Friday Update: An End to May

And the month of May is just about over! What a whirlwind. I covered a lot of the writing related achievements in my Monthly Goals Review – May 2021 post, but to sum it up: I wrote a lot. Like. A LOT.

I managed to wrap up three short stories, one of which is already on submission, one of which will *hopefully* be on submission as of this weekend, and one which is cooling its heels until it’s ready to be revisited. It’s actually pretty rare that I write a story that I also end up submitting in the same month, so I’m pleased!

I made good progress on the novel, hitting 50k of the rewrite, which I’m hoping will put me in good stead for progressing into the second half over the next few months.

I also managed to finish four books (hooray!): Gideon the Ninth (A), Dark Tales (A-), Your Seven-Year-Old (C+), and The Accidental Creative (B: a reread, but worth revisiting).

Gideon was so good it drove me into a depression for a few days because HOLY CRAP, to be able to write like that-! The first act is a touch slow, only because (like Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) it has a FREAKTON of world-building to accomplish in that space, but once the download lightens up, it really flies.

Dark Tales is a wonderful collection of Shirley Jackson’s short stories, so if you like her work, you’ll like this one. “The Summer People” is one of my new favorite short stories. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading anything but “The Lottery” in high school, do yourself a massive favor and try some of her other short work, which in my opinion is just as good, if not better.

I picked up Your Seven-Year-Old because I’ve read several of the other books in the series, and taken lightly, they can be pretty helpful in determining what of your kiddo’s behavior is considered age-appropriate and what not to freak out about (like grumpy gloominess and an obsession with fairness at seven: check and check!). But there are a lot of things in these books that are pretty darn out of date, gender-wise, and some psychology things that I’m not entire sure are things anymore (ectomorphs?), but your mileage may vary. Generally worth it, not quite as eye-opening as the last few were.

The Accidental Creative is one of those books I thought I ought to come back to someday, like Work Clean and Atomic Habits, but I’m not as impressed the second time through. I feel like there *are* very useful things in here for writers (unnecessary creating, for example, and establishing a study habit), but they’re heavily buried in the corporate creative mindset (geared towards managers and marketing executives) which really slows the pace down. It might be more useful for a writer to dive into The Artist’s Way or The Creative Habit which both touch on a lot of the same things, but without the obsession with minute goal-setting. Not that there’s not merit in that and I like the idea of quarterly reviews/determining where and how you’ll spend your energy, but I think TAW and TCH both tackle it from the truly artistic POV better than this one does. Worth reading once–not sure it’s a repeater, like Atomic Habits is.

Month-wise, we’ve finally started getting a taste of summer weather. We had a wonderful thunderstorm the other day, with proper wind, rain, and lightning + thunder. We’ve attempted a bit of planting our garden, only to have the wood rat decimate our lettuce (not precisely unexpected), and Thing 2’s naps have gotten squiffy.

That last bit has been the biggest challenge this month. Whereas before, I could pretty readily count on a nice 2hr nap at minimum, he’s really started flaking out on me. Sometimes he sleeps crazy long (4hrs the other day!) and sometimes he doesn’t sleep at all, or only for about ten minutes. The unpredictability has made getting in my usual run impossible, since I don’t dare leave him with the folks at home and run for 30 minutes, just to return home to find he’s woken up and any writing time is gone. So instead, I started flaking out on my run, just so I’d be home and could focus on writing for a bit even if he woke up a half hour later.

That’s…not great for me. I really need the running to regulate anxiety, and without it, I tend to get a lot more wound-up and cranky. But if I got the run in and skipped the writing, that’s a proven recipe for swinging me (especially at this time of year) towards a depressive episode. So it’s been tough. I need to get the run back in; I need to make sure I keep steadily getting words on the page, neither are all that easy right now.

But at least I can look back at May and recognize that I got a FLIP-TON written, which does help a little.



Halfway through the year and already two annual goals are done!

May has been the month of getting things done. I started out wanting to do a Chekhov month (write a short story a week), and then got off to a wild start by writing two stories that first week (one flash, one about 3k). I also wrapped up a third short story that had been partially written a month ago, but which I hadn’t had a chance to finish at the time.

While I didn’t *officially* hit four new short stories this month (I mean, who knows, it’s only Tuesday, so we’ve got a couple more days in there where something could pop out), I spent that time editing the heck out of a short story to submit by the end of the month. I’m still not done with it yet, but we’re (I think) getting closer, and I’m optimistic it’ll be ready on time.

And if I *do* get it submitted by 5/30, then that will officially complete my goal to submit four new stories this year! Oh, that’ll feel so good. Last year, while I had a lot of things come out, writing new things and getting them submitted was really difficult (uh, duh, new baby), but that also means that this year I may not sell as much. There’s a lot about short fiction success that requires you to do the legwork the year *before*so that the current year has a lot out and in the works, so not getting prepped last year hurts this year. That said, at least *this* year, I’m getting things moving again, which was the point of the new submissions goal.

Hitting that goal doesn’t mean I stop submitting new things, though. Four new submissions was my minimum that I’d be happy with, so I’m relieved to reach that watermark, but I’ve got a number of other stories that could maybe go over the next few months. And you never know when that story is just going to explode almost whole out of your head, begging to get out into the world (hey, it happens occasionally!). The more I get out this year, the better my odds of having work come out next year.

