2015 Goals: September Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

It was a relatively good month on this front. I sent out four query packages, including one with a (finally!) completed one-page synopsis. This is my first time sending a synopsis with a pitch, so I’m interested to see what sort of response it elicits (if any).

Within days of sending this round, I received a rejection. It was actually personalized and very nice. While disappointing, it’s also  a testament to the fact that I’m trying. I’m not afraid of being rejected or failing. I’m more afraid of falling into the trap of not trying at all!

Next month, I plan on sending out at least five more query packages. Here’s hoping something good happens!

2. Start writing Lineage.

My muse has been oddly silent on this project (especially since it was so chatty in August). I did however, jot down more dialogue notes and have started to consider creating a general outline.

3. Submit poetry.

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. As always, I find the prompts challenging and the community inspiring.

Results for the 2015 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides onWriter’s Digest) have not been updated in a while, so I’m still waiting to see how the rest of that competition plays out – 19 days are still up for grabs.

National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page were incredibly challenging this month. I am currently seven days behind and have learned the letter “u” is not my friend when it comes to haiku! Still, I intend on catching up before October prompts begin.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

The letter “u” was a serious thorn in my side, but other than that I managed to stay relatively on track. I intended to send out five query packages, but I settled for four because I finally completed a synopsis (something I’ve been trying to do for more than a year). Sometimes focus has a mind of its own and forces you to adjust your goals. And that’s okay! Hence, #5 below …

5. Be flexible.

See #4.

I’ve also continued experimenting with monoku. The more I play with it, the more I love it. I’m seriously toying with the idea of writing nothing but monokus for NaHaiWriMo’s October prompts. Full immersion in a practice always yields the most interesting results!

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: August Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

All rewrites and adjustments are officially finished! The Muse has a new beginning and all plot holes in the epilogue have been plugged. Yes, I did quite the little happy dance!

The process took much longer than I would have liked, but cutting an entire chapter was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Ultimately, I know I made the right decision and I don’t regret taking my time to get it right.

Armed with my reconfigured novel, I’m looking to start the query process once again. I pulled up my query letter tracker (i.e. spreadsheet) and updated it with possible targets. Let the games begin!

2. Start writing Lineage.

While plugging plot holes in The Muse, I added to my notes for Lineage. This month was all about world-building. Lineage will take my characters to a place that exists somewhere between myth and reality, (more so than already established in The Muse).

I’ve been doing some really fun research to determine what this pseudo-reality might look like (the colors and textures of Kartchner Caverns and Mammoth Cave are tickling my muse right now!), while also figuring out the characters who live there. Ever heard of a rogue muse? Well, you will! Stay tuned!

3. Submit poetry.

It was a good month for poetry! Partial results for the 2015 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides on Writer’s Digest) have been posted and I was thrilled to see my name listed in the Top 10 for Days 6 and 11. Considering the sheer number of entries (upwards of 900 to 1000 each day), I am both humbled and amazed to be included among the finalists. Results are still coming, so stay tuned!

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. As always, I find the prompts challenging and the community inspiring.

I also completed another month of National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. August prompts all started with the letter T and they were so much fun! I completed the month with at least one haiku a day.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

Despite the start of a new school year, (the busiest time of the year for teachers!), I managed to keep my muse focused on writing when I wasn’t at work. No matter how tired I am, the day isn’t over until I’ve written something!

5. Be flexible.

To close out August I decided to experiment with the haiku form, yet again. While I love the three line format in both traditional and contemporary haiku, I am intrigued by the single line format. It’s tricky and requires precise word choice. The examples I’ve seen are either amazing or weirdly abstract, which has left me leery of trying it out for myself.  Well, I finally jumped in and started playing with single line poetry. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m loving the challenge.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: May Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

I didn’t get to work on this goal as much as I would have liked. The day job always gets a little crazy during the month of May and makes some pretty intense demands on my time. On top of that, my portfolio submission for National Board Certification was due during May as well. Instead of focusing my energy on fiction writing, I had to direct my attention to professional, analytical non-fiction writing. My muse was not happy, but we got the job done.

With the arrival of summer comes huge amounts of free time that I will be devoting to restructuring Chapter 2 of The Muse,  (see Killing Chapter 1).

p.s. As this post goes live, I’ll be taking a Content Knowledge test for National Board Certification. Ahhhhh! Wish me luck!

2. Start writing Lineage.

I’m getting ready to blow the dust off of my notes as the above mentioned free time will be utilized for this project as well.

