November Challenges: Week #4

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The close of November brought the end of both NaNoWriMo and the Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides on Writer’s Digest). By some miracle, I managed to complete my goals for both challenges despite a few days of writer’s block and the Thanksgiving holiday.

NaNoWriMo

Early Bird word count: 1,611

Week 1 word count: 3,262

Week 2 word count: 4,567

Week 3 word count: 3,535

Week 4 word count: 2,416

Total: 15,391

I hit my goal of 15,000 words (plus a little more). It doesn’t get any better than that! All I can say is I’m grateful for planning a little bit ahead when I clocked in three early bird writing days. I knew Thanksgiving weekend was going to be crazy, so I worked in a few extra days beforehand to alleviate the stress of cramming in writing time while also trying to spend time with family. Thank goodness the only pantsing going on was with the actual writing, rather than with scheduling!

The Month’s Trends:

I pantsed it the entire time!

I fully expect to be referencing my notebook during the next phase of my novel, but the first seven chapters were completed pantsed. And I loved every second of it! I never would have guessed it, but pantsing is quite liberating.

I’ve always planned everything I write, but this time my characters had other things in mind. I fully intend on giving them more control as the process continues. Why bother fighting them? They know their story best, right?

Music Matters

I’ve always used carefully constructed playlists to help fuel my muse’s imagination. Even with pantsing, this is still true. Imagine Dragons, Junip, and Muse all played a key role in giving my main characters a deeper sense of emotion, while also unearthing some pretty interesting secrets.

I have a lucky charm.

My typewriter key pendant has become a talisman of inspiration. I don’t know if I’m just imagining things, but my writing time always seemed to go a little smoother when I wore it. I’ll be wearing it until The Muse’s sequel is finished.

There’s always time to write.

Is my life crazy busy? Yes. But this month has reminded me that there is always time to write. I just have to want it bad enough. Small sacrifices had to be made, but it was worth it overall to get the chance to tell the story that’s been inside my head for so long.

November Poem A Day Challenge

A month of poeming has come to an end and I’m proud to say I wrote a poem for each day in November. I had to play catch-up a couple of times, but I still completed the challenge on time.

The next step is choosing 20 poems to create a chapbook submission. I’ve entered this competition several times before without success, but I’ll jump in again anyway. It’s free to enter and I love the challenge of piecing together a collection. I learn something every year about what works and what doesn’t when selecting poems for a chapbook.

The last batch of poems I wrote for the PAD challenge will be posted on my haiku blog, Haiku Tree, throughout this week. Check it out!

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How did you fare on your goals for November?

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c.b.w. 2016

 

2015 Goals: October & November Status Report

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Somehow October got away from me, so it’s going to hang out with November for this round of goal assessment. It’s been two months of ups and downs, but for the most part my muse is on a roll.

1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

It’s been a rough couple of months on this front! I sent out four query packages (just shy of my goal of five) in October. Out of those four, I received one written rejection and three assumed rejections. The assumed rejections are due to the fact that I got the silent treatment. Oooo, that’s painful! All part of process, I suppose!

During November, I put all my focus on the Poem A Day Challenge on Poetic Asides (see #3 below), so I didn’t send out any additional query packages.

I intend on starting a new round of queries after the holiday craziness calms down a bit.🙂

2. Start writing Lineage.

One the shelf for the time being thanks to poetry pursuits.

3. Submit poetry.

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest for Wednesday prompts and the 2015 November Poem A Day Challenge.

For the challenge I wrote between three and four haikus per day. The end goal of the challenge is to construct a chapbook of poems from the challenge and submit the manuscript. The winning chapbook is published!

I’m in the process of experimenting with a possible concept for my chapbook. There was a reason why I wrote a minimum of three haiku for each prompt. Now it’s time to see if my idea is going to work. Stay tuned!

Results for the 2015 April Poem A Day Challenge (via Poetic Asides onWriter’s Digest) were finally updated again. I am excited to announce that I’ve scored another Top 10 finish!! You’ll see me listed just below the halfway point. YAY!

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National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page offered up some interesting prompts. I completed both October and November prompts.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

After the epic failure of October’s query packages, it was tough to stay focused. However, the PAD Challenge helped keep me grounded and motivated me to stay in the game. I’m still going strong and I’m not about to give up!

5. Be flexible.

See #3.

My experiment for my PAD Chapbook entry is definitely challenging me to look at haiku from a different perspective. The concept didn’t occur to me until a week into the challenge, so I’m going to have to go back and reconfigure a few things. I have no idea if my idea is going to work, but I’m excited to give it a try. Details will be forthcoming!

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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: 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

You Must Believe

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Fairy dust falls

every time it rains

Sunlit drops twinkle,

sparkle and shine

Magic so high,

it flies

Petals of white,

pink and red

unfurl each spring

bright and sweet

Magic so near,

it breathes

Beyond belief

some might say

Yet, in all things

it lingers

Magic so close

it sings

 

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c.b.w. 2015

The Essential Haiku Library

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Poetry books tend to occupy a small space in most bookshops unless your local bookshop is one of those awesome little nooks that carries everything. Haiku books occupy an even smaller space, if at all. This is quite the problem for an avid reader, writer, and all out fan of haiku.

Where do you find these?!

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When I first got into haiku as a daily practice a year ago, I was desperate for haiku reading material – especially contemporary haiku. Much to my dismay, my local bookshop carried only one anthology. I bought it and devoured it within a week. Now what? As a newbie, I didn’t know what to look for or what authors/editors to search.

I did the usual amazon search and found a couple things here and there, but they were ridiculously expensive as they were often self-published, single print or special editions of journals. So, I tried Half Price Books where I lucked out with two more anthologies. From there, I was able to put together some names of celebrated haiku poets and editors, which allowed me to do more advanced searches in online sources.

Needless to say, building my haiku library has been an arduous task! A trip to Powell’s in Portland, Oregon helped, but it has not been easy to find publications of an art form that has become one of my passions.

All that book stalking paid off with a nice little collection of haiku anthologies, histories, and philosophies.

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Now that I’ve done all the grunt work, I thought I’d share what I consider to be the quintessential books that should be part of any haiku library. Knowing the titles and authors/editors make finding them infinitely easier. I’ve linked them to sources to make it even easier!

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Basho

The Haiku Anthology – Ed. By Cor van den Huevel

Haiku in English: The First One Hundred Years – Ed. by Jim Kacian, Philip Rowland, and Allan Burns

The Essential Haiku – Ed. by Robert Hass

Haiku Moment – Ed. by Bruce Ross

Haiku 21 – Ed. By Lee Gurga and Scott Metz

Haiku Vol. 1-4 by R.H. Blyth – I do not own these volumes, but they are considered required reading by most haiku enthusiasts. They are difficult to track down and can be a bit pricey.

My collection includes more than this list and there are, of course, many more volumes out there. These are, however, the ones that left the most meaningful impression on my muse. I learned the most from them about the tradition and evolution of haiku, while also experiencing the powerful nature of haiku through some incredibly talented poets.

I am always looking for new anthologies, so if you know any good titles, please share them in the comments!

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c.b.w. 2015