Category: Publishing Journey Updates

The Year in Review

I can’t believe 2017 is over.

Another year has slipped by.

On this last day of the year, I completed my fourth online writing course, The Craft of Style. I enjoyed not only the instruction, but the feedback on my stories from other students taking the courses.  If you’re a writer, you know how vulnerable story writing is. You can’t help but take criticism personally because your stories come from you, they are you.  But my skin is hardening (in a good way) and I am learning to receive constructive criticism and use it to make my writing better.

I’ve seen my writing stretch and grow so much with these courses.  The capstone course begins in March.  That class is several months long, as opposed to only one month, and the assignment is to write an entire short story.  Though I have been writing short stories all year, I am interested to learn more about the craft of writing a short story and getting feedback from my writing peers.

This was a good year for me.  I dusted off my goal of being a writer, this time for good.  I wrote over forty short stories this year and sent them out to be published. I haven’t been successful yet, but I know it’s coming.

I completed the 12 Short Stories Challenge over at 12shortstories.com.  I got a lot of great feedback from other writers and having a deadline each month helped keep me focused on writing every day.

In case you haven’t been following my blog, this challenge included getting a writing prompt each month with a specified word count.  You had one month to write your story.  On a specified date, you posted your story and other writers gave you feedback on it.  You, in turn, also gave feed back to other writers.

I got a lot of varied feedback on my stories.  I even wrote one on taking a knee, which had the most heated feedback of all.  But the fact that the feedback was so emotional means I did my job.

To really keep myself focused, I decided to make my own writing space in the living room. I found a Queen Anne writing desk on Craigslist and knew that I had to have it.  Something about it spoke to me. The woman that sold it to me was not only a Black woman like myself, but she is a published author.  That wasn’t a coincidence.  She told me that it was her mother’s desk and that it had good energy.  When I left, she told me to make her proud.  I plan to do just that.  This is my beauty shortly after I brought her home.  It’s much more…lived in….now.  Let’s just say it’s neat, but looks like a true writer’s desk complete with papers and lots of books everywhere.  But it’s my most happy place in the home.

 

That t-shirt there on the desk was my next accomplishment for 2017.  After a five year hiatus, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again.  I finished a really cool novel about the ghost of an enslaved woman who haunts a farm house.  I won’t tell you much more because that is the book I am about to begin editing.  I plan on it being my first published book.  But, I digress.

NaNoWriMo is done during the month of November.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words in one month.  That’s 1,667 words every day, no excuses.  I had already been working on the concept of the novel I wanted to write, so NaNoWriMo was the perfect way to flesh it out into an actual completed first draft.  There’s a whole post about me finishing the challenge here.  But here’s a photo of me on the last day of November, with my NaNoWriMo winner’s shirt on.

Another goal I completed was this website.  I am a writer and will be a very successful published author with a huge, devoted following of readers.  What better way to hold myself accountable to that goal than an author website?

I’ve even posted some of the short stories I’ve written here.  For 2018, I will be writing a short story and posting it each Monday.  I already have some story concepts written out.  I think they will make for some every entertaining reading.  Get ready to meet Penelope Nithercott of Ottertail Falls.  That’s all I have to say about that. 🙂

You may know that I’m a voracious reader.  This year I read 75 books.  I’m pretty proud of that. This was the first year I actually kept track of how many I’ve read.  I never saw the point before because I am always reading.  But it was cool to set a goal and see if I could meet it.  I said I was going to read 70 books this year and exceeded that goal by five! I set my goal for 2018 to 85.  Yay, me!!!

So, it’s been a really productive year.  I haven’t been published yet, other than here on my own site, but I know without a doubt that’s happening in 2018.

I’m excited about what’s on the horizon for me.  Come and visit me here often! Enjoy the journey with me. Leave me comments, too! I’d love to know who’s out there keeping me company.  A writer’s life can be a little solitary sometimes.

Well, here’s to a prosperous 2018 filled with miracles, opportunities, and blessings big and bigger!

Until I write again!

 

 

 

I survived NaNoWriMo!

I did it!!!  I made it! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)  has come to a close and I finished strong! In case you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s a challenge every November to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Sound easy?

Try it.

By the way, please enjoy the randomly placed selfies of me in my winner shirt as you read.  🙂

That feeling you feel when you type the last sentence.

It was a long month but it was invigorating.  Not only did I work on my novel every day, but I finished the third class in a creative writing cluster course, wrote a small stack of short stories, continued to read books on writing, finished number book number 66 of 70 novels I pledged to read for the year, and even managed to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family!

Phew!

I never once dreaded any of it.  The more I write, the more motivated I get.  Writers write every day.  It’s the only way to become better at what we do.  It’s the only way to push through the rejections we get (and I got a ton of those, too, during the month of November).

I’m a winner. My shirt says so and that settles it.

So, what’s next? Well, today I am going to work on the book summary and tagline for my novel. The former is basically my 30-second elevator pitch.  Those aren’t my strong suit, so I’m taking some extra time to get that done.

A tagline is that one-liner like what you see on a movie poster.  I will write a slew of those and then let my friends on Facebook vote for the best one.

The novel itself is going to sit untouched for about three weeks.  Then I’ll bring my fresh eyes to it and do my first round of editing.  After that, I’ve carefully selected some beta readers to test the waters.  I have a set of questions that go along with the book.  This will help me to see what works and what doesn’t.

After that, I find a professional editor to tear apart — I mean read — my novel.  Then I find a publishing house to publish it.

No matter how much you write, you must write more.

But I am going to celebrate a little bit today.  This was a major accomplishment!  And then I’m going to continue to write.

Every day.

Writers write and then write some more.  I even have a character scratching around in my head and I’m not sure who she is or what she wants but I’m going to storm write and she where she takes me.  To tell the truth, I’m a little sad that NaNoWriMo is over.  It’s nice to have that support from other writers.  This writing life is very solitary, and I don’t mind that, but every once in a while it’s nice to opine the daily struggles with other writers in the craft.

So, onward we go! I have every confidence that my tagline here on my website will be changing from “pre-published author” to “author” very soon!

I leave you with this quote that is one of many that seems to sum up this precious writing life:

“Long patience and application saturated with your heart’s blood—you will either write or you will not—and the only way to find out whether you will or not is to try.” —Jim Tully, WD

Until next time, my beloved readers!

A final shot before I bid you adieu.