Summer optimism

Clarion West is a non-profit literary organization in Seattle; it runs both a six-week workshop for writers in the summer, and one-day workshops for writers throughout the year.

They also do a yearly fundraiser to help keep the workshop going and support scholarships, which is the six-week Clarion West Write-a-thon. It starts tomorrow, and I’ve signed up for it again this year; I’m aiming to write a thousand words a week for six weeks, and revise three short stories.

I’d love to help raise even a little to help keep the workshop going. If you’d like to sponsor me, here’s my page for the Write-a-thon; if you’d like to look at the other authors who are working on it, there’s a full list (137 as of this writing!) available here.

Moving again.

I had a bad few months, for writing. I didn’t realize it until I looked back at some conversations I was having, and matched them up with my record of when I was writing and when I stopped writing nearly so much.

I got into a discussion where– ugh, short summary, someone insisted very loudly that the only thing about your writing (as opposed to circumstances like connections or time) that mattered for acceptance and publication was how skilled you were. If you were a skilled writer, all you needed was the right checklist of manageable circumstances, and you’d get published.

(I honestly don’t buy this; at the very least, the most beautifully written work isn’t going to get accepted by a publisher who does not publish That Kind Of Thing.)

I was trying to articulate that–the difference between skill and appeal–when they announced the discussion was over. And I spent some time… dwelling on it.

It was not great. I wrote a little bit over the next few months–the Clarion West Write-a-thon was hugely helpful for that–but my word count honestly tanked relative to what it had been before. I know part of it was the trip to WorldCon. I know part of it was a work crunch. But I looked back and realized that I’d written for nineteen days straight before that discussion, including through a family member’s wedding, and I wrote for one day out of the entire week after it.

(They seemed so certain that my rejections were all due to my lack of skill. I had all the other circumstances they listed, after all, so it had to be that my writing was bad. Right?)

I don’t deal with that person anymore–our entire interaction was based around discussions of writing, and I figured out that discussing writing with them was a bad idea for me–but it took a while to get moving again. I think I’ve managed, finally. My word count is picking up again, the streaks are getting longer, I’ve been completing work instead of drafting disjointed scenes and never going back.

But good grief, I wish I’d been spared that unilateral diagnosis in the first place.

Week 5 Write-a-thon update

1164 words!

I’m looking back on week 3 and being jealous of my past self, I confess, but between work, broken eyeglasses, and a family event (that stretched over two days) in the last seven days, I guess it’s okay. I had several things I meant to make posts about this week, and I didn’t manage any of them. I’m trying to remind myself that sometimes that’s okay–they would have been really nice to have done, but they weren’t a commitment the way this is, and all things being equal I’m glad this was accomplished.

(Again, honestly, thank you all so much. For being there to promise something to.)

Another rejection, so three stories to send out this upcoming week. The Hugo voting period is over, and I’m catching up on some of my magazines. (The ones I subscribe to, I mean, not the ones I’m in. Speaking of which, my Clarion West Write-a-thon profile is still here, and pledging does get you entered into that draw for free magazines!)

Week 4 Write-a-thon update

1113 words!

Less than last week, but there is a lot of family stuff going on (and work. don’t talk to me about work) so I’m actually really glad to have been able to to get the words done. Again, thank you all.

In addition to writing, I hit Cat Rambo’s online class on Steampunk and the Weird West, and came away with better context for the genres and a list of several more books to read. Her class list for the summer is up here. I’m taking the one on Writing and Gender after WorldCon.

(A brief pause, here, to contemplate the fact that (1) we are in the summer, and (2) Helsinki is less than a month away, oh god.)

I also got two rejections (both in the last twelve hours, so I haven’t had a chance to send the stories back out) and drafted a new story this week. Story resubmission might get left until tomorrow; today is going to be pretty hectic.

As before, my Clarion West Write-a-thon profile is here.

Week 3 Write-a-thon update

1823 words!

I was honestly a little worried about meeting my goal this week, and am really, really glad that it went so well. Thank you all, again. Getting those plot points straightened out in my head seems to have made the writing much easier.

(Perpetually, in the name of the workshop and possible free magazines: my Clarion West Write-a-thon profile is here.)

