I had hoped. By the second assignment, I realized I do not have an aptitude for editing, and I basically hate grammar.

Not only do I hate it, but I'm also bad at it. Like, embarrassingly abysmal. We've had our first couple of sentence-level editing assignments, and I have barely passed. The slop I turned in for tonight's assignment is barely recognizable as English.

And here I thought I was supposed to be good with words.

Nope.

So now, I'm not only doubting my ability fix a disaster of a sentence, I'm beginning to doubt my ability to craft a coherent sentence. My writing must be horrible. I have dangling modifiers and split infinitives and comma splice galore in my novels. I'm not even sure, even after almost three months of class, that I know what all of that means.

I've already had my doubts about my ability to make a career out of writing. You've all read my dubious posts about that. But now it seems as if I was wrong about my being well suited as an editor, as well.

And so I stand under a scorching stream of hot water in the shower and cry because I have no idea what to do with my life, and I'm buried beneath my feelings of being trapped at a dead end job as administrative support for higher ed for the next 26 years until I can retire.

It's hard to complain because I have a good, solid job that pays well. The people I work with are fine, for the most part. The work is boring but not difficult. I'm good at it. I get to help people, which I enjoy, so there's some job satisfaction.

It's just so mind-numbing most days and I'm so far from where I want to be in my life. By the end of a 40 hour work week, all I want to do is come home and sleep or zone out to the TV.

I know it could be so much worse. I have a job, when so many people don't. I can pay my bills. I'm saving for retirement. I can actually afford to further my education. Not only that, but I have an amazing group friends, a loving family, a phenomenal boyfriend, I'm healthy, I'm still fairly young, and I have a lot of potential to do a lot of different things and the time to do them if I'm so inclined.

So why do I feel so defeated? So completely miserable? Why can't I be happy with all of the amazing things I have in my life?

What am I supposed to do with myself? Especially when I feel this way?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Realized and Unrealized

I've been quiet. I apologize for the silence. It was the sort of silence that occurs when you take a breath and hold it.

I feel like I've been holding my breath. Waiting to exhale, as it were.

I've finally heard back from all but a couple of my previous batch of short story submissions, and none of the news has been good. I had my one lucky break, and now I starting to feel very far away from my dreams again.

I'll keep at it, of course. Even as I fought with myself whether to send the same stories back out or not, I researched markets and sent them today. I keep plugging away, expecting rejections and not acceptances now.

I've lowered my sights a little bit, too. Instead of choosing by highest paying market, I'm aiming for exposure instead, so I'm targeting markets with higher acceptance rates. Smart or stupid business practice, I don't really know, but honestly I just want my stories out there. The money (at this point) doesn't matter.

Someday, of course, I'd love to support myself solely on writing. But I'm not dedicated enough to the craft yet. I'm still learning. I'm still feeling my way through the process. I still need to learn how to edit longer manuscripts.

This past year has been a lot of trial and error and revamping of my writing goals. I've written at least one flash fiction story every month over the past year. I've learned how to edit shorter works. I've learned how the submission process works. I'm also figuring out what I want.

So while I'm falling short of a lot of my goals this year, I realize that it's because they were unrealistic. Or uneducated. Not because I'm not capable.

I won't give up. Not again. That's one of my goals for the up and coming year: no quitting. But I have accepted that there will be slumps. And that I might feel like quitting sometimes.

Looking forward, I probably won't be submitting anything else for awhile after this current round I just sent out: it's time to focus on National Novel Writing Month and try remember how to write novels. I've been a short story writer this year, and while I'm nervous to put my noveling pants back on, I think it's time.

I just hope flash fiction hasn't ruined my ability to tell a story in more than 1000 words!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Feeling Famous, Impatient, and Excited

Well, for only having one flash fiction story in one anthology out, I am feeling pretty famous.

I've been mentioned on two blogs (R.L. Naquin's and K.R. Smith's), I've had over a dozen people tell me they've bought the book, several of my friends (writing and otherwise) have posted links to the book on their own Facebook walls, and I have a whopping 58 likes on my Facebook page! I'm not very good at self-promotion, but this has been a blast and everyone has been so incredibly supportive. All of this and it's only a 1000 word story in a publication's first anthology.

I can't wait for the day I sell an actual book. The internet might explode. All thanks to the amazing support of my friends, family, and writing peers. I'm starting to understand how it's possible for people to be successful at self-publication.

I'm nowhere near ready to publish a book though. Much to my chagrin, when my friend told me about Harper Voyager accepting unagented manuscripts for two weeks in October. Oh how I wish one month was enough time for me to whip one of my novels into shape. Harper Voyager is the sci-fi/fantasy imprint of Harper Collins, which as you probably know is one of the big names in publishing. This is a cool little project they are doing where they're looking to showcase new talent via ebook.

If only I had known about it a month or so ago. However, I think this trend will start becoming more and more popular with the big publishing houses. The market is making a huge shift, and these big houses have to adapt to keep up. So hopefully this won't be a one-time thing. I have a novel or two I think would fit with their other authors (which include George R. R. Martin, Raymond E. Feist, Robin Hobb, Sara Douglass, and Peter V. Brett).

In other news, my submission rate has stagnated as I sit waiting to hear back on 7 stories and a collection of 13-word flash fiction. Of course, one of those is Tor.com, which I don't expect to hear back from until around this time next year. But some of the others are a little past due, and I'm too shy to query them. I'm getting impatient.

I also haven't written anything new in awhile. I'm working on this month's flash fiction for the Confabulator Cafe, but I'm having trouble putting it together. I have a fabulous idea, but I can't make it work. Something is missing from it and I can't figure out what.

I've got a couple of ideas for National Novel Writing Month percolating, though. I'm getting excited. I am a bit out of practice, writing anything longer than 1000 words, but I'm looking forward to it. I wrote around 162,000 words for two novels last year and burned myself out pretty badly, but I think I'm ready to try again.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Shadows of the Mind Anthology

Shadows of the Mind
Last week was a tough week, and I apologize for the lack of updates. I've now successfully lived through the two year anniversary of my Mom's passing. For some reason this year was more difficult than the year before. I'm not sure why that is, but I've been in a funk for weeks. I just didn't have it in me to do any updating.

HOWEVER!

I am excited to update you all today, because I have BIG NEWS!

