Facing Facts (on the 8th)

The resurrection of Facing Facts on the Fifth is not exactly off to the smoothest of starts. I completely forgot about updating last week! Yikes.

My goals for life/writing life from August 5 to September 5 were:

1. Making Money

Complete and submit application for substitute teaching by the end of this week.       I have my first two days subbing scheduled for next week. :-)

Complete more online travel writing class assignments — one by end of next week.       Not done.

2. Novel

Block minimum one hour a day next 10 days and see where that gets you. Then re-evaluate time – can you give it more from the 16th through Labor Day?                   Um, not a total fail, but….not done – however – touched base with an agent I’ve previously had contact with who is interested once I’m ready to send it.  Still at it.

3. Done Darkness

Write to publisher had preliminary conversations with – update regarding number and quality of submissions in hand. Begin discussing next steps. Meet with Kathy re other publishers too?      Done.

Continue to read and rank submissions and pass work on to review board.      Ongoing – and going well! Had to close to poetry on August 31st. The final deadline will come before the next Facing Facts.

4. Deadlines

 Wisconsin Writers Association contest deadline = August 15           Done.

 Black Warrior Review contest = September 1               Decided not to, but entered StoryQuarterly’s contest.

 

Some other opportunities came up in that time period and I have registered for some low cost educational events:  a local, free one hour presentation on the Foibles of Publishing; the Wisconsin Writers’ Association fall conference in WI Rapids; the 2nd Annual Washington Island Literary Conference and a one-day Publishing Institute at Mt. Mary University, where I have signed up to speak with two agents.

My areas of concentration for now through October 5th have not changed significantly, although our upcoming move to Scotland is occupying time in planning and preparations. So, focus areas will be:

1. Novel

– Finish the final touches on the novel. Bring it to the Washington Island conference to re-read and decide if it is ready to got to the agent.

2. Done Darkness      dreamstime_m_34926106

– Continue evaluating pieces for selection. Draft rejection letter(s). :-(   Review marketing plan with Kathy.  Set up schedule of publishers to contact.

3. Deadlines

– calendar deadlines for novel, D.D., blog, travel course online and Scotland to do list.

In the midst of all of the above, I will take a trip to Massachusetts to celebrate the swearing in of my brother-in-law as an associate judge in western Mass. So, so happy for him! He’s a great guy and will be a wonderful judge.

I do hope whatever you are working on, in writing or other areas of your life, you are continuing to move forward, whether its by leaps or baby steps.

#happywriting

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Smitten by Brooklyn

When I was growing up in Southampton, MA, we didn’t have house numbers. I lived on Strong Road and that was that. When I moved to Milwaukee, I was terrified by the numbers and directional letters in addresses. It took me an insane amount of time to understand the perfectly sensible grid. Suffice it to say that I have been and always will be directionally challenged.

I’ve visited NYC several times, but never enough to even attempt to internalize the geography and landmarks. That may change in the next couple of years while my son is in grad school at Columbia. I’ve spent the weekend with a writer friend in Brooklyn, NY and have been smitten with Brooklyn love. I could live here.

I think.

Manhattan? Probably not. I’m overwhelmed there by noise and people — I like hopping on the subway (which I have managed to do by myself a few times this weekend – and for me , that’s a big fricking deal!) and climbing the stairs and joining the streams of side walking folks. I’ve LOVED hearing languages I recognize — French, Spanish, German and many I don’t — was that Polish? Russian? Hungarian? I’ve loved the chance celebrity/semi-celebrity sightings. My son and I sat near Andres Serrano in a coffee shop. Don’t get me wrong — in short doses, I love the constant motion, energy and creative pulse of the city that never sleeps, but truly, for my writing, the sensory overload there is too much. Brooklyn – at least the small part of it I’ve been in – has a quieter, calmer feel. I appreciate the ability to more easily retreat from the hubbub here.

Don’t think for a second that I dislike Manhattan — just am fairly certain I couldn’t be easily happy residing there. Will try to post a few pix later – naturally many will contain flowers, birds and trees, because a country girl needs to see nature wherever she wanders.

#happywriting.