3. Submit poetry.

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. Every Wednesday, prompts are posted with an invitation to submit poetry in the comments. I was late a few times, but I managed to submit a poem every week.

I also completed another month of National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. May’s prompts were particularly challenging as each prompt started with the letter  “Q.” Despite the difficulty, I managed to crank out 46 haikus.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

National Board Certification severely encroached on my creative writing time, but I never totally lost focus.

5. Be flexible.

While I’ve made plans for my upcoming free time, I’m also making room for inspiration and exploration through travel. Towards the end of June, I’m heading Portland, Oregon for a change of scenery. We’ll see where it leads ….

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

2015 Goals: April Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

This was an interesting month for The Muse. I started April by organizing query packages. I was ready to hit send on all of them, when I realized something had to change. After three months of sending queries I’m getting responses, but they are all rejections. While getting a response of any kind is great, I’m not getting the “yes” I need.

After some thought I think I figured out what’s happening. The fact that I’m getting responses tells me I’ve got a good query letter. That means the rejection factor is coming from my sample pages, which is usually the first five chapters.

I sat down and read the first five chapters at least 10 times before I had a major epiphany. In an instant, I knew what was wrong. Funny how that happens! I wrote to my editor and asked her what she thought about my epiphany and she agreed I was on to something.

What it all comes down to is cutting Chapter 1 entirely. When I really thought about it I realized everything in Chapter 1 is addressed in later early chapters. So why am I clogging the beginning of the story with what is essentially back story? The story has its true start in Chapter 2, so it makes sense to push it up to the beginning.

I may not have sent out a query package this month, but I am working hard on adjusting my manuscript for the next round of queries.

2. Start writing Lineage.

On the shelf at the moment, as per my plan!

3. Submit poetry.

With April being National Poetry Month, I found it easy to focus on this goal! I participated in two poetry challenges:

Over on the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest, the annual April  Poem A Day Challenge commenced. This challenge is also a competition that will culminate in a published poetry anthology. Each day there was a prompt, a guest judge, and over 1,000 posted poems. It was an incredible experience! I managed to post haikus every day (in total, I wrote 88 haikus) and I met some amazing poets along the way.

I also completed another month of National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. While February is the official haiku writing month, the organization offers up daily haiku writing prompts every month. I ended up writing 61 haikus during the the month of April

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

As the school year is starting to draw to a close, this goal is getting a little harder, but I think writing 149 haikus qualifies as staying focused! 🙂

5. Be flexible.

Who would have thought I’d cut Chapter 1?! I’m still in shock I made this decision, but I think it’s the right thing to do.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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p.s. Happy Star Wars Day!!!

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: February Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

After spending a few weeks researching prospective agents, I finally got brave enough to send out two query packages. This is the first round of queries I’ve sent out since hiring an editor for my manuscript. It’s also the first run of a revised query letter.

I wish I could say all the revisions paid off instantly, but nothing involved with writing is instant! I’ve already received a rejection letter, which was actually very polite and even nice! While rejection sucks, receiving any sort of response is a win. This one in particular didn’t leave me feeling like a failure because it told me to keep trying, (this agent just didn’t feel like the right fit for my work).

While I wait for the second agency to respond, I’m busy working on the next round of queries I’ll be sending out in March.

2. Start writing Lineage.

On the shelf at the moment, as per my plan!

3. Submit poetry.

February turned out to be a pretty great month for poetry!

Back in January I submitted three haikus to local haiku competition and they ended up getting ranked as Outstanding (a status given to only 45 out of more than 600 entries). My haikus were put on display at a cultural festival and were also published in an ebook. All the details can be found in my recent post, A Haiku Victory!

In other haiku news, I quietly completed National Haiku Writing Month via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. The daily prompts were incredibly challenging (for example, the word “nuclear” was a prompt), but I loved every minute of it. I ended up writing more than 50 haikus by month’s end. Stay tuned as I’ll be posting selections soon.

In addition to NaHaiWriMo, I continued my involvement in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. I didn’t miss a single Wednesday Poetry Prompt.

As for my black out poetry submission, I’m still waiting on the results to this challenge: WD Poetic Forms Challenge: Erasure Poetry. Regardless of how this one turns out, I’m still very inspired by this form. A new collection is already in the works!

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

When it came to poetry and queries, I’d say I was pretty darn focused this month!

5. Be flexible.

As always, I’m staying open to opportunities and inspiration wherever they may be hiding.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015