The Shadows of the Mind anthology, put out by Trinity Gateways, featuring my short story "Who's For Dinner?" is now available for purchase on Amazon.

My first book is for sale! On Amazon! My name is in the list of featured authors!

I've been close to hyperventilating since I got the email. I am so excited I could pee my pants. Especially after the three cups of coffee I drank this morning.

But I won't.

I've added this to my Read My Stuff page. It doesn't look so naked now! Right now the only version available for purchase is the Kindle ebook. I've been told that a printed copies as well as an EPUB version will be available sometime in the coming weeks. 

I have to thank all of the brilliant folks at the Confabulator Cafe and all of my writing buddies (including Jessi!) for this. Without them, without the huge project that is the Confabulator Cafe, this story never would have come into being, and I never would have been brave enough to start submitting my work.

You guys are amazing. You are my heroes and my family. I am so happy to know you and be involved in such an awesome group. This is your win as much as it is mine. Thank you for all of your support!

Also, a big thanks goes out to my actual family for always believing in me and supporting me. Emily, Aron, Daddy-o, I love you guys.

The biggest thanks, though, goes out to my boyfriend, Jack Campbell, Jr.  He's the one who helped me figure out the end to this particular story. He's the one that has led by example by endlessly submitting everything he's written until it gets accepted. I never would have began submitting if it weren't for his support and encouragement. I love you, Jack.

I'm officially a published writer!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Super Long Shot

I am behind.

I suppose as a writer whose full time job is not being a writer, that happens sometimes. The reason I'm worried about it is because I'm behind on an assignment for the Confabulator Cafe. Other people are counting on me there, so it's not my own success that's on the line.

But I have no plans tonight, so I will buckle down and get it finished.

It's a story for flash fiction week next week, and the reason it's late, aside from the fact that I just haven't worked on it, is because I really like it. It's like, one of my favorite things I've started writing all year, and it has so much potential to be awesome, that I'm thinking about it too much. I need to just drink a glass of wine, let go, and finish writing it. There are major changes I'd like to make some day, but I can clean it up and edit it for submission later on down the line.

I need to finish what I started first.

In other news, I took a huge gamble today. Well, truly it wasn't a gamble at all, because I don't have anything to lose, really. I submitted a story that I wrote almost ten years ago and have spent at least once a year every year in that amount of time polishing it. It has been sitting there on my hard-drive all that time, wanting to be told, and I had resigned it to something I might someday self publish.

Instead, I decided to clean it up one more time - polish it within an inch of its life - and submit it to Tor.com.

See? Insane crazy long shot. They receive hundreds upon hundreds (maybe even thousands) of submissions a year, and I'm not confident this story is good enough to be part of the Tor catalog, even if it's only an online short story version of Tor. It's still freaking Tor.

Tor. One of the big names in sci-fi and fantasy.

I decided, though, that it was better in their hands than doing nothing on my computer. The only drawback is that now I have to wait around eight months or more to receive the likely rejection.

That's ok, though. I have lots of other projects to keep me occupied while I wait.

Wish me luck. Check back in about a year to see whatever came of it!

http://www.tor.com/

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Promo Day - My Wine Education and Page-Turning Tips




It's Tuesday, which means it's Promo Day! This is where I plug the two other blogs I hang out on every week.

At the Cafe this week, the Confabulators are talking about how we keep readers turning the page. It's our jobs as writers to write compelling stories so readers stay engaged, and we all have different suggestions on how to do that. My suggestion? Just Write Awesomely.

Over at Red Wine Reminiscence, I talk about the night I received my red wine education from my sister's roommate. There's a lot to learn about wine - I'm still learning - and she gave me a place to start. It's too bad that the Senda 66 wasn't a very delicious start. But at least I ended up with a pretty bottle from it.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the posts, and see you Friday!

Friday, August 17, 2012

I'm All Sorts of Official Now

I've been toying with the idea of creating an author/writer page on Facebook for awhile. It seemed silly, though, since I didn't exactly have any publishing credits, and short of plugging the Confabulator Cafe and this website, I didn't have much to post about.

Now, my very first published work will be available for purchase at the end of this month (I'll share the details as soon as I have them). Also, at the rate I am submitting stories, hopefully I'll have another credit or two to add to that soon. So I thought to myself, "self, you deserve an author page, now that you've gotten a paying writing gig."

And so my official FB author page was born this week: Sara E. Lundberg.

I am up to 10 whole likes already. Woohoo!

I still need to take some time to figure out how to promote it and link it so people can find me easily, and I need to work on adding content (it's a bit naked right now), but it's a start. Oh, and eventually need to make new business cards with the FB page address. Argh! I still have over 200 from my last batch. I don't give too many out.

This whole self-promotion thing is a strange beast. It feels weird for me to do. It's against my nature, really, to brag about myself and my accomplishments. I'm not exactly modest - I'm a writer, after all, which in and of itself begs for attention - but my self confidence level isn't quite high enough to put myself out there in these ways. I have to push myself to do it, and always wonder if I'm going too far.

At any rate, that's my big news this week.

Well, actually my big big news this week was receiving payment through Paypal for my story! It was a small, token amount (I can't even buy a gallon of gas with it) but I am ridiculously excited that I got my first "paycheck" for writing. Teehee. I'm officially a paid writer.

This is really happening.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Promo Day - Wine Flashback and Life Events

This week at the Confabulator Cafe we all talked about life events that changed our writing. I've talked about how losing my mom two years ago affected my writing before, but I explored how various life events, including death, affect a writer a little more in Writers are Clay, Life is the Mold. It's been very interesting to read what life events have shaped my fellow Confabulator's writing, as well.

I haven't been drinking as much wine lately - I was on antibiotics for a week so I couldn't drink at all, and I've been trying to cut back to once a week, so I had to unearth some wine stories from a few years ago for Red Wine Reminiscence this past week. It's a good story, though, about one of my favorite wines: The Chupacabra from Merkin Vineyards.

Hopefully this Friday's post will actually go up on Friday, unlike last week where I accidentally saved it as a draft instead of publishing it. I've been having blogger interruptus lately. I apologize, friends. Thanks for your patience.

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Journey Continues: More Rejections, More Practice, and a Book Plug

You remember how I said my first story rejection didn't bother me much? That I just shrugged it off?

