December 30, 2009

2010 Writing Resolutions

With 2010 almost here (thank goodness! 2009 wasn't the kindest of years and I'm ready for it to be over), I'm looking ahead to my resolutions. I've made a few for my personal life, but there are also some writing goals that I'd like to write about here.

  1. Get back into the habit of monthly goal-setting. I neglected that during the last few months of the year. Despite this, I actually kept my submission rate pretty high and wrote a lot of new pieces, but even so, I felt a little disjointed from my work when I wasn't setting consistent goals on a regular basis.
  2. Prepare a poetry chapbook manuscript, and decide whether I want to self-publish it or try to publish the old-fashioned way.
  3. Write enough erotic stories for a collection and get that collection published.

December 28, 2009

Back from Florida!

Florida was wonderful. The wedding was beautiful, the weather was great, I got to swim in the Gulf and spent four days eating way too much food. And even better, I managed to accomplish my writing goals! Four new poems (one of which I know is really good already, two of which have potential, one I don't like at all), four new pieces of erotica (two which are really good already - one of which might expand to something longer - and two with potential). Plus, I finally had the time and space to make progress on the novel. I'm really happy with myself.

Starting tomorrow, it's back to the revising table for my erotica. I have some deadlines coming up! Several anthologies I want to submit to have deadlines ending this week. It's great to feel so productive. And I already have a good buffer heading into the new year!

December 26, 2009

Florida So Far

My hotel is sub-par, but other than that, this trip has been great. Easy flight out, got to have Christmas dinner with old friends and new faces, and I spent much of today on the beach, playing in the Gulf of Mexico. I ate way too much good food, frequented some cute bookstores, and have had a productive writing time: 2 poems and 2 pieces of erotica, right on schedule! Plus I have given a lot of attention to marking up the first draft of my new novel. I plan to spend more time on that tonight, too.

Tomorrow I plan to spend more time on the beach before the wedding. I'm more relaxed than I've been in weeks, and it's really showing in my work. The story I wrote over lunch today is going to be great when I get home and revise it. I'm already really pleased with the first draft.

December 24, 2009

Vacation Goals

Tomorrow morning, I leave for Florida. I'll be attending a friend's wedding in Sarasota on the 27th, and am taking a little extra time to myself. I arrive on the 25th, get back to Austin on the 28th. I look forward to both seeing old friends and having time alone. And since I'll have plenty of free time as well as a hotel room on the beach, I imagine it will be a great place to settle down and work on my writing. So I've set some goals for the next few days.

  1. Finally start revising the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo this year. The Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award deadline is February 7th, and I'd like to have a decent entry this year. I don't have much time, so I'd better get revising.
  2. Write at least one new poem and one new piece of erotica each day I'm in Florida. Maybe that doesn't seem like a lot, but usually I only get two pieces of each out a week - so even if I only meet the minimum I'll have doubled my output in a short time.
  3. Revise the novel, but do not revise anything else. Only draft erotica and poems. The point of this is simply to focus on having ideas, getting things out, letting my new surroundings take my imagination places. I'll focus on honing and sharpening my prose when I get back to Austin. In Florida, I want to focus on creating as much as possible.

December 23, 2009

Gloom Cupboard #113 is up!

The poetry component of Gloom Cupboard #113 is now up! Just in time for Christmas! Happy reading!

December 22, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I confess I cannot wait to go to Florida (I'm sure this confession is hardly surprising). My hotel is on the beach. I will have lots of time alone. I will have plenty of peace and quiet for writing. I will get to celebrate the marriage of a good friend, and see people from college I haven't seen in two years. This trip will rejuvenate me, make me fresh for the new year, and hopefully bring back the productivity that has been missing as I've been careening through a month of working retail during a huge shopping season, performing in two dance showcases, and general holiday business. I'm really burned out. I need this break. It will be wonderful. (And if anyone has recommendations for things to see/do in Sarasota, let me know!)

I confess that I leave on the 25th and am not nearly done with the massive list of things that need to be accomplished before I go.

I confess I've opened all my Christmas presents early and don't regret it.

I confess I always forget to turn on the tree lights. The ornaments are so pretty already, I don't really notice the lack of light.

I confess my husband and I forgot to light the menorah three times in the middle of Channukah.

I confess I spent less money than expected this holiday season, and I feel great about it.

I confess I feel like I'm at a turning point in my writing career, and thinking a lot about what direction I want to take my creative life, and it's a little scary. I plan to write about it sometime soon, but I'm not ready yet. Maybe after Florida.

