The Writing Life: How I lived it up in January

 

Dear Reader,

It’s February and 2016 is rocking and rolling. I’ve stopped writing 2015 on correspondence and have come to the realization, albeit slowly, that my 20-year high school reunion is coming up.  (Yikes!)

It’s also a time to reflect on what I’ve done in the past month toward my goals. Last month, I loosely outlined what I wanted to do this year with my writing and my writing life. There were a couple of areas I wanted to concentrate on – writing more short stories, submitting more to lit journals and opportunities, write more on the blog, working in non-fiction, get Jennie Manning back on track toward publication.

I’ve done lots of that and more. When I actually listed what I’ve accomplished, I was shocked. I honestly thought I was being lazy and didn’t feel like I did a lot of writing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Most of the new writing happened on this site, however, there was lots of revising and revisioning things. More importantly, I was filling the well, reading and letting ideas percolate.

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Just picked this up on Friday. Can’t wait to get into it.

So here’s what I did in January.

  1. Accepted offer to a writer’s workshop (yay! More on that in May)
  2. Applied to a residency (wish me luck)
  3. Submitted two short stories for publication, 1 accepted, 1 rejected
  4. Submitted a workshop panel to an international conference
  5. Revised an old story to submit
  6. Wrote several blog posts (yup, that counts)
  7. Read 1 book (short story collection), 1 new short story
  8. Made BIG advances to a non-fiction essay (to be submitted next month)
  9. Reworked an early chapter of Jennie Manning

That’s insane considering that school started this month and I had to prepare syllabuses for five classes AND assign readings.

One thing that did help me was keeping a spreadsheet of deadlines and links to opportunities and journals accepting work.  Here’s a version that you can download.

On my spreadsheet there are columns for deadlines, the title of the opportunities, and the link to the websites where they were. There was also a column for notes to myself, which is where I wrote what each thing needed as far as cover letters or CVs.  All that stuff takes a while to put together. My favorite column on the spreadsheet is the name of the piece I’ll be submitting.

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So nice and quiet. Loving my own space, even if it’s only for a little while.

Another thing that was helpful to me was to have some writing time built into (some of) my days. I love the fact that one of my colleges gives lets me use a cubicle in between classes. It’s quiet and I can type away without being annoying.  The campus library is also awesome because, well, it’s a library.

Writing with friends Trevor and Jasminne was also so helpful. We meet up and for those hours, we are writing. We talk if we need an opinion on something but for the most part, we’re nose to the grindstone.  Awesome.

So good first month with lots of great stuff getting done. I’m excited for February. It’ll be interesting to see how much I can accomplish now that classes are in full swing and with the month’s deadlines looming. Wish me luck!

 

Focused,

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