Well I've gotten a couple more since then, and each one stings a bit more than the last. For awhile, my stats on Duotrope (the awesome, free website that writers can use to find markets and track their submissions) showed my accept rate as 50%. I had one story rejected, and one story accepted.

I'm at 25% now, because I haven't had any more accepted.

I know I got really lucky (although I like to think my intensive market research paid off, too) getting the second story I ever submitted accepted, but it also spoiled me a bit. I expect better results of myself now.

Although at the same time I'm glad I did get an acceptance, otherwise it's possible I might have gotten discouraged and given up by now.

As it is, I'm still cleaning old stuff up and submitting it, trying to write new stuff, finding backup markets for stuff that's out so I can immediately turn it around when it's rejected, and actually looking into bigger markets. Semi-pro to pro markets.

I'm also getting excited about editing something longer than a short story. I've got a 20k short that I'm going to polish next. I think I'm ready for it.

And after that? Well, practice makes perfect (hah), but more importantly, practice builds confidence.

With each story, I'm getting closer to being ready to tackle my novel.

My goal is to have a novel ready to start querying by the beginning of next year. This has been my year of short stories. It was supposed to be mostly editing, but it's taken me a bit more time to figure out how the heck to do that. I don't see it as much of a setback. I see it more as me having to reassess my goals based on new knowledge.

The editing classes I'm taking starting in September should also help. Hopefully. It'll be interesting to try to write a Nanowrimo novel, where you have to suspend the internal editor, while taking an editing class.

Speaking of Nanowrimo, I was contacted by the public library, and they want to do some programming for NaNo this year! I'm thrilled to death they want to get the word out about it and host some events and write-ins for us. This year is going to be legendary.

I'm getting so excited for Nano, in fact, that I've started buying items for survival kits. Really, that is one of my favorite parts about being ML: putting together kits filled with goodies for the participants. Well, being ML in general is my favorite part, but spoiling my Wrimos is a big part of that. I really do love to share my passion and excitement for writing with everyone.

I just hope I'm able to write a novel this year. I'm still having trouble writing anything longer than a short story. I had planned on giving Camp Nanowrimo another shot this month, but that was an epic misfire. It was a week into August before I even realized it.

But I'm a writer. That's what I do. In November, I write novels. I always get nervous about it, which is usually unfounded. My mind knows what to do. I just have to make the time to do it.

Anyway. It's been a long and twisted path, this road to becoming a published writer. I've always known it would be, but I've found that the twists and turns are less scary as I'm winding through them than when I was looking at them from afar. It doesn't seem as insurmountable now. It's almost like, when I first started this journey, I kept thinking I had to jump across this huge chasm from unpolished writer to published writer. Turns out, it's more like building a bridge. I'm putting a slat down for each step I take.

Although I have to admit, the road has been much easier with R.L. Naquin forging the way ahead of me first and calling back to me along the way, warning me of pitfalls.

Well, and the excitement (and work) of success. Her first novel, Monster in my Closet, came out at the end of last month. You should go buy it if you haven't yet. It's a super fast, fun read. I laughed, I cried, and I fell in love with all of the characters.

Rachel truly is an inspiration to me. She's part of the reason I've come as far as I have on this journey.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Promo Day Plug - Italian Wine and Breakups

Everything seems to be back on track this week, so here I am for promo day. Check me out at my other internet homes.

At the Confabulator Cafe this week, the question was asked if we've ever quit. If you've ever been a reader of my blog, you know that I have. More than once. I always come back, but usually when I "quit" I'm convinced I'm forever broken. Prospective Writer reminds me that I'm not. I recognize my cycles now: My Break-up/Make-up Cycle, which I address at the Cafe today.

At Red Wine Reminiscence, I review a delicious bottle of Italian wine, which was kind of an impulse buy, but one that totally paid off. This has been one of my favorites so far. I might have to explore more Italian wines. They aparently have the wine reputation they do for a reason! Check it out: Villa Parini - 2010 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo.

Holy crap, I've had too much coffee today. I seem to be vibrating.

I'm excited because I have a writing date with the Writing Buddy tonight! I'm hoping to get a brand new short story knocked out.

I should be back for my regularly scheduled Friday post this week. Hope to see you then!

Friday, August 3, 2012

No post today

Due to illness, there will be no Friday post this week. I will try to get a wine review up on Red Wine Reminiscence on Sunday if I'm feeling better.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wine Stories

It's Promo Day! The day I plug my other internet hangouts.

It's a wine-y week this week.

It's flash fiction week at the Confabulator Cafe, and our assignment this time was to write a story taking place in one room (and only one room) of a cyber Manor we are building. We are putting it together room by room, story by story, year by year. I wrote my story in the wine cellar in 1855. Check out "Bloody Wine" if you're in the mood for a quick story.

On Sunday at Red Wine Reminiscence, I wrote about a fancy French Cotes-du-Rhone wine I drank the night of a great catastrophe. I don't care how well it goes with a turkey dinner, I think I might be giving up on Cotes-du-Rhone from now on. It makes for a good story, in hindsight, although I can't tell you much about how the wine actually tasted. Go read about it!

I'll be back Friday.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Slumps and Success

I go through cycles with blog posts where I get really motivated and get ahead, knocking out posts for weeks in advance, to the extreme opposite of not being able to blog even if my life depended on it.

The same goes for writing.

I'm in a bit of a slump right now. I'm having trouble writing, and I'm unhappy with the stuff I've been coming up with. I've realized it's all part of the process, but it's frustrating, none the less. I wish I could be creatively inspired all the time. But luckily I have things like this blog and my writing group that keep me writing even when I don't want to.

The more my writing group makes me write, the more material I have to submit. I still try to submit every couple of weeks. I haven't been writing anything in addition to my Confabulator Cafe flash fiction stories, but I've been cleaning up old flash assignments and sending them in.

And now for my exciting news! One of those flash fiction stories that I cleaned up and submitted has been accepted for publication. I don't have many details yet, but it will appear in this publication's first anthology. I've signed the contract and they will be paying me a quarter of a cent per word. Just a token payment, not nearly professional yet, but I'm so excited that one of my stories is going to be published. I did it!!

I've been comparing story submission to gambling addiction, and I just hit a jackpot. A small one, but just enough to keep me gambling. I need to keep writing and keep submitting.