 

 

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Robin Williams: how creativity can kill

 

robin-william-lonelyness

 

 

Robin Williams killed himself and we want to understand. How could someone so gifted with the ability to touch our hearts, to make us laugh and cry, not treasure his own gift enough to continue to share it? How could he – of all people – been so sad that he couldn’t fathom living another day? How could Robin Williams possibly have been lonely? He could have everything he wanted, right? Um, wrong. He couldn’t buy the ability to conquer depression.

Severe depression is given as the cause. Don’t think you can understand it if you’ve never felt that curtain fall on your heart. Don’t think it’s a question of will power to push the curtain back and see the light of hope.

Many creative types – artists, writers, musicians, actors – are prone to depression as highly sensitive people. In addition, many people with depression turn to alcohol and other drugs first to self-medicate their sadness. We’ve seen it before in many actors — the most recent case that comes to mind is Philip Seymour Hoffman. So, sometimes, when the depressed person seeks recovery from their addiction, the underlying depression that had been masked comes out in full force. For many, this simply leads to a rebound back to the drug of choice. For others, the lucky ones, they begin to seek and accept treatment for their depression.

Herein lies a tricky issue for creatives. I don’t know if this applied to Robin Williams or not, but I have known creatives who avoid medication for their depression because they fear they will “lose their edge” in their creativity. They will not touch the one thing — better living through chemistry, as I call it — that could truly increase the chances for them to stay out of the pit of sadness.

In my experience with depression, it is an ongoing effort to keep it at bay, even on medication. When I don’t keep up with exercising, it can easily slip back into play. In the winter, if I skip using my light box, it can slip back into play. If I eat poorly and don’t write for a few days, it can easily slip back into play. And those are daily issues for me. Add to that, as for anyone, the pushes and pulls of life that happen. Aches and pains. Heartaches — a death of a loved one or friend. Unexpected bills. Rejection letters. Poor communication due to stress with a loved one.  All of these things can factor in to the depressive’s heart – just like anyone – but in the case of a depressive, we have to also look at something else. Is the weight of these things beginning to throw us off balance? Do we need to consider tweaking or changing our medication or our routine? And let’s face it – how many of us — depressives or not will take the time to truly consider those factors? Won’t many of us simply march on until we face an obstacle that causes us to fall down?

We can’t understand the pain Robin Williams must have been in to end his own life. The one good thing that may well come out of this tragedy is a renewed interest and open discussion about mental health issues in general, and depression in particular. I am struck by the timing for me, personally, in relation to the call for the anthology I’m working on, Done Darkness. I hope it will add another layer to the discussion.

Lest I end without a chance for smiles and appreciating the amazing body of work Robin Williams left us with, please enjoy An obituary for Robin Williams in the form of his best scenes.

 

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Roxane Gay – Parachutes & Pedestals

I’m kind of a Roxane Gay groupie. I’ve never quite felt like anyone’s groupie. Even in my teen years, when I was in love with Elton John — well, actually I was in love with Bernie Taupin but I don’t think I understood then that it was the lyrics calling me more than the singer — even then I was most definitely not a groupie.

Before the literary world caught the bright flame we know as Roxane Gay, I had discovered her essays thanks to social media. She is a presence on Facebook and Twitter, among others, but those are the two where I catch her. Her essays have punched me over and over again, in the best possible way, bruising my brain so I have to think about things I might otherwise look away from.  Regular readers of Pamwrites might remember my post in April of 2012 when I wrote Roxane Gay We Nominate You. I began with:

The web is buzzing again with the righteous indignation of women about the infuriating discrepancies in publishing of men vs women. We had the American Society of Magazine Editors report and, as Alexander Nazaryan reports, “No, seriously. Many are up in arms about the complete lack of female writers nominated for the major categories of Reporting, Feature Writing, Profile Writing, Essays/Criticism and Columns/Commentary.” No females nominated in any of the major categories, despite some fine writing in those categories. Quite fine. Excellent, in fact. Read Nazaryan’s report and be angry.

Last February, I wrote about the VIDA count and the gender disparity in publishing. This February, another VIDA count, another round of frustrating, but not surprising news. Another year of same song, same story, but most often coming from people with penises.

And, I ended with a call to Roxane with one n and my readers:

But, this week also brought us the thoughtful, inspiring writing of Roxane Gay in Beyond the Measure of Men in The Rumpus. She plainly addresses the “here we go again” feeling I had when the buzz re-ignited this spring.