December 15, 2009

Confession Tuesday

Working retail during the holidays is stressful, but doesn't make me feel nearly as awful as my old cubicle job. I may have to deal with customers, I may be overwhelmed sometimes, but I'm active, busy, and never bored. Even though I only make minimum wage, I'm far happier at this job than I used to be.

I'm way behind on my holiday cards - that is, I've only written and sent one. I have lots of family I need to send cards to, but I've been so busy with the two dance showcases I'm in this month that I barely have time to do the little things I need to accomplish throughout the day. If I'm lucky, I'll get them out by the 22nd . . .

My productivity has slowed down a lot this month. Between dance, the holidays, and other things, even when I have time to write, I just feel blocked. I'm hoping the few days I'll be spending in Florida will help rejuvenate me and bring back my inspiration.

December 11, 2009

Year in review

It's not quite the end of 2009, but I'm in two dance performances before the 21st, and have a wedding to attend in Florida right after Christmas, so I'm going to be getting progressively busier as the month progresses, so I'm doing my year in review a bit early.

Works written: 15 pieces of erotica; 1 first draft of a novel; 1 novella; a few dozen poems; 1 book review; 1 encyclopedia article; 1 magazine article; 1 piece of flash fiction; a few essays

Works published: 4 pieces of erotica; 4 poems; 1 piece of flash fiction; 1 book review; 2 pieces of nonfiction accepted but pending publication

Major setbacks: Deciding that the novel I wrote in 2008 was never going to be fit for publication after months of work

Major accomplishments: Self-publishing a novella and working hard to promote it; publishing the first piece of erotica I ever wrote

Overall evaluation: Considering that I basically started my entire writing career over from scratch (I didn't touch any of the work I wrote before February 2009, with the exception of the novel I drafted in November 2008), I feel like this was a pretty good first year. Maybe I didn't get as many publishing acceptances as I'd like, but overall, this year went better than expected.

December 8, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I confess it has been a very long time since I've blogged on a Tuesday.

I confess that I enjoy having so many activities that keep me away from blogging. Not that I hate blogging. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it at all. But I really like that my life is so busy that I'm not in front of the computer screen nearly as often as I used to be. I could easily spend hours playing around online, but I rarely feel productive when I do. I feel like I've been accomplishing a lot lately, which is great.

I confess I haven't started to revise my novel yet. I need some distance first.

I confess that I have been lazy about making my Christmas cards; my family is almost done with their shoping and card-sending, but I've barely started. I shouldn't feel guilty; it's only the 8th. But I have so many family members on top of things that I definitely feel behind.

December 7, 2009

2009 Bests

With various publications making their "Best Of" lists for the year, I thought I'd do one of my own. I'm listing both new works that came out this year, as well as works that are older that I just discovered.

Best New Poetry Collection: All Night Lingo Tango by Barbara Hamby. I stumbled on "Who Do Mambo" online and ordered this collection 20 minutes later. The rest of the work is so excellent that I'm turning a few lines into a tattoo next month.

Best Poet I Discovered This Year: Barbara Hamby

Best New Novel: Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult. I had not actually heard of Picoult before this year; amazing, considering that she's fairly prolific, writes bestsellers, and her works discuss important social issues. But I did not know about any of her novels until I read about Handle With Care in a magazine. I was immediately drawn in by the premise of a wrongful birth lawsuit, and checked it out from the library as soon as I could get my hands on it. I finished Handle With Care n in three days! I've read close to half of Picoult's novels since then.

Best Novel I Discovered This Year: I really can't give a definitive answer; I have to list two: Affinity by Sarah Waters and American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. Sarah Waters is my favorite author I discovered this year, and Affinity is by far the best of her two books I have read so far. It was stunning; I procrastinated on so many projects to read it, and the ending blew me away. I also procrastinated a great deal to read American Wife. I loved the way Sittenfeld blended fact and fiction; I loved how authentic her character's voice sounded.

Best New Nonfiction Book: Actually, I didn't read any nonfiction that came out in 2009. Oops.

Best Nonfiction Work I Discovered This Year: Worshipping Walt: The Whitman Disciples by Michael Robertson. I happened upon this book while meandering around the public library. A lifelong Whitman fan, I checked it out and read it immediately. This book chronicles people in the United States, Canada, and Britian who viewed Whitman as a sort of religious figure, and Leaves of Grass as gospel. A fascinating read.