Once I know more about the anthology, I'll let you know!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Philosophical Questions and Cabernet Sauvignon

Hello, friends. It's promo day today, where I encourage you to check out the other two blogs I hang out on every week.

This week at the Confabulator Cafe, we're being introspective. Although as writers, I guess we always are. This week we answer the big question, though. The question we ask ourselves almost every day, and a lot of people want to ask us, as well. Why do we write? The simple answer for me was that I Write So My Head Doesn't Explode. Pretty serious consequence, but it's true. Probably. Too many thoughts, too small of a head.

On Sunday, Red Wine Reminiscence had a brief post about the Castle Rock Cabernet Sauvignon I tried a month or so ago. The story that goes with it wasn't too exciting, nor was the wine, although I still do have fond memories of the Castle Rock Zinfandel I loved so much.

Hope you come back and see me on Friday. I have some super exciting news to share with you! I promise to post on time this week. I know I was very late last week, although there is the old saying "better late than never."

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Confabulator Cafe Mafia

Tonight was a night of mixed emotions.

Over the past year, my writing group has become more than just some people I write with now and then, and have become much more like family. We encourage and support each other, we're brutally honest in our beta reads, we feed off of each other's success and bolster each other when we have our own.

We always have lots of exciting and new things going on, but this month, there are two particular things, one great, and one very sad.

Tonight we had a little pre-release party for our first published novelist, R.L. Naquin. Her first book comes out July 30th from Carina Press (go pre-order it)! We're all very excited and proud of her.

But this party had another purpose. One of our family members is moving away at the end of this month, so it was also a farewell party. He'll still be with us at the Confabulator Cafe, but our monthly meetings and drinking nights will definitely feel his absence.

And so our group evolves yet again. That's sort of how life works, I know, but it's never easy. The internet enables us to never be very far away from our friends and family, though. The Cafe unites us, and really, it's a bit like the Mafia. Once you are part of the family, you never get out. You can move away, but you can't escape us. Maybe someday we'll have branches of our family all across the US (we already have one in Texas, an honorary member in Washington, and now we're conquering Virginia).

But the Confabulator Cafe will always be home. And these writers will always be my family.

Congratulations, Rachel, and best of luck to you, Larry.

You bet we had cake! (photo by Dave Dehetre)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Time for more Wine and Writing Advice

Missed posting my promo day post yesterday, so here you go:

Read all about best and worst writing advice received from all of us over at the Confabulator Cafe. There's quite a range of opinions, some of them dissenting. As always. My advice? Just Write.

Over at Red Wine Reminiscence, I reminisced about a bottle of Columbia Crest Syrah, which I drank on a night while video chatting with my best friend. We're talking about making more frequent video drinking dates in the future, which should be a lot of fun.

Come see me again on Friday for more about my life as an aspiring writer!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Finally Getting To It

Does loving school make me a nerd? (photo)
This as been an incredibly exciting week for me.

After months of stagnation, where I didn't even update my blogs let alone write anything, things are finally moving again. I feel like I am back to making progress towards some of my goals.

First - I am officially enrolled in an online grammar and mechanics for editors class at UC Berkeley. If all goes well, I will earn their Professional Sequence in Editing certificate over the next four semesters. The program starts in September, and while I am extremely nervous and a bit trepidatious about my ability to do school after sitting out for so long, I am also so excited that I have already purchased my textbooks.

Second - I found out today that one of the stories I submitted to a publication has made it through their first round of cuts. Of course, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm in - they had over 200 submissions and they can only take about 15 stories - but that means it was good enough for them to give it a second look. I actually assumed it was a rejection when I first saw it, and I had to read it twice to realize it wasn't!

Third - This may be a bit premature, and I reserve the right to revoke ever mentioning this, but I think I might be ready to start editing my novel, Online Dating for Demons. I've been thinking a lot about the world lately and how much the inconsistencies are bothering me to the point where I really want to fix them. I did some preliminary note-taking on changes I need to make, and I am about to start following R.L. Naquin's index card method. I haven't ever significantly edited anything this long before, so I have no process to speak of. Which means I will be stealing hers to start with.

That's it for now, but I think that's plenty. I'm excited. I'm feeling good about writing and editing. I'm daring to hope that my dreams may someday become a reality if I keep working at it.

The only discouraging part is trying to be patient. I wish I could just put on a good song, montage through all of the hard parts, and then when the song is over, I'd be a wildly successful writer and editor.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Some Port with your Subplots

It's Tuesday, so that means it's my day at the Confabulator Cafe. The topic this week is the importance of subplots in longer fiction. I think all of us are in agreement that subplots are pretty crucial. I mean, you could eat just a hamburger, but it's better with french fries and a soda. Or I suppose if you are a healthy eater, you wouldn't want to eat a salad with just lettuce. It's better with other veggies and dressing and some croutons, maybe a little shredded or feta cheese...ehem. I'm making myself hungry. At any rate, go take a look at my post "A story isn't just vanquishing foes and saving the world" at the Cafe. Be sure to read the other posts this week to see how the rest of the crew uses subplots.

While you're at the Cafe, you should check out some of our new site functionality. We have a tab that links to all of the different post categories, so if you want to go read all of the Ephemera answers we've ever posted, you can hover over the "Categories" tab to pick which category you want to see more from.

Even better, if you want to just read the flash fiction we've posted, you can hover over the "Flash Fiction" tab and select which story prompt you want to read. It lists all of the stories by name and author for that week.

The Cafe has been open for six months now! I'm so proud of all of our contributors and that we're still going strong and always making improvements.

This past Sunday, I wrote about my first experience trying Port wine over at Red Wine Reminiscence. I wasn't much of a fan, and I'm not sure if it had to do with the wine selection - the Founders Reserve Sandeman Porto -  or port in general. I'm not sure if I'm brave enough to try again. Sadly, even over a month later, we still haven't finished the bottle. We even tried to pawn it off on our guests on Father's Day. I should have just sent it home with my Dad. He liked it, at least.

I've been enjoying the wine blogging as much as the wine drinking. It's given me a chance to practice my photography skills, as well. I've been having fun coming up with artistic shots. This photo contains the boyfriend's awesome wine rack.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Camp got Rained Out

Image borrowed from here
So my attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo this year was a complete wash. I wrote less than three-thousand words, which is way shy of even the thirty-thousand I had lowered my goal to halfway through June.