“The time for outrage over things we already know is over. The call and response of this debate has grown tightly choreographed and tedious. A woman dares to acknowledge the gender problem. Some people say, ‘Yes, you’re right,’ but do nothing to change the status quo. Some people say, ‘I’m not part of the problem,’ and offer up some tired example as to why this is all no big deal, why this is all being blown out of proportion. Some people offer up submission queue ratios and other excuses as if that absolves responsibility. Some people say, ‘Give me more proof,’or, ‘I want more numbers,’or,’Things are so much better’ or, ‘You are wrong.’ Some people say, ‘Stop complaining.’ Some people say, ‘Enough talking about the problem. Let’s talk about solutions.’Another woman dares to acknowledge this gender problem. Rinse. Repeat.”

She offers solutions to editors and publishers that are simple, stark and reasonable. Please, read her essay. Ponder it. Don’t miss her section on the label of “women’s fiction.” Then, let’s recruit Roxane Gay to be the Gloria Steinem of the Women’s Publishing Movement. She is brilliant. She is right. Follow her work.

“Change requires intent and effort. It really is that simple.” Roxane Gay

My imaginary effort didn’t take off, or maybe it did, but in a quieter, truer to R. Gay way.

I saw her in person at the AWP in Chicago in 2012 briefly at the PANK table and then again at the Literary Death Match of Roxane vs Jane Smiley. I went all shy literary groupie — couldn’t say much, couldn’t ask for a picture, just was awe-struck to be in her presence — as much as she would HATE that expression, that’s the truth of it.

She was in Milwaukee in May, touring for An Untamed State. I was in Cape Cod then, cranking away on my novel so I had to miss her reading at one of my all time favorite bookstores. I had received an  ARC, advance reader copy, of the book after replying to a Facebook post where she offered to send a few to the first five people who commented, or something like that. Remember? Groupie? I hadn’t read it yet as I’d been plowing away on other books and projects. I made the mistake of beginning it this week and was up until 3 a.m. – truly – the night before her second reading in Milwaukee this year — yesterday, August 8th. It was one of those rare, for me, cases of I had to finish it before I could sleep. The writing in this book is so true, so honest, so brutal at times that I can’t recommend it for everyone in my reader circles. There is nothing easy about scenes of a woman being brutalized, nor should there be. Be brave. Buy it and read it and have yourself one little, or huge, mental wrestling match about compromise, survival and love.

A friend of mine, Alexandra Rosas, got a better shot of Roxane during the Q & A then I was able to:

For her visit last night, touring now for her essay collection, Bad Feminist, she began by apologizing to anyone who had been at her May reading at Boswells because she was beginning with the same brief reading – a hysterical fantasy essay about Mister Rogers. It began something like this:

I played Scrabble Saturday and did pretty well. I won more games than I lost. I played a man who wears cardigans. It is strange when men wear cardigans and they aren’t Mr. Rogers. Mr. Rogers was able to pull that off because he’s smooth and awesome and teaches us important things. I miss Mr. Rogers. I would like to snuggle up next to Mr. Rogers while wearing his cardigan. I bet he smells like Brylcreem and Old Spice and pot roast. I would make Mr. Rogers a pot roast and I would do so while wearing a smart white apron with a lace hem I tied around my waist with a neat bow.

I found a link to this piece here. You’ll need to scroll down a bit, but the whole funny piece is there. Keep scrolling until you get below her tribute to  The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch And yes, in this piece from her blog, you will find references to a rejection from The Emerson Review, hurtful people, anger, Charlie Sheen, Lidia Yuknavitch and Mister Rogers. There is no subject she will flinch from. She is not one of those literary types who disdains popular culture, who would only get her news from The New York Times or NPR. I’m quite sure she checks them out, but they will not limit her experience. And I love her for that. Too many literary types are snooty types, IMHO. Not that I’m judging. Okay, yeah, I know, I am.

I was trying to take some notes at this reading. Trying to have a list of quotes to share, but like when I was reading An Untamed State the night before last, I was swept away by the marvelous Ms. Gay. She said she wrote this book of essays because she “used to call myself a bad feminist as a joke-” As she read to us from a few essays in the book, I found myself tracking along with her in the book, underlining, check-marking, exclamation pointing – doing all those things writers do in books they love. (I don’t keep reading or bother writing much in books I don’t love – that’s the sad truth. It’s a post-cancer thing – who has time to waste on books that aren’t speaking to them?)

