Friday, January 18, 2013

Baby Steps Forward

As I mentioned last week, January brings crippling bouts of writer's block and a wide range of insecurities and depression. My writing always suffers.

It's a familiar cycle, although it's still painful every year. I am trying to take comfort right now in the fact that I have, on record, the last two painful Januarys, and I survived them both. I have learned not to push myself too hard or expect too much and be very proud of myself for any forward motion.

And so, I applaud myself this week. I was struck with sudden inspiration and managed to write my next two Confabulator Cafe assignments, including a not-so-flash-fiction retelling of a fairytale. That will go up next week. It's a twisted tale, of course, because I put all my pain and misery into my writing, but I am happy with how it turned out. So you should go read it. I'll try to remember to advertise here when it goes live.

Not only did I get those things written, I started poking around Duotrope (which, I'm sad to say, is no longer free - but for $50 a year, I decided it was an investment in my writing career), which culminated in me sending out all of the stories that had come back rejected at the end of last year. I even found another market to submit my novella to, once I clean it up a bit more (it needs about 1000 more words in the revision), I'll send that out, as well.

Lastly, my next class in the professional editing sequence started this week. Even after the trauma of my grammar class last semester, I am geeky-excited about it right now. I'm sure I'll complain about it plenty down the line, but I'm excited now. I wrote all of my reading assignments out on sticky notes and put them in my textbooks. I was the first person to introduce myself on the forum. Looking over the syllabus, I think this class may be a little more fun and a little more in line with what I was hoping this certificate would be like. I'm allowing myself to be hopeful right now, because I start having panic attacks if I think about how miserable I was during the grammar class.

Even though it seems like the rest of my life is in chaos, at least I'm still making steps towards my writing and editing goals. I just have to keep holding on (tightly) to that.

Friday, January 11, 2013

January Desolation

January is always a tough month for me, writing-wise. I tend to suffer from seasonal affective disorder, so I'm always bummed out, I still feel burned out from writing frantically for the entire month of November, and I'm exhausted from the holidays. And lazy from the holidays. I always take a lot of time off to do nothing with family and friends, so when January hits, it's all I can do to get myself back into my responsibilities as an adult, and to get back to work.

This year is just like every other. The only difference is work is overwhelming me right now - we're down a staff member and my boss is going on vacation next week - so when I get home at the end of the day, all I want to do is watch TV and go to bed early.

Combine that with another botched job in my mouth by my dentist, and my motivation to work towards my writing career is nil.

I have to keep reminding myself that I go through this every year. I make a lot of goals at the beginning of each year and get down on myself for not immediately working on them, but January is a brutal month. I can forgive myself for slacking in January. Or at least not get too down on myself for slacking in January.

Which basically means I have nothing to report, as far as my personal writing career progress.

You should go check out the Confabulator Cafe, though. It's still going strong. We have a new member, new topics, and a new look for this year. For any new material from me, that's where you'll have to go to find it for now. I post every Tuesday.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Third Year

My second year on my quest to become a published author has passed, and the third year is upon us.

And, amazingly enough, I actually am a published author, now. I've had one short story published in a horror anthology, another story will come out in a magazine in December 2013, I've been shortlisted for a professional paying publication, and I've been a contributor every week for the past year at the Confabulator Cafe.

Short stories weren’t really the direction I had planned on going last year, but I think it worked out for the best. I had some success, and it's helped me hone my craft as a writer.

Last year I had planned on doing some rewriting and editing, but never managed to get very far with that. This year, though, I'm working on my editing certificate through UC Berkeley's online extension program, so I feel like I'm finally ready to shift gears and edit.

As I mentioned last year, I know I can write. I've written several novels, one even full-length. Now I know I can write short stories - anywhere from 20k to 1k. And I can write essays in response to prompts. I am a versatile writer, and I’ve sharpened my skills.

So, now, this is the year of editing.

But the rest won’t stop. No. I will continue to write – both novel length works as well as short stories. I invested in a year subscription to Duotrope so I will continue to submit my short stories. I will keep writing for the Café. I will hopefully complete the editing certificate by the end of the year so I will keep learning and submitting assignments for that.

But on top of all of that, I will work on editing at least one of the two novels I wrote in 2011.
And, depending on where I am after all of that, I might start querying said novels.

Patience and timing are important as a writer. So are hard work, determination, and not letting rejection get us down. Yes, two years have passed so I only have eight left to reach my publishing goal. But as far as I’ve come in the past two years, I’m confident that by the time I turn forty, I will be exactly where I want to be as far as my writing career.

So, to reiterate, here are my 2013 writing goals:
  • In January, finish writing 2012 Nano novel.
  • Submit at least one short story a month.
  • Edit Online Dating for Demons (write a clean first draft and then have people beta read)
  • Keep writing – attempt short stories outside of the Café, and attempt to write a novel outside of November.
  • Blogs – Café every Tuesday, Prospective Writer every Friday, and Red Wine Reminiscence every Sunday. Post something on FB author page at least once a week, as well.

I think that’s plenty to keep me busy next year. Help keep me honest and accountable, folks. That’s why I created this blog. I need my readers.

One last thing: to celebrate our one-year anniversary, the Confabulator Cafe got a makeover! Come check out our new look, and take a minute to check out our fresh content every week.