July Status Report: 2012 Goals


July was an odd month where I felt like I wasn’t doing enough towards my goals, but when I sat down this weekend and assessed my status I was pleasantly surprised.  It turns out doing even the smallest thing each day really does make a difference!

At the same time, I did go on vacation for a week and I decided to make it a real vacation.  I didn’t write a thing and I barely got online, which gave me a lot of extra time to simply be. Time with family and green trees gave my muse and I a much needed breath of fresh air.

As I move into August, the school year is starting even earlier than the last. I’ll once again be busy with a day job, but I’ve got a schedule worked out to make sure I stay on track with my 2012 goals.

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.

So far this year, I’ve submitted three pieces which means I’ve over halfway done with this goal!

Earlier this month, I submitted a story entitled Blueberry Hunt to the Write It Your Way (Writer’s Digest – Summer Stories) contest.  Its the longest piece I’ve submitted all year and I’m proud of how it turned out. Finalists will be announced in August. Wish me luck!

The Poetry Poll series I’ve been posting over the last couple of weeks will come to an end this Friday. This is pretty exciting because the top three poems selected by my readers will be submitted to  Wordrunner eChapbooks‘ call for poetry relating to the theme of “found.”  All polls remain open until the finalists are announced on Friday, August 3.  If you haven’t voted yet, I would really appreciate your input. Go here, to catch up on any poll you might have missed.

Finally, I’ve still got my eye on these little gems:

Sixteenth Annual Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction Contest

Your Story #44 (Deadline: August 27th)

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

The first-person conversion experiment is going extremely well. I sent the first chapter to a beta reader who thought the change makes the character’s voice stronger, helps the story move faster, and changes the overall tone for the better.  After completing the second chapter, I have to say I totally agree!

With such positive results, I’ve decided to go ahead with a full manuscript overhaul. Sadly, this sets me back on a couple of goals this year, but I honestly think this is for the best.  Just as I keep track of word count for Novel #2, I will now be tracking converted word count for Novel #1 as a means to assess progress.

Converted word count:  7,657

3) Work on my second novel.

This has been another amazing month for Novel #2. At the beginning of the year, I set a mini-goal of reaching a total word count of 60,000 and I’m thrilled to say I have met that goal. However, the most exciting development is the fact that I am approaching the final two chapters in the book.  I am beyond excited to be so close to the end as these final scenes are the ones that inspired the entire story in the first place.

I am anticipating steady progress over the next month, but the last scenes are where I intend to take my time. The story has changed organically several times, which means I need to dig through my notebook more than usual in order to line up character arcs and story details.

Starting word count: 59,596
End word count: 64,427
Total word count: 4,831

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.

Considering the status of Goal #2, this goal has been put on hold.

5) Keep up with my blog.

As usual this has been no problem!  This month I posted 28 times and I am so thankful for every reader who decided to come for visit. Your clicks, comments, and Likes mean the world to me. Thank you so much!

Its been a busy blogging summer, but my posting schedule will change in August as I am heading back to work. I’m looking to stick to a consistent schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.  This way I have time to work on both novels and other creative pursuits, while also squeezing in that day job!

6) Network more with other writers.

I’ll admit I was a little lazy on this front and I wish I had better excuse than “I was knitting.” I learned how to knit this month and I’m having so much fun with it Facebook and Twitter have taken a back seat. Come August, I’m looking to get back in the social network game!

Thanks so much to those who did hit the Like and Follow button this month.  I promise I’ll be around a little more frequently!

My Facebook Page has grown from 165 to  178Likes.

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 265 to 283.

To follow me on either network, please visit my sidebar.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence!

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c.b.w. 2012


Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry


Ai Wiewei first made a blip on my radar during the awe inspiring opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but he captured my spirit with his inspiring art installations.  Back in March, I documented my experience with his Sunflower Seeds exhibit at the Tate Modern, (see Seeds to Ponder) and since then I’ve continued to explore his work and life.

A documentary entitled, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, opens in theaters this weekend.  This remarkable film provides insight into the courageous and vibrant voice of a man that refuses to be silenced. Filmmaker Alison Klayman tracks everything from the artist bent on creating evocative works of art to the outspoken activist that has found himself detained more than once by the Chinese government. Klayman catches it all with a smart balance of unrelenting honesty and humor, which serves as perfect reflection of the man himself.

Watching Ai Weiwei fight for his beliefs ignites that little spark that burns in everyone.  At one point in the film he offers a statement that pretty much says it all:

Freedom is a pretty strange thing. Once you’ve experienced it, it remains in your heart and no one can take it away.

Prepare to be inspired . . .

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c.b.w. 2012

Poetry Poll #4


Thanks so much to my readers for making the first three rounds of the Poetry Poll a success. Your participation has made this process a fun and enlightening experience.

The fourth and final round of initial voting is here and ready to go with the last batch of poems. Once again, my wonderful readers will decide which one deserves to move on to the final round.  Your vote truly does matter as poll results will determine which three poems I will submit to  Wordrunner eChapbooks, (in response to their call for poetry that relates to the theme of “found”).

All polls will remain open until Poll #5 is posted with the finalists.  This is a numbers game, so the poems with the most votes overall across all polls will make it to the final four.  Follow me on Twitter or my page on Facebook, (see  sidebar) for daily updates on poll numbers.

Need to catch up?  Check out the previous rounds here:

Poetry Poll #1

Poetry Poll #2

Poetry Poll #3

Ready, set, Round 4 . . .

A Bridge Crossed

Unknown Steps



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Thanks so much for casting your vote!

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c.b.w. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Garden’s End


After more than three months of growing and blooming, my garden has finally succumbed to the heat. Flowers have bloomed and started to wither, vegetable seedlings have sprouted and produced an amazing crop. A few stragglers continue to hang on, but the process of letting go must start now. Such is the cycle of life, green must eventually turn brown and return to the earth.

A page in Wreck This Journal has given me a place to memorialize my garden, while also giving me an excuse to play in the dirt.  As per instructions, I grabbed a clod of dirt and rubbed it into the center of the page.  This is the same dirt where my zucchini took root!  I added some sketches of little leaves and flowers that remain in my yard, despite a steady stream of 100+ degree weather.

Playing in the dirt is still fun!

I may be a grown woman, but I will never grow tired of digging around the dirt. A little dirt under my fingernails reminds me of being a little girl in the woods!

In the couple of weeks, we plan on pulling all the summer plants out (which will be super crispy very soon) and begin tilling the ground for a fall garden. We’ve got a compost pile started and a menu of seeds sorted.  Pumpkins, melons, onions, and perhaps another batch of sunflowers will hopefully brighten our back yard.

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c.b.w. 2012