In a question from the audience about the irony of possibly becoming a spokesperson for feminism, while claiming the title “bad feminist,” Roxane said, ” You can put me on all the pedestals you want and I’m going to keep parachuting off.” You see, she says she’s a bad feminist because she’s human, because she ‘s messy. Wait, let me give you her words, from the book:

….I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying — trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself: a woman who loves pink and likes to get freaky and sometimes dances her ass off to music she knows,  she knows, is terrible for women and who sometimes plays dumb with repairmen because it’s just easier to let them feel macho than it is to stand on the moral high ground……

I didn’t ask any questions. I was third in line for the signing and I suggested to the first young woman, a high school girl who was working on a paper about women writers of color and who was overflowing with adoration of Roxane’s work, that I take a picture and email it to her. (Did I perhaps hope someone might offer to take my picture too? Um, maybe.) Then, the second woman in line, who I happen to know, asked for a shot and I got one. My turn. Number one and number two had boogied. And I’m not being snarky – I totally get it. The place was packed. It was a good idea to get out of the way.

Number four didn’t offer. I wouldn’t ask. Got my signatures, no pictures with me and RGay and know what? That’s really okay. This event was so not about me and I do get that.  But, I do have this:

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If you have yet to discover Roxane Gay, do yourself a favor. Get on board the R.Gay train. You’re in for quite a ride.

 

 

 

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Facing Facts on the Fifth (+ 1)

Facing Facts on the Fifth is an effort to keep me on track with my writing goals and progress. But, I have learned from the first round of Facing Facts, that other writers seem to gain motivation and inspiration from my public reveals. In the reprise post, last month, my goals between July 5th and August 5th were:

1. Done Darkness -

this is an anthology project that Kathy Lanzarotti and I are working on…. Website is itching to go live!  So, expecting to get call out by August 5th (hopefully by July 15th — it’s those two slots holding us back!)

UPDATE on August 6th:  Success!!! The call for submissions is live and we are thrilled, truly thrilled, by the number and quality of submissions in already in about 48 hours! 

2.  Deadlines -

July 15 – Writing Menopause – an anthology looking for submissions has extended their deadline from June 30 to July 15, which means there’s no excuse for me not to finish an essay I’ve had kicking around and submit it!

UPDATE: Done. Also submitted to StoryQuarterly’s first essay contest by their deadline.

September 1 – Black Warrior Review  contest. Consider submitting to fiction and/or non-fiction.    UPDATE: Move forward

3. Novel -

….I should be able to finish those 30-50 pages between now and August 5th.

UPDATE: Oh dear. Did not get far on this one. Why? I’m not sure and need to consider my efforts seriously. Why am I holding this up?

4. Making Money??? -

*work on completing online travel writing assignments with eye to sending out queries where possible

*complete and submit application for substitute teaching in fall

UPDATE: Fail.

TakeAction

 

So, as I examine these categories for my efforts between now and September 6th, I must consider where I’ve not met my goals and why. I think I had underestimated the amount of time – both real time and psychic energy – that the anthology project would require in its inception. Now that the site is active and the review board is in place, things will continue to click along for this month. I will have work to do for the project, but the website creation, Facebook page, promoting it, etc, was a very real drain on my brain. Now, goals for August 5 to September 5:

1. Making Money

Complete and submit application for substitute teaching by the end of this week.

Complete more online travel writing class assignments — one by end of next week.

2. Novel

Block minimum one hour a day next 10 days and see where that gets you. Then re-evaluate time – can you give it more from the 16th through Labor Day?

3. Done Darkness

Write to publisher had preliminary conversations with – update regarding number and quality of submissions in hand. Begin discussing next steps. Meet with Kathy re other publishers too?

Continue to read and rank submissions and pass work on to review board.

4. Deadlines

 Wisconsin Writers Association contest deadline = August 15

 Black Warrior Review contest = September 1

 

Those are my writing goals for the next month — in the meantime, life will roll on. I will visit my son in NYC. I have oodles of doctors’ appointments — nothing major, just lots falling in the next thirty days. I will plan meals to include corn-on-the-cob and yummy tomatoes and other veggies, because it is that time of year. Hoping wherever you are, on the planet and in your life, that the next thirty days will be fruitful and productive.

