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Posts Tagged ‘writing update’

Update from the writing mines, my lovelies.

I’ve been home a whole week and am getting ready to leave again tomorrow. I’ve managed to make good use of my in-between-travel time by revising a short story, breaking a novel, and beginning revisions to said novel. I’ve actually been really struggling with the changes to the short story. I drafted it during the writing retreat I attended in Philadelphia last month and I’ve been tinkering with it ever since, trying to layer in nuance and still keep it under 5k (it keeps wanting to get unwieldy). I think it’s almost there, except I’m not loving the opening two pages. So, on the side it goes for a time out.

My big plan for this month is to get Project Awesome revised so I can send it to Beta readers before I leave for Norway in August. I think it’s a doable plan. There’s mainly editing needed in the first half, some new pieces to lay in the middle and final third, and a new ending to write. We shall see. I’ve got it all mapped out, so it’s really just a matter of finding time to get fingers on the keyboard. There’s today, some time on the plane tomorrow, a few days while in Seattle next week and then then about 2 1/2 weeks back in NYC at the beginning of August.

So, there’s no time to waste, is there?

Laters!

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Well, it’s been two weeks, hasn’t it? Perhaps the time has flown by for you, but I’ve felt every second of it. Being an archaeologist, after all, is sometimes very hard work.

To wit: I’ve spent the last 14 days troweling through soil that was either a muddy, clay-like soup or sun-baked cement, depending on the weather. In a very cruel and unobliging turn, that soil flatly refused to yield up anything of interest or cultural value (save a handful of pot sherds, a few stone tools, and a very sad remnant of a post hole). Sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles. And it wasn’t a total waste. I have muscles now. Also, I’ve been introduced to a staggering variety of ticks, spiders, beetles, and ants. Perhaps the real win, though, was the company we kept. From the volunteers who joined us ad hoc to the Army Corps folks we worked with day in and day out, we came up aces. And good company makes up for a lot.

One of the (many) nice things about being finished with our excavations is that I can get back to writing again. There was only energy enough for my body or my brain to be working out in that hot sun, so I didn’t accomplish much on the creativity front. Now, though, I’m ready to dive into revising Project Awesome before sending it to Beta readers. I’ve also got a short story ready for revisions.

First, though, I’ve still got a few days left in Kansas City. We may not have found much, but we do have to wash, process, and analyze the artifacts we turned up. There’s also a report to be written for the Army Corps. So, there’s that to be done. Soon, though, its home to Brooklyn, back to my husband and my cat and the start of a proper summer.

In the meantime, here are some photos from the dig to give you an idea of what archaeology in Missouri in June looks like 😉

Enjoy!

 

 

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Well, it’s been a hell of a week and a half around here, but I’ve found (as I have in other hard times) that writing can be a pretty good balm for unhappiness.

Since returning from my father-in-law’s funeral in New Orleans, I’ve been slowly trying to reestablish a (small) sense of normalcy.  Writing has been a big part of this.  I’ve continued work on my newest novel project, Project Awesome, which (coincidentally) addresses issues of loss, and I’ve started revising one of the shorts I wrote during my story-a-week experiment.

The Olympics have helped, too – nothing like a multi-week marathon of excellence and victory to lift your spirits (or, if you watch too much, numb you to everything).

This summer has also been one of travel for me.  In fact, out of the 11 weeks since the semester ended I’ve spent over half (6) of them on the road.  And…I’m leaving again on Tuesday for a week-long visit to Seattle.  I thought this might have a negative effect on my writing productivity, but I ran the numbers and I’ve actually written a respectable amount.

Since the summer started, I’ve drafted 15,000 new words on Project Awesome.  I’ve read and processed feedback on ABSENT and devised a plan for revising that novel.  Finally, I’ve drafted four new short stories (totaling about 8,000 words).  I didn’t write at all in Spain, or last week in New Orleans, so excluding those three weeks, that’s about 3,000 words a week (not counting the revision work on ABSENT).

Not my highest weekly average, but not bad for such a topsy-turvy few months.  More than anything, I’ve been reminded through all of the highs and lows of this summer that writing isn’t just something I want or like to do, it’s something I need to do.  Writing gives me a sense of purpose and strength.

