Still here…

Not that you can tell, been like six months since my last entry. I’m still plugging away writing and trunking and hopefully improving my skills as I go.  I joined a local writers workshop but its more of a support group than anything constructive and I think that’s ok. If nothing else it gives me a chance to spend some time with like minded individuals that take my writing seriously and that is a really big deal. I’m still getting used to it.

I have joined an online crit group and got great feedback on The Heirloom. I also got a rejection on that piece and the editor praised the voice as being “impressively and consistently well done”. Being a period piece I think that’s a huge compliment. I know the story portion needs some work, but I’m still fairly proud of that story.

My latest story “The Drought” is without a doubt the best I’ve written so far. It’s currently being reviewed at a magazine, looks like the got past the slush readers so assuming that’s correct then that’s a compliment. I fantasize about the market buying the story but I really don’t believe it will happen, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a personal rejection. It’s the little victories.

I’ve been playing too much Minecraft recently, but I’ve made some progress in the past few days. I got a new story idea while I was out mowing the yard this past weekend and I’ve gotten a pretty decent start on it, though I’m still trying to figure out where the story is going. Based off my history I’m trying to do a bit more planning on where the story is going before I really dive int it. It can be pretty depressing to have a story just go on and on and on and have no idea where it’s going. That’s when I have a real bad habit of having my characters getting knocked out. Hey, you live and learn.

Anyways, I’m very excited about “The Drought”. I think it has a good chance at being the first story I get published. Or maybe, its the first story I feel confident enough about to actually try. Either way, I think good times are coming.

Until then, I’ll keep on writing.

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Looking Back – Another Audit

Now that 2015 is moving forward and we can already see our resolutions splitting apart at the seams, what better time to take a look back at 2014.

Last year I performed my audit of 2013 a month late and this year I’m right on time! Booyah. Small victories.

I still haven’t done the best job of keeping tabs on things, so it’s not the easiest to go back and try to summarize, but it looks as if I wrote 7 stories last year and I submitted 7 stories. Now by the data alone that doesn’t look that great. In 2013 I wrote 27 stories, although not all of them were finished and I submitted 9. I actually feel a lot better about 2014. The stories I wrote last year were longer and more fleshed out. 2013 was a year of flash stories. I also feel that the last few stories I’ve written actually have potential. And it’s pretty cool to actually see it show up in my work. I’ve spent more time revising and rewriting than I did before, probably because I can tell it’s worth trying to improve them. And they’ve all been closer to 10k words than a measly 1k.

I also received my first hold request on a submission and positive comments from the editor despite the work not being right at that time.

Sadly, I’ve not made any progress on the novel. I did run over a few chapters, taking notes and attempted to make some changes and get the story flowing again, but I had another short story pull me away. I think I’m fine with this at the moment. I feel like working on short stories is a good focus for me at the moment and as soon as I get what I’m working on currently finished up I’ll make the novel priority number one while the shorts I’ve polished get bounced around the circuit.

The October Slump hit me pretty hard again. It’s something I really need to keep tabs on and see what’s going on. I’m slowly figuring out my process, what works for me and what doesn’t. And for whatever reason it seems April, May and June are highly productive months for me while Oct-??? aren’t.

My goals this year are again, write everyday (even if it’s only 250 words), submit a story a month, and something, something, something. Pretty sure there was another one. Oh, read more, I have a lot I need to improve on, but I know I’m better than I was last year and that’s at least forward momentum even if the numbers don’t reflect it.

I really feel like 2015 is the year I could become a published writer and I’m excited to see where this year takes me. I’ve got a 10k story waiting for the red pen of my SO, and one I just finished revisions on this weekend that was submitted last night. I obsess too much over my work and my submissions and pretty much everything there is to obsess about. I’m trying to keep focused on tasks so instead of obsessing I stay busy and produce more.

So here’s hoping 2015 is a year of dream fulfillment for us all.

Status of Things

So I’m still plugging away. I haven’t felt very productive recently. I got some feedback on my recent stories and plan to do at least one more revision on them to incorporate a couple of suggestions, but I’ve been tied up with two other stories I’m working on.

The main story I’m working on now was inspired when I found a pocket watch that had been left to me. I can’t remember exactly when or how I got it, but I know from my father it belonged to my great-grandfather, Andrew. It’s never worked since I’ve had it, so I popped it open to get a look at the clockwork. Apparently, the winding gear is broken, not sure how difficult or expensive it would be to fix or replace, and I’m not sure that it’s the only problem.

Anyways, so that sparked the idea of a young man in the early 1900’s, taking a leave of his studies to return home after his grandfather’s death. He discovers, while going through the estate, a pocket watch that was left to him and, after some time with it, discovers it has a mysterious ability.

I like the idea, I’m just not sure how it’s going to play out. I’ve also been reading Chekhov and Wells to mimic their style and vocabulary to set it in the time period. It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve written. Usually takes me about an hour to write 250 words or so just because I’m focusing on a different style, but it’s fun.

I’m also toying around with the idea of posting some stories on this blog, maybe one here and there when I feel it won’t sell but still see worth in the story. At the moment I’m not really sure, but then again, worst case scenario I could always delete it later if I thought it was crap.

I’m also lacking much of an audience, but maybe that’s because I’m lacking the content. I know this blog tends to fall by the wayside with everything else I have to focus on in life.

 

Out of the Forest and Into the Clearing

I feel like I’ve finally busted out of my slump. I finished up two stories earlier this week and feel pretty good about them. I’ve polished one up and sent it out for publication. And I’m confident the story will get published, I just need to find the right market for it.  I’m going to be working on the second story and getting it out shortly and hopefully use this momentum to push forward into more uncharted territory.

Now I just have to pull away from the short stories and get back in novel mode. *Fingers Crossed*

Audit

I’m already a month behind on my audit. I don’t really know what to make note of but I’ll throw some things out there.

I’ve failed writing everyday. I think it’s just too much of a lifestyle change.  Trying to go from zero to sixty. So my goal now is to write every other day and if I can meet that as a baseline then I’m in a better position to move forward.

My personal opinion of the previous writing year isn’t very positive.  I don’t feel like I did enough and I’m disappointed.

I’ve got a first-draft of a novel stuck at 41k.  I’m very excited about the novel, but I dread moving forward on it so I’ve focused on writing short-stories and getting published.  Neither has gotten me very far.

I’ve been in a slump since around October that I’m still fighting my way out of.  I can’t say I haven’t written at all, but it’s been  a much, much lower frequency than I would be happy with.

Since October I submitted 9 stories and had all of them rejected.  So one goal for 2014 is to submit more than I did last year and – cross my fingers – get one of them published.  I’ve got 27 stories in varying degrees of completion. Some worth finishing, others not.

I’m also disappointed with the number of books I’m reading, so I have a goal to get that number up as well.

So there it is, my writing State-of-the-Union and to mark the occasion I’ve just submitted a story for rejection. Wish me luck.

On the Eve of a New Year

I’m very glad to be past the major holidays.  While they were an enjoyable time the stress has worn me down.  Maybe some of it is some mental click that occurs due to the colder weather.  Either way,  I’ve not done anything productive since October or so.  C’est la vie.

I’m restraining myself from doing any year end assessments as my “year of writing seriously” started in Feb.  I’ll make a post then and give some statistics about the year-in-review and setup goals for year two.  But for tonight my resolution is to write every day and to finish my novel.

Happy 2014 – Hope goals are achieved for anyone aiming higher than where they are.