June was not a good month to write a novel.

I'm trying not to let that bother me too much. I did get a lot of brainstorming for the idea done, and the first scene is written. The foundation is there.

I think the biggest problem I ran into wasn't so much that I didn't want to write, I just never made time and when I did I wasn't highly motivated. I like my idea. But the foundation isn't solid. It's a sequel to Monsters of Lawrence, and Monsters of Lawrence is still barely a Zero Draft, so it was tough to keep writing in a world where I still need to fix a few flaws and figure out what actually happened and what is going to be cut out and therefore never happened.

Anyway, my main concern with not getting very far last month is that it was my second Office of Letters and Light sponsored event that I totally bombed. Anyone remember Script Frenzy? I wrote one whole sentence for that before I quit.

I failed Script Frenzy, failed Camp NaNo, so I can't help but feel a bit of concern for this November. Will I be able to write a fifty-thousand word novel later this year, what with all the writing interruptus I've experienced so far?

I do not, however, consider the month of June a waste. Not in the slightest. In fact, as I mentioned couple of weeks ago, I hit a major milestone. My first submission! It was something I always feared, and now that I have done it, I am actually kind of addicted to it.

I even got my first rejection today, and instead of crushing me, I just frowned, shrugged, and then found another publication to submit it to. I know it's a good story. I just have to find the right market.

I'm no longer a submission virgin. I know I've been a writer this whole time, but somehow, this makes me feel like a really real writer now.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thoughts on Writer's Block and Wine

My posts for the week are up at both the Confabulator Cafe and Red Wine Reminiscence!

At the Cafe, read about why I think writer's block is a real phenomenon in my post The Semantics of Writer's Block. Be sure to check back all week to see what the rest of my writing group has to say about it; the opinions vary drastically.

When you're done, you can read the much lighter review over on my wine blog of one of my new favorite wines, the Lomas del Valle 2010 Malbec.

Come back here and visit me on Friday, where I'll talk about how Camp NaNoWriMo got rained out for me, but how the month wasn't a total bust.

Friday, June 29, 2012

I Heart Flash Fiction

I love flash fiction more and more every month that we write it at the Confabulator Cafe.

I love being able to tell a full story in a quick little bite. Deciding exactly what details belong and which ones don't matter enough to be left in. I love to play with word choice. It's easier to work on the crafting of sentences when you only have 1,000 words to make them with.

It's also given me the opportunity to explore my darker side. The thing about horror is that reading (and writing) an entire horror novel can be exhausting. It takes a lot out of a reader and a writer to have to constantly maintain that suspense and continually add more horrifying things. In a short story, you don't have to sustain it for long, so it can be short and intense and then you can put it down.

Every time I sit down to write flash fiction, I'm worried my idea will be awful or won't work, and some weeks I don't get it done until the night before it goes live. But I'm four for four now and I'm happy with every story I've written. It's given me a lot of confidence in my ability to write. And even edit, since I have to be so meticulous when it comes to a 1,000 word story.

One of the best parts is, I am developing a portfolio of short stories, so I've been able to pick my best ones and start sending them out to anthologies. It's great practice, and once a writer has something published, it's easier to get the next thing published. Not to mention, submission is a goal I've had for years. Now I've finally done it. Twice!

The last part that I love about it isn't so much about me or my writing career, it's about my love of reading. I love to see what stories come out of the minds of my fellow writers. They just blow me away every week. And I find the stories ever so much more enjoyable knowing the faces and the personalities behind the tales.

Maybe after a year or so of all of us doing flash fiction, we can collect all of our stories and put them in an anthology of our own. I'd love to found the Confabulator Press someday.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spooky Stories and a Lovely Bottle of Zinfandel

Today is the day I promote my other blogs, so let the shameless self-promotion begin!

I need a picture or icons or something for promo day. I'll work on that for next time.

So it's my favorite week of the month at the Confabulator Cafe. Flash fiction week! Once a month we all get a writing prompt and have to write a short story in 1000 words, give or take. This month our prompt was to write campfire stories; the kind of spooky stories you would tell while sitting around a campfire. So far, my fellow writers have managed to scare the bejesus out of me, so if you're up for a case of the chills, head on over to the Cafe and read the stories so far, including my story "The Fools on the Hill." Make sure to stop in all week for your daily cup of horror from the rest of the Confabulators, as well.


On Sunday, I posted about one of my favorite bottles of wine so far: the Castle Rock 2006 Zinfandel. It was a gift from my best buddy on my birthday. My only regret about this bottle is that I didn't crack it open sooner! And that it is all gone now; this wine was consumed in less than a week. To learn more about the bottle (and my birthday hi-jinks) head on over to Red Wine Reminiscence.



Friday, June 22, 2012

A New Addiction

Photo borrowed from here

I did it! I finally did it!!

I submitted my first story to be considered for a publication.

I've been meaning to do this since January and I've been dragging my feet, but I finally got myself together, did some market research using the brilliant website Duotrope and found an anthology that I thought was a good match for one of my short stories.

And it felt so good to finally submit something, that I did a bit more digging yesterday, and submitted another short story to a different publication yesterday afternoon.

I think I might be a little bit addicted to submission now. It's terrifying and exhilarating and I know there is a good chance of rejection, but a little hope is definitely dangerous. Right now I'm riding on a high, although I'm trying to not get my hopes up too much. Part of submission is rejection, so I am attempting to steel myself for the worst.

The thing is, though, is that I am stubborn. If someone thinks I can't do something, I dig in my feet and throw myself into proving them wrong. So maybe, just maybe, a rejection won't completely crush me. It might just empower me.

Throughout this process, I have made a couple of decisions.

The first is that I need to keep writing more short stories. That's where my head is these days and that's where I'm having the best results. The Confabulator Cafe has done wonders for my ability to tell a story in a short space. I would like to try to write a short story on my own in addition to the Cafe's flash fiction assignment every month. Mostly because a lot of places won't consider work that's already been published, and some presses consider sharing a story on your website publishing.

The second decision I made is that along with writing a short story a month, I must submit at least one short story a month. Since most publications take at minimum two to three months to let you know if your submission has been accepted, if I submit a story a month, in three months I should start hearing back every month.