#happywriting

 

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Call for Submissions!

It’s really happening. A writer friend – Kathy Lanzarotti – and I have been working on a plan to compile an anthology of writings about life during and beyond depression. The title, Done Darkness, is a nod to one of our favorite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins. It’s a phrase in the last line of his poem, “Carrion Comfort.” Here’s the call, which appears at donedarkness.com. Please consider submitting your work and share the call with others you think might be interested.

Many people experience the foggy darkness of melancholia.  We are seeking submissions for an anthology composed of writing devoted to the ups and downs of navigating life during and beyond sadness. We have a small press who has indicated interest, but if that should fall through, we are committed to seeing this project through to completion ourselves. While we expect many submissions to focus on characters coping with the many ranges of depression, this anthology will NOT venture into clinical territory. No “how-to’s,” or medical advice pieces, please. The title, “Done Darkness,” demonstrates our desire for pieces expressing hope and survival, though we will not flinch from the very real suffering when it’s conveyed well.

Guidelines

Poetry (up to three per author), flash, short stories, essays, book chapters, fiction and non-fiction will all be considered. Maximum length: 6000 words. Double-spaced, 1″ margins, doc or docx files. We are especially interested in previously published work, (including book excerpts), presuming the author provides proof of rights ownership. Of course, works not previously published are welcome as well. In lieu of payment, 100% of advance (if any) will be donated to a charity of the editors’ choosing. 50% of any royalties will be split among contributors for the first two years, annually. Contributors will receive one copy and a discount on future copies purchased. We will be arranging readings and hope to have as many contributors as possible participate in events. Submissions will only be accepted through our Submittable.com link here.

Deadline & Other Information

Submit by October 1. If necessary, we may extend the deadline one to two times. Watch the Facebook page for any updates/news.

For more about the project planners and editorial board, click here.

Questions

Please email donedarkanth@gmail.com.

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Viral Video Update: The Crying Little Girl

She’s everywhere. Sadie, the crying five year old on the viral video that so many —  over 19 million viewers so far – have watched. She’s sitting on the floor in front of a couch, her sandy blond hair barretted and a tad mussed, maybe she’s had a long day. She wears a light purple dress and a silver locket – someone loves her very much.  Imagine a big screen television nearby and a drawer of Disney Princess videos, a coffee table covered with picture books, and in her room, a pile of beloved stuffed animals at home on her pillow. Why the tears then?

Her baby brother. She is crying because of her baby brother. No, not the expected “he bit me,” or anything like that. No, oh, no. None of that for our sweet Sadie. Her heart is breaking and as it does, she smashes ours.

She kisses him sweetly and says things that don’t just tug at our heart-strings – her words yank at those heart-strings until we ache along with her.

“I don’t want him to grow up.” He’s giving her an adorable grin. And, we know what you mean, Sadie. We do.

“Oh, you are so cute and I love your cute little smiles.” She is crying harder. We want to reach out and say back, “You are so cute too.”

“Oh my gosh! I want him to stay little.”

NBC nightly news used the clip in a story about growing pains and enjoying life’s precious moments, but they edited out the most important words Sadie uttered.  The real reason she’s crying.

Here’s the full 57 second clip.

 

“And I don’t wanna die when I’m a hundre-e-e-ed.”

Boom.

There we have it. That’s the real fear right there – that piercing understanding that death is a real thing. It will steal everything we know and love, including for poor Sadie, her baby brother.

Even though we’ve seen less than a moment of Sadie’s world,  I look at her and think I know what lies in store. She is highly sensitive. You think? Dr. Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, writes, “Highly sensitive people are all creative by definition.” The creatives I know – mostly writers and artists – but, in my family we have aspiring architects, actors, animators and musicians – are all sensitive. Some of us struggle with depression, which is not uncommon among creatives. Some of us, like Sadie, were pierced in that moment when the meaning of death thudded into our hearts.

Gerard Manley Hopkins, Jesuit priest and poet, immortalized that moment in his poem, “Spring and Fall,” which begins (and which has graced this blog before):

 Margaret, are you grieving

Over Goldengrove unleaving…..