Do I want to be successful?  Do I want to sell books and make money?  Of course I do, and I believe with hard work and patience, those things will come.  More and more, though, I’m realizing they are not the reason I continue to write.

I write because it is the most fun thing I’ve ever done, because it provides me with challenges and puzzles and stretches my imagination and brings me joy.  I also write because it’s the best way I can find to make sense of life – especially when life hands me a bucket of really rotten lemons and I have no choice but to drink their bitter juice.

Like right now.

So, if you will excuse me, I think I’m going to make some tea (the other balm for my soul) and go write.

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As regular readers know, I recently returned from a trip abroad (to Spain).  It was a wild ride, full of plenty of highlights, a few lows, and no small amount of ineffably delicious food and drink.  I’ll try to get some reviews, photos, and thoughts online soon.  In the meantime, I shall just say that Spain remains one of my favorite places to visit and the trip was relaxing and restorative enough to send me home with a major yen to get back to work on my writing projects.  So, mission accomplished.

Being a traveling fool, I’m actually heading out again on Friday.  This time?  A trip to Seattle to visit family.  I’ll be spending time with my little nieces, helping my mom with a tour she’s hosting in her amazing garden, going camping at Mount Rainier (if the weather holds), and doing a little research for my current novel project, which takes places in the Pacific NW.

Between now and then, I plan to write like a maniac.  I’ve got a new short story — the first I’ve written in some time, actually — that I’d like to put finishing touches on and send out, plus forward motion on the Urban Fantasy novel I’m drafting.  I owe a few crits, too.  So that’s on this week’s agenda as well.  Reader feedback on ABSENT has been trickling in, so by the time I return from Seattle, I hope to take some time to sit down and sort it all out, make a plan, and start revising.

Then, if I’m not sick of traveling, I’ll head up to Boston for Readercon.

That’s my forecast for late June/early July.  What does the next month hold for you?

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…that chocolate is the best cure for the blues.  Everybody knows, though, that the real answer is exercise.  I woke up in a remarkably black mood this morning, so I’m trying both.  I flung myself around on the treadmill at the YMCA until I was too tired to maintain a crabby attitude.  Now I’m sitting at my favorite neighborhood cafe with a steamy, frothy mug of hot chocolate.  The special alchemy of endorphins + chocolate + Friday seems to be working.

So, on to some writerly updates.

I’ve punched out about 7K this week on the second draft of my archaeological time travel novel ABSENT.  For me, this is heavy-duty progress and I feel about 80% confident I can make my self-imposed deadline of April 1st to finish the damn thing and send it off to my writing group.

I submitted a few short stories that had been on the back burner to various markets, which felt good.  I’ve really stopped writing short fiction lately (the two novels I’m cooking up are more than enough to be getting on with), but it’s nice to have the shorter-term gratification that comes with knowing you’ve got a few things out to market.

The other big project on the docket is plowing through approximately 80K of submissions for the writer’s retreat I’m attending in Dallas at the end of next week.  I’ve skimmed over almost everything and started in on a more thorough read-through of two of the subs.  There’s a wide range of material and it’s nice to get out of my own head for awhile and see what other people have been working on.  Still, it is a lot of words, so I’d better get serious…and soon.

In non-writerly news, “the upheaval” continues (and will no doubt do so for quite a while).  My attitude on the whole thing changes with the wind, but right now I’m hopeful some hail Mary passes sprinkled liberally with fairy dust may bring the whole situation to a happy conclusion.  More to follow.

On a more cheerful note, our downstairs neighbors finally moved in yesterday. We are no longer the sole occupants of the 4 unit Brownstone in which we live!  The new neighbors seem nice — charming even.  They appear to have sufficient fingers and toes about them and no sign of horns.  All in all, a very positive development.

Well, there’s lots of reading and writing to be done and my hot chocolate is getting cold.  If you feel so inclined, please share your recent writing goals, accomplishments, and plans in the comments.  It’s always nice to know what everyone else is up to — makes you feel less alone, you know?

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