I'm impatient and like immediate results. I need to use writing and submission as a distraction so I don't become overwhelmed and obsessed waiting for results.

I will let you all know the results as soon as I receive them! Good or bad. I might need help dusting off my pride if/when I get rejected.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Poetry and Wine


It's Tuesday, and that means it's my day over at the Confabulator Cafe. Come see what I have to say about poetry (and stick around all week to see what my fellow Confabulators have to say, as well) in my post called What Rhymes with Poetry?

And if you find yourself thirsty, you can read about my latest wine conquest that I wrote about on Sunday at Red Wine Reminiscence, in my entry about the Sabor Real 2008 Toro.

Because poetry and wine go together pretty well, in my opinion.

Even if I didn't particularly like the bottle I reviewed, and my favorite book of poetry is Zombie Haiku.

According to my new regime, I should be back here on Friday, so I hope to see you then!

Friday, June 15, 2012

No more broken promises

I know I've made promises in the past about blogging more frequently, but as you may have noticed, I've never actually followed through.

I'm about to try once again to be a more active blogger.

These days I have three different websites where I live. One of them is here at Prospective Writer, albeit not as actively lately. I can be found a little more actively (in fits and starts) over on my wine blog: Red Wine Reminiscence. I try to post once a week on Sundays, although sometimes it is a month or two between strings of posts. And the last, most notable place where you are guaranteed to see me every week is over at the Confabulator Cafe. I blog every Tuesday at 11am at the Cafe.

That's three places where I hang out in cyberspace, so if I wrote a blog for each site week, you would get three touches from me each week.

My hope is to link to the wine blog and the Cafe from this website, so this one gets a bit more action.

I have my reasons for doing this, mostly because if I am required to write a personal writing blog once a week, it keeps me a bit more accountable. I should do at least one thing a week to make further steps towards my goal as a professional writer. I've stagnated lately, and I feel like it's time to get back to it.

The other reason is, I am a huge nerd, and just ordered Confabulator Cafe business cards. I decided after writing down the web address for the Cafe on slips of paper on two separate occasions, it was time to get more professional. On this business card, I also include the links to my other websites.

If I am going to start promoting my sites, I'd best start reliably providing content.

So the goal will be to post a wine blog review on Sundays, my weekly spot at the Confabulator Cafe on Tuesdays, and an update on my progress here on Fridays.

See you soon, friends. Be sure to visit Red Wine Reminiscence on Sunday!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

ConQuest 43

Memorial Day Weekend always goes hand in hand with the Kansas City Science Fiction and Fantasy Society (KaCSFFS) annual convention: ConQuestT. I didn't get to go last year, but this year I had someone to go with, and to add to the fun, it was also his birthday weekend.

Overall, it was a fun, long, sobering, exhausting, and informative weekend filled with not great food, sickening elevator rides, uncomfortable chairs, a minor panic attack in a parking garage, an obnoxious kids concert that caused detours both on foot and in vehicles. We had a fabulous, luxurious hotel room, I met an adorable (cadaver) dog, I received lots of new book recommendations, and came home with a spark of motivation for writing and a certificate of excellence for winning a writing contest.

Between Friday and Sunday, I went to over a dozen panels led by writers, editors, publishers, game designers, and artists. Some were informative, some were hilarious, and some were boring and uncomfortable. I always feel equally motivated and discouraged after listening to published writers and small press editors talk. I realize that I share my dream of being a writer with thousands of other writers, and that even getting something published doesn't mean I'll get to quit my day job. Maybe ever. And how lucky I would be to get a break at all and make a little extra money.

But it also gets me excited to try.

Each year they do a Story-in-a-Bag contest, where you are given five index cards from different categories (plot, character, object, setting, first line) and you have an hour to craft a story using all of the elements. I burned through my story and thought it was crap when I was done, but I threw on a clever last line and decided I might as well submit it. I took the time to write it, after all, so what did I have to lose?

Apparently nothing, because I won in the amateur fantasy category!

Well, it was a three way tie. But still. I'm claiming it as a victory.

So my confidence in my writing is restored, I'm starting to take my search for short story markets more seriously, and I'm participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this month.

Overall, it was a great getaway birthday weekend with Jack. The experience just reaffirmed my belief that I have found the perfect guy for me. The Con was fun, but the time spent with him made everything else icing on the cake.

Although I made him birthday muffins, not birthday cake.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The thing about loss

I met with the writing group awhile back to talk about Script Frenzy, and our conversations turned from how to write scripts to movie recommendations, to more serious life topics. One of my fellow writing group members, after asking if he could ask me a personal questions, asked why I never write about Mom.

Part of the reason - maybe the biggest part - is that a few months after she died, I wrote about the last month of her life for National Novel Writing Month. So I got a lot of that out of my system.

The other reason is that even though I think about it all the time, people around me don't want to hear about it all the time. I tend to keep it to myself unless people ask. Although sometimes I'll bring her up in conversation. I just feel guilty about it, though, bringing up the "dead mother" topic because I don't want to bring people down or make them uncomfortable. I just assume they'd rather not hear about it.

But it got me to thinking, and I was inspired to write down some loose thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain since she died.

Most predominately, I have realized that the death of a loved one makes you constantly redefine the concept of "forever." She is gone and she's never coming back. My only experience with a big loss before that was a long term relationship that ended. Of course we had our self imposed "never see you again," but I still get occasional messages from him, and there's still the chance I will run into him. I keep feeling like I am just waiting Mom and me to cross paths again. That if I waited long enough, eventually I'd hear from her. When I feel like it's been "forever" I realize all over again that my concept of forever is laughably inadequate. So I go back to waiting, even though I know she's not coming back.

Also, I realize that I will never, ever stop missing her. The pain will never be less. Like chronic pain from an injury, it's something you just learn to live with. It never really gets any easier, I just don't think about it as much. When I do, it still takes my breath away, how much I miss her.

Mother's Day has been harder than the anniversary of her passing.

She visits me in my dreams sometimes. I had a dream about a family reunion the other night, and both Mom and my Grandma - who we lost less than a week after Mom - was there, as well. I always wake up both happy and sad from those dreams.

I have a Magic 8 Ball that I decided sounded like Mom when it answered not long after her passing, so when there is something I really need to ask Mom, I get out the 8 Ball and ask it.