Hopkins helps us see that the young girl is recognizing her own mortality in the beautiful autumn leaves around her. He ends with:

‘Tis the blight man was born for

It is Margaret you mourn for.

And so, sweetness and love aside, Sadie isn’t only crying because her adorable brother will grow up. Yes, that is part of it, the part we find adorable. But Sadie’s  much smarter than that. Give her the full force of her fears. She is crying because she understands her own – and his – mortality.

‘Tis the blight man was born for

               It is Sadie that you mourn for.

 

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Trouble with Titles?

I live in an area that is still fortunate to have a few independent bookstores – and, as I’ve written before, my favorite has to be Boswells on Downer Avenue (unfortunate name) in Milwaukee.  It’s a bit of a haul for me and parking can be challenging, so I don’t get to all the author events they host that I wish I could. On Tuesday , this week, due to a little car shuffle in my house – one car out of commission and three drivers needing to go in three different directions, I had to miss an event I really wanted to attend. Occasionally, when an author is touring and there is a local author working on something in a similar vein, the local author is invited to be an opening act. So, Tuesday night, I had to miss my hilarious friend, Mel Miskimen, reading from her forthcoming memoir, The Seamus Sessions: Dog Training for the Bereaved. I have had the good fortune of hearing some of the chapters of that book in progress, and cannot wait to buy the book once it’s out! Mel was opening for June Melby, author of My Family and Other Hazards: A MemoirOnce you know this memoir is about growing up helping to run a family mini-golf business in northern Wisconsin, you appreciate the title even more!

Obviously, titles have been on my mind. They can be tricky and troublesome. In case you need a sound-break, might I suggest Cat Stevens singing Trouble?

Last night, I was able to attend another reading at Boswells. This time by the lovely Rebecca Rasmussen, who was graciously a guest author on this blog during her first book tour for The Bird Sisters. In that post, Rebecca shared some thoughts on her first book tour, as well as participating in a flash prompt write. Check it out here. Rebecca’s latest work, Evergreen, has received strong reviews, but my favorite has to be this one:

“Reminiscent of Bonnie Jo Campbell and Marilynne Robinson, “Evergreen” is grounded firmly in place. Rasmussen’s characters, rather than mourn or pursue acceptance, crash through the narrative, noisily trying to make sense of their severed bonds and broken hearts. Evergreen is a sensitive exploration of love, a novel that proves that Rasmussen’s literary star continues to rise in a way that is anything but quiet.” 

–Wisconsin State Journal

Rebecca shared that the title for Evergreen came late in the process for the book. The working title before that was not “right,” but the proper title took its time bubbling up. Her comments reminded me of something I heard Amber Dermont say once, which I recall in this way, but can’t say for sure I’ve got her words right. The gist was, “Don’t get married to your title. Whatever you love, your editor will likely change anyway.” That statement was helpful for me, because at the time I was “married” to my working title, which was then, “Katya’s Song.” In 2005, a book came out called A Song For Katya. Too close? Too soon? The title I have now was suggested to me by an editor at Henry Holt Publishing and I like it better, though I won’t share it yet. 

I have found in searching for titles for short stories and essays that I don’t usually zero in on the best one until I’ve reworked the piece a few times. I come up with something to call it as I’m working on it, but the best, most evocative title isn’t usually the first one. Sometimes I’ll even ask my writer group for suggestions. 

Like writing, coming up with titles is its own elusive process. It requires time, patience, sometimes bouncing ideas around with others, but when the right one appears, you know it and you’ll think, “Nailed it.”

#happywriting (and title creating :-) )

 

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Getting Shit Done

I’ve been reading some fabulous posts lately about writing and want to share a few with you. First, I’ve sent regular readers to Lisa Rivero’s excellent blog before, but whether you’ve been there before or not, please, please, consider checking in on her 50 day series: Let’s get serious (finally!) about writing. That link takes you to Day one. I suggest you read and “do” Day one. Move on to Day two tomorrow. :-)

Jackie Johanson‘s post “Doubt is the Writer’s Troll (How to Defeat it!)” at Positive Writer is exactly what you need to read if you struggle sometimes with doubts about your ideas and abilities — especially if you let those doubts rule!

Alexandra Rosas has a great post up about submitting and rejection at The Writer Revived. Alexandra offers some great no-nonsense tips on attacking the submitting process and dealing with rejection. If you’re just plain having trouble getting past the fear of rejection, I suggest a trip to one of my more popular posts, Rejection Can’t Kill You: Fear Something that Can.

