Craft, Feedback, Fiction, Flash Fiction, Goals, Novel, Query, Rejection, Short story, Writing

A Year’s Worth of Writing

Have you reviewed your writing progress in 2010? In this and another post or two in the next two weeks, Ill take a look back at the highlights of mine. When I looked back at all the posts for this year, I was surprised at how many twists and turns I took.

At the beginning of the year, I thought I had a finished novel in query status, so I turned my attention to short stories. I wrote a post, Writing vs. Crafting, in which I vowed to not only read more short stories, but to write and submit for publication some of my own. Nothing to report on my stories, but I did read more of those written by others, including fabulous debut collections from Robin Black and Tracy Winn.

Next, I jumped out of the box and started my year of living dangerously. (Even though I lost sight of that along the way, it may explain the way my writing year will end. Stay tuned.) But back then, I dared myself again by trying a writing challenge: a micro flash story. And I wrote it from a prompt, which is something I hadn’t done for decades. It was so much fun I invited my readers to take the challenge too. 

And then, I fell apart. Rejection spawned dejection and in barged the Blue Muse. From the bottom there’s no way but up, so I went into warrior mode and wrote a new query letter and opening paragraph for my novel; entered two contests; and dissected a Flannery O’Connor story for a discussion group.

The decision to edit my novel again reminded me of a good beating and then, continuing with new experiences, my novel spoke aloud. I discovered frigid fiction, but soon I became blinded by the words. To my rescue came the fabulous Kayla Olson who volunteered to read and critique for me.

Again I needed to be reminded to wait for the words. Before long I had reason to panic over platform, but as the end of the first quarter of 2010 came to a close, I was riding the train of eternal optimism.

Your turn: Have you charted your writing progress this year? How did you fair?

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Doubt, Motivation, Power, Writing

Warrior Woman

What a difference a week makes. This time last week, I had sunk the lowest I ever have in discouragement over my writing. Then a river of encouragement lifted me up and carried me away from that dark place. Since I blogged about that, I feel an update is in order.

Victorious!

So, yeah … I fought back against that Blue Muse. How? During this last week, I wrote a new synopsis, a new query letter, a new first paragraph, a one-paragraph pitch for a contest at agent Nephele Tempest’s blog, audio recorded and edited two novel chapters, and entered the Sandy Writing Contest.  I also attempted to dissect Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” which wasn’t easy, considering I have very little practice.

I think that’s what you call a blitz attack. And it worked!


Fiction, Goals, Motivation, Writing

Beware the Blue Muse

Do you think this Blue Muse is pretty? Pretty poison is more like it.

Some of you have read this blog since the beginning, and though I’ve tried to keep my posts in the vein of positive affirmations, I’ve also let through a post or two written after I crashed with “post-critique syndrome.” As most writers do, I struggle with confidence in my writing. But until now, I’ve been able to quickly move past it and press on because I saw it coming or, at least, recognized it for what it was.

My recent experience has been more insidious. This time, it was not one big thing, but an accumulation of small things that turned my Muse blue. I was blind to the process and devastated when discouraging thoughts started flying furiously at me. I can’t write. I’ve reached my limit of ability. I shouldn’t even be blogging. And on and on. Every one of those thoughts presented itself as reasonable. It was time to face facts.

I reached out to a few writer friends who graciously shared their insights and encouragement. And then, three more things happened in as many days. One of my sons, who had no idea of my discouragement, has just completed writing a book of Wynton Marsalis trumpet solo transcriptions. He stopped by and talked about how tedious the work was and how, many times, he had to force himself not to quit. Then, one of my daughters-in-law mentioned that to get ahead in her field of financial accounting, it’s not necessarily how well-qualified you are, but whether or not you’re persistent. And finally, I picked up my copy of More magazine and read this quote from Mariska Hargitay: “The only reason I have the career I have is that I didn’t quit.”

Message received.

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