The hardest thing I am dealing with now is children. I'm nearing a point in my life where I'm ready to start a family - have kids of my own. It's debilitating some days, thinking about going through pregnancy and then raising a child without Mom's help. She'll never meet the amazing man I want to settle down with. She won't get to help me with my wedding.

But my children will know their grandmother, even if they never meet her. We will keep her alive and well in our family. She's still with us. She lives in my brother and sister and me. And I will pass along a small part of her in my children.

The thing about loss is that I am still finding out what it means to lose someone. Every day I realize something else. When my phone rings, it'll never be her. No matter how many times I check her Facebook, there won't be any updates. She will never be any older than 56, and she will never know me past the age of 29. I will always regret not asking her that question I never asked her. She will turn me into a plant lover even from the grave because I want to prove to her that I can keep something green alive to honor her love of gardening. Even though I know they are just things, I still get really upset when something that was hers gets damaged or goes missing.

And I still sometimes get choked up when I talk about her, even when I tell myself I'm ok.

But thank you, Larry, for making me talk about it. It feels good to share my thoughts and feelings. Until I lost Mom, I never knew the depth of human emotion, or what I was capable of feeling. Life seems more vibrant. I love more passionately, I laugh more easily, I cry more desperately, and I live life more fully. I am alive.

Happy Mother's Day, Mama.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tentative

Well, I think I did jinx it. And the shift I felt must have been gas.

Ok, that's not entirely fair.

But I might have been a bit premature in my prediction that I was back to writing again. Script Frenzy didn't work out, I almost quit the Confabulator Cafe, and I almost resigned myself to never being a writer. Again.

I won't say that things are better. Not now. Not yet. But I think they are getting better. I've analyzed my writer's block and have found the source. This week at the Confabulator Cafe, we're talking about when we feel good about our writing, and reading all my fellow Confabulator's posts, I'm reminded why I used to write in the first place.

For the love of it - the way I feel when I'm creating something from nothing, something new. For getting lost in my own mind for hours. For those moments when my conscious mind lets go and the story seems to write itself. To write the story I want to read.

So I'm tentatively dipping my toe in the water. Writing a couple of short stories that will never see the light of day. Stories I probably won't even edit. And then June 1st I will begin Camp Nanowrimo. I hope to have better success with that then Script Frenzy. Camp Nano was great for me last year, so I can only hope it is just as good this year.

I'm not saying it's time to try again. I'm saying it's time to see if it's time to try again.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Writing Streak

I hate to jinx it...but I've written three nights in a row now. Tonight it should be four.

I haven't been writing large quantities. Just a flash fiction on Monday, and blog posts for the Confabulator Cafe on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tonight is a planning meeting for Script Frenzy, so I hope to do some brainstorming for my script idea, which will include a little writing.

It's not much. But it's a start. And I feel a shift.

I've been miserable for awhile. Weeks, really. A lot of it was being sick, or miserable weather, or frustration at work, all compounded by the fact that I wasn't getting any exercise.

But I think the biggest reason for my misery was fear and loss. Writing is such a huge part of who I am. I wasn't writing, so I felt like I had lost myself, and I was afraid I'd never get that part of myself back again.

I was trying to force it before, too. I'm not sure I was ready. But this week I'm feeling it again. And I'm starting to get excited for Script Frenzy. I started with an idea I didn't like all that much, but it has been ballooning into absolute craziness in my mind the last few days. I think I can do a lot more with it than I initially thought.

And that is what I missed so much. What I wasn't feeling before. The ideas! The ideas colliding into each other in my mind, and the characters chattering about what they were going to do in these ridiculous situations. It's all starting. And I think I've found myself again.

And can you locate all of the sentences I started with a conjunction in this post? I didn't say I was back to writing well, just that I was writing again.

I ought to knock on wood when I say that, though. I really hope this sticks.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Frenzied

Two weeks of silence this time, instead of a month. I'm slowly getting back on track. Part of the reason I've been off track hasn't been so much lack of motivation, but lack of energy because I've been fighting with the zombie plague that has been going around. Three weeks I've been sick. I'm finally starting to feel more like myself today, so it's the first day I've really thought about writing.

Well, that's not entirely true. I thought about writing yesterday.

I finally made a decision on something I have been waffling about for about a year. I've decided to participate in Script Frenzy in April this year. This is a script writing event hosted by the same organization that does National Novel Writing Month and Camp Nanowrimo. This will be my first year attempting it. I haven't written a screenplay since my second to last semester of college, so I am a little bit nervous. Writing scripts has a lot more rules than writing novels does. It's never been a medium I've been too interested in, but my wonderful significant other is a script writer, so he's participating, and the Municipal Liaison for the Kansas region asked for a co-ML, so I signed up. I'm committed now. I will be writing next month whether I like it or not. Ready or not, here it comes.

So I spent yesterday reading about the different types of scripts I could write, and figuring out what story idea to use. I've decided on a TV script. I am going to re-visit the Offbeat Adventures of Sally Prescott world and write two episodes for Sally and her crew.

I don't have any other news on the writing front. I've forgiven myself for not writing much the last couple of weeks now that I'm signed up for Script Frenzy. I made an attempt at writing a short story, but only got about 330 words in. It's an interesting introduction with some interesting characters and an interesting world, but I have no idea where to go with it. I've also put finding an anthology/journal for Virus on a back burner again. I'll try again later. I'm going to have to do some more extensive research to find the right places to submit it and I am just not driven enough to try right now.

It's the pressure of my fellow writing group members submitting and getting published that has caused this frenzied need to do something with my writing. But I need to remember that I'm not in competition with them. This is my own journey that I need to take at my own pace. And it's ok to take pit stops along the way.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm a Writer

I've always been a writer
One month ago I announced that I was giving up on my dream to become a published writer.

I've done a lot of thinking since then. I received a bunch of pep talks and encouragement from my writing family. I explored alternatives to editing my full length novels, primarily shifting to short stories to submit to magazines and anthologies. I've made attempts towards that in fits and starts and haven't gotten very far. I continue to write about writing for the Confabulator Cafe. I finally started reading the memoir I wrote two years ago and never looked at again. I've reconsidered the idea of self-publishing.

The conclusion I've reached, in the one month after giving up on myself?

