Monthly Archives: July 2009

Writing priorities

My next big assignment for my class is due July 28. The conference begins July 30. So my writing priorities, in order:

  • Finish chapter 2
  • Write pitches for conference
  • Finish planning/outlining

The goal in an agent pitch at a conference is to get the agent to request the manuscript. It’s not a make-or-break thing though. Great writers can be lousy pitchers and vice versa. If you don’t get a request at the conference, then you just query — and 99%+ of agents are gotten through querying. The only benefit to meeting an agent at a conference is that you have a chance to make a face-to-face, personal connection. That’s awesome if you ultimately end up working together. If you don’t, it’s just networking. That face-to-face meeting, though, is not, in and of itself, going to get you an agent. It’s all about the writing!!

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Making progress!

I’ve been planning and planning, but when I finally tried to put words on paper, I was stuck. I wrote the same page over and over. Was it good? Was it crapped? Was it overwritten? I had no clue, and it was driving me crazy. I hadn’t written “real” fiction in years — I was out of practice and frustrated.

So finally I decided to sign up for an online fiction writing course. I figured it would give me some accountability, force me to produce on a regular basis, and hopefully provide some decent critiques. It worked! I’ve actually maintained interest in the class, and I’ve been writing regularly. I’m still painfully slow, but it’s all coming back to me and getting easier with practice. I’ve gotten some good feedback too, which is increasing my confidence.

I signed up to attend the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Conference at the end of this month. It’s local, so I won’t have to pay for travel or hotel. It’ll be a good networking experience, and agent and editor pitching sessions are included in the base price. My goal is to have some sample pages ready to take with me.

Oh, I made two key decisions, FINALLY. First, I’m writing the story I want to write, which means I’m writing a mainstream novel from Charm’s POV. Second, the dog’s name is River. Now I need to come up with a good title! The one I have has been universally criticized as boring.

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Seattle summer is hard to beat

Seriously — we have the best summer in the country. The winters may drive me insane, but the summers are to DIE for. This year summer started in mid May. It has rained a handful of times… 3? 4?… since then. A few days have been in the 90s, but most in the 70s/lower 80s. Bliss!

My container garden is thriving. It’s low maintenance — I don’t have to fight bugs or bunnies or deer or weeds. All I have to do is water it each day, and I’ve done that religiously. I *did* have a near-tragedy with my tomato plant when the fruit-heavy top snapped off, but I tied it to the post in a way that the broken ends of the stem met and, believe it or not, I think it’s going to survive!

The wildlife is thriving too. We have a pack of coyotes living in our woods. I don’t see them too often, but we hear them at night fairly frequently. The deer have had their babies, though most of the ones around here this year are adolescents. I’ve enjoyed watching a nest of barn swallows grow up. Last year I don’t think any of this bird’s babies survived — falls from the nest are common and fatal — but this year all four of the babies did well. They all left the nest today!

Work is fine. I survived a round of vendor layoffs at the end of Q2, so I’ll be there for sure through the end of September. Beyond that nothing is certain. We’ve been saving money, and so we’ll be okay if I have to take a few months off, but there are pros and cons to that. I would LOVE to have the time off so I can work on my novel, and if I could guarantee I could restart the contract at my current job in Q1 next year, I would jump on that option. But I know that there’s no way they can guarantee that they’ll be able to rehire me next year, and it’s far easier to extend a contract than to get approval for a new one.

The other downside to taking time off would be financial. Like I said, we’ve been saving, so we’re not worried about not being able to afford the time off, but it would prevent us from fixing the drainage around the foundation this year. I really don’t want to deal with flooding in the basement again this winter! I suppose that as much as I want some time off to write, being employed and warm and dry is more important.

As I mentioned, I really have been working on my novel. I signed up for an online writing class to get my butt in the seat, and it actually worked! I’ve gotten some good feedback too.

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