Speaking of submitting, I’ve been doing more of that myself lately, and am glad to be back at it. That’s been a goal of mine – to return to the riding the submission train. So, I wrote it down. Set deadlines. And, I’m getting that shit done, as “they” say:

 

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I found that image on a friend’s Facebook page and couldn’t find a citation for it, so triple apologies: 1) for language, 2) for no citation and 3) for the every single day. That is not always the most effective method for creatives, but, obviously, you’ll get where you want to faster, if you give it time — every. single. day.

Stay tuned for news, expected soon, about a call for submissions for an anthology I’m doing with a friend.

Hoping your summer is giving you time for reading, reflecting, writing and getting the work out there — out of your head first and out to the world, second.

#happywriting

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Facing Facts on the Fifth (reprised)

“Action is the foundational key to all success.” Pablo Picasso

 

The fifth of July, 2014. Yesterday, I avoided the annual Wauwatosa Fourth of July Parade — just wasn’t into high school bands, Irish dancers, Shriners driving in bathtubs, etc. (though I did miss the kazoo band if that was still there). Instead, I took a long, much needed bike ride on a truly glorious day in southeastern Wisconsin. It felt fall-like, low humidity, blue skies, mild temps. Quite nice. And, as sometimes happens when walking or biking, some thoughts clicked into place in my head that have probably been spinning around up there for a while. It is time to reinstate Facing Facts on the Fifth. 2014 is half over (yikes, and yes, it is true!) and I have to finish out the year strong!  In 2012, I spent the year updating my goals on (or near) the fifth of each month and checking in on what I accomplished that month.

In the first post, here, from January 12, 2012, I was using these categories:

1. My Novel

2. Submissions

3. Encouraging/supporting other writers

4. Ongoing projects

5. Review at least one craft book this month

In April of 2013, I needed to put Facing Facts to bed for a while. You can read about that decision at Facing Facts – Final Funeral?

 

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Now, it is time for me to revisit Facing Facts. As I wrote these entries in 2012 and 2013, it was re-assuring for me to hear from so many of you about how they were helping you look at your own goals and updates. It’s the updating and following through that some of us creative types can struggle mightily with, eh? I am re-visiting this system, because I am feeling the weight of upcoming life stuff and don’t want my writing to get de-railed. So, here we go, between now and August 5th, I will:

1. Done Darkness -

this is an anthology project that Kathy Lanzarotti and I are working on. We have found willing writers to be on our editorial board and are trying to fill two more slots there. Then, we should be ready to put out our call for submissions. Website is itching to go live!  So, expecting to get call out by August 5th (hopefully by July 15th — it’s those two slots holding us back!)

2.  Deadlines -

July 15 – Writing Menopause – an anthology looking for submissions has extended their deadline from June 30 to July 15, which means there’s no excuse for me not to finish an essay I’ve had kicking around and submit it!

September 1 – Black Warrior Review  contest. Consider submitting to fiction and/or non-fiction.

3. Novel -

I worked really hard on my revision during May while I was in Eastham, Massachusetts. But, I need to finish out the last 30-50 pages and get ready to query. Even with the deadlines above, I should be able to finish those 30-50 pages between now and August 5th. Send good vibes for me, please! This is a book that deserves an audience — I don’t say that with a braggart’s intent, but rather, with the awareness that this is a story that was given to me to share. It is my responsibility and my privilege to do so.

4. Making Money??? -

Ah, a new and strange category for PamWrites. For over twelve years now, I have been out of the working world. I left due to a health crisis that was aggravated by stress, and my health did improve, until a little bout of cancer light came along. While my husband’s salary is still plenty to sustain us in a very comfortable way, I would like to contribute something to the family funds. So, in an ideal world, I would bring in some money with my writing and I’m going to be looking for ways to do that. Between now and August 5th, I will:

*work on completing online travel writing assignments with eye to sending out queries where possible

*complete and submit application for substitute teaching in fall

There’s more I could add – many more life things I’d like to track (like self-care things — weight, exercise, meditation, etc), but I’m not comfy putting all of those online at the moment. Just know that I’m working on those as well as the writing and moola items above.

#happywriting

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