I will always be a writer. Even if I'm in a fight with writing, even if I'm taking a break from it, even if I never publish anything or make a dime, I will always be a writer. It's who I am. They say your job doesn't define who you are, and that's true. I'm not an administrative associate. I am a writer.

It doesn't have to be my job to be who I am.

I don't know where that leaves me on the quest I set for myself, though. What is the next step? I don't know. I just know I was a bit over-ambitious when making my writing goals for this year. I got overwhelmed by all of the work I suddenly made for myself, and I wasn't entirely prepared.

So I took a step back. And now, hopefully, I will start taking baby steps forward again.

My very first step? Find a literary magazine or anthology for a horror short story I wrote several years ago. Once that is submitted, I will work on another short story. And then I'll submit it. And then I'll write another one, and submit it. And then, maybe I will have heard back about the first or second one. And then, if they were rejected, I will submit them elsewhere. Rinse and repeat.

And hopefully I will start writing every day again. I found a book at Half Price Books on Sunday, and I think it is exactly what I need to get started again: The Writer's Book of Matches - 1001 Prompts to Ignite Your Fiction. If I can use a prompt every day, whether I write a paragraph or a page or a short story or a novel, I will write for at least 1001 days in a row.

I know. I'm being overly ambitious again. But if this can help get me past my slump, it'll be $8 well spent.

I'm now picking up the pieces leftover from my breakdown. I'm getting it together and I'm getting back in the saddle, as it were. It's only February. I still have time to salvage some of my 2012 writing goals.

And I'm only a little worse for wear.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Giving Up - This life is not for me

I've been disappointed in myself the last few weeks. I made several resolutions as far as writing in my last post, but so far I haven't lifted a finger to attempt a single one. I haven't even been able to write one wine blog a week.

In December, I had the burnout excuse. I always take December off after the grueling pace during Nanowrimo. I felt I especially deserved the break after doing Camp Nanowrimo back to back with Nanowrimo in November.

The trouble is, I am still burned out. I have absolutely no motivation whatsoever. I haven't even been able to read lately.

Part of my excuse is that I have been a little bit preoccupied. I wrote a record number of emails in December and January, which culminated in a relationship with one of my amazing fellow writer's group members. I have been twitterpated to the point of distraction since even before our first date. Still am, most days.

But even spending as much time as I can with him, I still have a lot of down time that I am not making use of.

And I wonder if it's because I can't.

I can't face the stories I've written in order to edit them.

I received fantastic feedback from my writing group about Online Dating for Demons. But knowing what edits it needs only makes me feel inadequate. I can't fix it. It'd be better in the hands of someone else.

I finally started reading back over Monsters of Lawrence. And it sucks. The overwhelming amount of work it needs would fill a lifetime. Or at least several months using all of my free time.

I don't wanna.

And while I've toyed with a few new ideas since November, nothing at all has spoken to me. All of my old ideas seem stale. No new ideas are pressing against my brain from my subconsciousness.

I'm broken.

I'm starting to think I'm not cut out for this whole writing business thing. I will probably always write, every now and then, but it was a silly goal, trying to get published. I write for myself. For my own entertainment. For the entertainment of anyone willing to read my unedited slop. I don't have what it takes to edit, so I don't have what it takes to actually be a writer. I'm glad I found that out now instead of killing myself any more over this.

I suppose that makes me a bit of a poser, writing for the Confabulator Cafe. I've had a lot of fun being editor for it, though. It's been a lot of work, but really rewarding. It's been such a pleasure, working with all of these local writers. I hope they'll still let me contribute, even I've changed my mind about wanting to make writing my career.

I really appreciate all of their support. All of YOUR support. It's been an interesting journey. Thanks for coming along.

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Second Year

I turned 31 on Saturday. I had a lovely birthday, filled with good wishes and all of my favorite people. It made my transition from being just 30 to being IN my 30s a little less overwhelming. I think 2012 is going to be a good year.

A year ago Saturday, I made the resolution to focus on my writing career. I set the goal for myself to be published by the time I turned 40. It's hard to believe the first year is already over. Only nine years left to make my goal a reality!

But I made a lot of progress towards my goal in 2011. It was to be my year of creation, and I went above and beyond my expectations.
  • I finished the second Sally Prescott adventure story
  • I wrote a 30 pages Doctor Who fan fiction piece
  • I transcribed a story I started to write by hand several years ago that I'd like to finish
  • I finished my 107k word draft of Monsters of Lawrence
  • I finished my 55k word draft of Online Dating for Demons
  • I became editor and contributor for the writing group's Confabulator Cafe website

I pushed myself and accomplished more than I thought possible. I'm starting to believe that maybe I can do this whole writing thing.

Yesterday I made up a list of New Year's Resolutions like I always do, and the first half of them were all writing related. I have my goals set for this coming year. It's to be the year of editing. I will continue to create, but I want to focus on the rewriting process. I know I can write. I know I can finish a full length novel. Now let's see if I can clean up a novel to the point where I can start querying it. Maybe by this time next year I will be negotiating contract details. Hah.

Here is my list of writing goals for 2012:
  • Edit Monsters of Lawrence
  • Edit Online Dating for Demons
  • Edit Sally Prescott and the Haunted Treasure (and post to Scribd)
  • Write and submit 3 short stories to literary magazines
  • Write at least 2 writing blog entries a week for Prospective Writer (you are here)
  • Write at least 1 wine blog entry a week for Red Wine Reminiscence
  • If/when novels are cleaned up to final draft status, begin the querying process

I will also have my hands full with writing and editing for the Confabulator Cafe, but that's going to be a ton of fun and a great experience. My writing group is amazing.

So my December hiatus is overwith, which means it's time for me to buckle down again. I have a few more manuscripts from fellow writers to read and give feedback for, and then I have to decide which novel to begin editing first.

Requests?

One last thing. I've got to put in an official plug for the group's new website! We're all very proud and excited for it. You should all come see us at the Confabulator Cafe. Meet the great people I get to work with and learn about the craft of writing. You'll be looking inside the minds of local writers and get to follow all of us on our writing journeys. I'll be posting every Tuesday, and we will have original content Monday through Friday. Leave comments, ask us questions, and enjoy the many different perspectives on life and writing.

www.confabulatorcafe.com