2015 Goals: January Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

I’ve been quite busy on this front! My list of prospective agents continues to grow as I peruse the 2015 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino. I now have 14 literary agents on my list and I’m currently personalizing my query letter to align with their individual interests.

Towards the end of January, I participated in a Twitter Pitch event launched by a literary agency. My twitter pitch was not favorited, which means I can add another rejection to my growing collection. I don’t view this as a bad thing as gathering rejections is just part of a writer’s life.

2. Start writing Lineage.

Poetry, work, and query packages were the priority in January, so Lineage has been hanging out in the background. This isn’t a surprise to me as I don’t really plan on sitting down to write this thing for another few months.

3. Submit poetry.

This is another area where I was busy!

I entered three haikus in a local competition. Every year the downtown area plays host to a Japanese cultural festival. For this year’s festival there will be a haiku exhibit where winning poems will be displayed. I’ll know by February 14th if I made the cut.

I’m also holding true to my goal of hanging out with the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. Every Wednesday there is a prompt and invitation to post a poetic response. I use this opportunity to practice writing haikus and to read through the work of other poets. I love everything about this community of writers and the inspiration that comes with it. I’m happy to say I posted a poem every single week during January.

Lastly, I’m still waiting to hear on two competitions I entered back in December 2014: WD Poetic Forms Challenge: Erasure Poetry and the 2014 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Results aren’t expected to come through until February, so I guess we’ll wait and see!

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

I stayed relatively focused. I wrote something almost every day and worked consistently towards pitching The Muse. My knitting habit and a nasty cold may have stolen a few days, but otherwise, my writing stayed front and center in my life!

5. Be flexible.

I’m finding inspiration everywhere. After a long hiatus, I’m back to walking to work in the morning. The silence of the world just before dawn has inspired a ridiculous amount of haikus.

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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

2014 Goals: November Status Report

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Overall November was a very successful month in terms of writing goals. Besides getting some solid work done on The Muse, my poetic muscle got a workout as well!

1) Pitch The Muse.

As announced last week, final edits on The Muse are now complete, (see The Finish Line). This, of course, means I’m ready for another round of sending out queries. Hopefully, a shiny new manuscript and a new query letter will incite some interest for my project.

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

While plugging a plot hole in the epilogue for The Muse, I got a better sense of where I want to start with Lineage. In addition, I got an idea for a stunning plot twist. Can’t wait to start piecing together the logistics for what I consider a game changing event.

I also added a couple of new songs to the Lineage playlist:

  • Cecilia and the Satellite by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
  • Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons

3) Submit writing.

This space has been filled with a lot of poetry this month thanks to the 2014 November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge over on Poetic Asides(via Writer’s Digest). I completed the challenge of writing a poem a day, while also achieving my goal of writing 30 Haikus in 30 Days, (I ended up with 45 haikus).

The next phase of the challenge involves submitting a chapbook collection of 20 poems written during the challenge. Over the  next few weeks, I’ll be deciding which haikus to include and figuring out the sequence of how they’ll appear in my chapbook draft.

The entire experience has been nothing short of amazing. Between exploring the haiku form and finding my voice within haiku, I sit in awe of how much I found hiding within 17 syllables.

4) Continue to build author platform.

Social media continues to be a positive experience. My favorite hangout is still over at Facebook. Interaction and traffic continues to rise and I am genuinely having fun.

Facebook likes went from 378 to 384

Twitter followers went from 548 to 550

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence.

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

My exploration of haiku took me down many unexpected paths. The form isn’t as rigid as I thought.* We’ve all been taught to write in three lines with a 5-7-5 syllable count, but english language haiku has evolved into a much more liberal format. I’m anxious to experiment with the modern concept of haiku and see where it takes me.

* A little reading brought me to this realization:

  • The Classic Tradition of Haiku ed. Faubion Bowers
  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Basho
  • The Haiku Anthology ed. by Cor van den Heuvel

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c.b.w. 2014

 

Favorite Thing Friday: Haikubes

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While poking around the sale tables at Barnes & Noble, I found what is easily my favorite thing this week. Hiding under a stuffed animal with freakishly large eyes, I found a box of Haikubes for the bargain price of $12.

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What are Haikubes? They are a set of 63 word cubes meant to inspire the writing of haikus (or any form of poetry). The words include most parts of speech and cover a wide range of language. Some words are what would be considered traditional haiku fare, like peace, whisper, and pebble, while others can only be classified as modern, like hmmmm, etc., and science. 

The interesting mix of words is part of what makes this an ultimate source of inspiration. Instead of being locked into one mode of thinking for haiku, Haikubes encourage a fresh take on an old tradition. Although, I do wonder what the syllable count would be for hmmmm!

The set even includes two “theme” cubes to further guide the writing process. As if the words aren’t enough, phrases like “A dream about,” “A vision for,” and “A regret about” are sure to trigger some creative word crafting.

All I have to do is roll the dice and get writing. Seeing all those words splayed across my table is like looking at a giant puzzle. As I search through the words, it’s like I’m solving a giant riddle. The words are just waiting for me to arrange them into something that makes sense.

If there’s any question about whether Haikubes actually work, see my post from Wednesday, Thunder.

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Gateway

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Watchful scholars,
cure vacant minds
Hands open wide,
catch empty thoughts
The portal opens,
welcoming all
Leave ignorance
standing outside

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Entrance to the Victoria & Albert Museum, London
Photo by: c.b.w. 2005

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In honor of Mother’s Day, I hope it can be forgiven that this week’s Sunday Abroad is a day late.

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c.b.w. 2013