On other writing notes, I didn’t manage to work on the outline that I want drafted, and between an unusually high amount of work and a family event coming up next weekend I’m not sure I’ll get a chance this coming week, but… well, I live in hope. (Speaking of which, I also submitted two stories this week!)

Week 2 Write-a-thon update

1075 words!

Again, sponsors, thank you. It really helps to have promised you that I’d do this. (By the way, all the rest of my July updates are going to be on Fridays, rather than Saturdays; the Write-a-thon is one day shy of six weeks, and I figured I’d give you a heads-up on the transition point.)

(Again, if you’d like to sponsor: my profile is here.)

I managed to get a few plot points straightened out–they’re not fully sorted, exactly, but they’re figured out enough that I’m no longer staring at my draft like a dog looking into the future and can actually get some typing done.

The week’s been fairly slow in terms of writing; I got one rejection and haven’t resubmitted any stories. I have made a little progress on another piece, though, and I’m hoping to get an outline drafted this week, and I’ve signed up for a couple of Cat Rambo’s classes. Beyond that, there’s been a lot of work-related time commitments, we’ve had some spectacular weather (rain and hail like I don’t think I’ve seen in a decade), and I managed to halve the number of emails in my inbox.

Week 1 Write-a-thon update

1045 words!

Thank you so much, sponsors; it’s been a really busy week, and I think that if I hadn’t promised to get this done for you, I might not have gotten it done at all. (I might have a little more time to write this evening, but I’ve decided to aim for at-least weekly updates, and I didn’t want to let this one go too late. If I write more tonight, I’ll count it towards next week’s goal.)

(Again, if you’d like to sponsor: my profile is here, and the webpage is pretty easy to navigate if you’d like to sponsor someone else.)

I’ve found that my outline needs tightening up in a few places, too, so I’m going to work on that as well. I won’t count that towards my pledged wordcount, though.

Other writing things I have done this week; gotten three rejections, submitted three stories, and managed to make a little progress on another piece. And read two pieces for crit, which is slightly exhausting.

In other news, have had discussions about the definition of what exactly a series is, and the essential elements of the Joker, and may write those up here later. I’m afraid I haven’t had the chance to do a lot of non-fiction writing outside of work lately.

Cheerful optimism (and a chance at free magazines)

Clarion West is a non-profit literary organization in Seattle; it runs both a six-week workshop for writers in the summer, and one-day workshops for writers throughout the year.

They also do a yearly fundraiser to help keep the workshop going, which is the six-week Clarion West Write-a-thon. This year I’ve signed up for it; I’m aiming to write a thousand words a week on my novel for six weeks, and hoping to help raise even a little to help keep the workshop going.

With regards to those free magazines:

I have print copies of the issues in which two of my stories appeared; ‘Palimpsest’ from the second issue of The Sockdolager, and ‘The Gannet Girl’ from issue 102 of On Spec. I’ll draw two names from the people who sponsor me; the first name gets their pick of magazine, and the second name gets the other one. I’ll need a mailing address, but I can send them to anywhere that Canada Post delivers, and I will cover postage.

If you’d like to sponsor me, here’s my page for the Write-a-thon; if you’d like to look at the other authors who are working on it, there’s a full list (137 as of this writing!) available here.

Any sponsorship helps, honestly, and so does passing word along to other people who might be interested. And hey– a chance at free magazines, with stories by me and many other brilliant authors!

Dusting off

It’s been a long couple of months. The physiotherapy has helped a lot–in addition to being able to type normally, I’m no longer on 4.5 times the recommended OTC daily dose of naproxen–but things have been piling up a bit and I’m still playing catch-up a little.

I’ve begun knitting again. That’s lovely.

I’ve been reading a fair bit; I’m actually at 23 books for the year so far (although two of those are standalone short stories and five are graphic novels, which are usually pretty quick reads), plus a few magazines.

I’ve gotten a new laptop and a new phone, since the old ones respectively were in the process of slowly failing and died on me completely, and while the new ones are pretty nice I’m still adjusting to the new layouts a bit.

I’ve realized that I have only two stories out, and this means that I actually have eleven works which need to get a quick check to see if it’s been a mistake to be sending them out and then get back out there. Hopefully most of them are in good shape.

There’s more, but I’m trying to focus on the positive, and keep moving.