Moving right along: I’ve surpassed my goal for new rough drafts, which feels fantastic. Not only have I currently found a work method that I enjoy and keeps me on my toes, but it’s producing a lot of new work. Boy, how I love the smell of printer ink on rough drafts. I have no intention of stopping that production, either, though we’ll see how it evolves over the year.

Still no summary draft yet, but it’s been pretty well back-burnered these past months with the current book project raging forward. That said, letting go of a Chekhov month to focus on a summary draft is a total possibility, and may be how I get that done over the summer.

Total word count! Total world count! TOTAL WORD COUNT! Holy crap, it’s only May, and I’ve already written over 100k words. In part, that’s thanks to the short fiction churn-out that’s been happening lately, but a good solid half of it is from the book-in-progress, which feels great. Another 50k on that, and we’ll hopefully be wrapped on Draft 2 (*cough*five*coughcough*) of the book!

In Books Read, I am squeaking up on the end of the month and scrambling to finish two more books. I *think* I’ll be able to do it. I’m finishing up a re-read of The Accidental Creative and I’ve picked up the very short Your Seven Year Old which is a great glimpse at what behavior and development may be coming down the road this year for Thing One (aka B-Bug). Now, NEXT month, I feel like I’ll be pretty well-positioned to finish at least four books, so we’ll see how it goes.

In other stats, those submission attempts are slooooooowly crawling upwards. Hoping to bump those up a bit more now that these three (almost four) stories are getting out and about. Still no personal rejections (aw), and still one sale (yay!) which I’m hoping I’ll be able to announce soon. HA!


How about your month? What goals did you set for yourself? Were they reasonable, reachable goals or were they stretch-goals?

Did you meet any of these goals, or was May a tough month to make progress? If it was a tough month, what could you do next month to make achievable goals?

If you hit your goals, will June be a month when you can push your goals just a little bit further? Or will June be a pull-back and reflect month?


Friday Update: NOPE.

I finished that body horror story rewrite this week, and I think the universe is punishing me for writing it! XD In the past week, I have had not ONE but TWO wolf spiders crawl into bed while I was lying there reading by booklight and can I just say, very loudly, NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE!

Once, you can rationalize and say, Ok, what are the odds that’ll happen again, huh? When was the last time you saw a giant hairy OMG big wolf spider in your bed? Huh? Yeah, like never. You’ll be fine. It was a fluke.

The second time? Oh shit, that could be a trend.

And I totally get that some times of year we get more of them indoors than at other times, but that doesn’t mean I want my face to become Wolf Spider Highway 32, THANKS.

This has since prompted Andy and I to get a REAL BIG KID BED, instead of sleeping on the floor like college kids, which we’ve done for…oh, the past 7+ years. BUT. It won’t come for a couple weeks yet, so I have to figure out a way to prop up my bed off the floor so I don’t hyperventilate every time I go to bed until then. Yaaaaaaaaay…

Have I ever mentioned I hate spiders? Trust me, I get it, intellectually I fully admit they’re beneficial little bastards, but I really, really, really, reeeeeally hate them. It’s the way they move. I have a theory that people typically fall into one of two categories: snakes or spiders. And it seems primarily movement-based, because it doesn’t matter to me whether a spider is actually venomous or fanged or not: it’s seeing it scramble over things that freaks me the FLIP out. And for my mother who hates snakes? Same deal: doesn’t matter if it’s a garter snake or something without teeth, it still FREAKS HER OUT. It’s so visceral, so illogical, and yet there it is.

And I married an aracnophile. So I have worked on it. I more often than not try to catch and release them (but if they’re uncooperative or rush me, f* it, they’re dead, I tried, but NO). I have even learned that I’m actually chill with jumping spiders and that they’re rather cute, and that cellar spiders don’t bug me too much.

BUT F*ING WOLF SPIDERS MAN. I just cannot with them. I will try to spare their lives (in fact, I VERY BENEVOLENTLY let a baby one outside just the other day when my son found it, and it was FINE, and I’m happy it’ll go on to kill less beneficial bugs), but there’s something about those legs, dude…

It’s funny, because I actually write about spiders a lot, in large part because I hate them so much. I don’t want to hate them. In fact, on more than one occasion, I’ve written fantasy stories that include talking spiders or giant (nonbiting) mega tarantula-type beasties. I’ve even got some ideas for stories that include a LOT of spiders, but in real life…whoof.

I’m working on it. But we’re not there yet, folks.

Accomplished This Week:

Added 4k to the book-in-progress, and passed 50k on it, which feels great. About halfway now.

Also finished Draft 2 of the body horror story involving wolf spiders for which the universe is punishing me.

ALSO finished Draft 1 of “Catching College,” which is a short story set in the Behemoth universe, so THAT’S nice. All in all, a pretty productive week, despite some skipped naps.

Inspiring Me This Week:

Have I told you all how much I love Gideon the Ninth? No?! CUZ I DO. A LOT. I finished it yesterday night (right before Mr. Spiderpants thought he could just sidle on up into bed), and it was pretty fantastic. I’m seriously looking at getting Harrow the Ninth sooner rather than later, but I do want to switch it up a bit, first.

Beds. Beds off the floor. That’s been inspiring me a LOT lately.

For Next Week:

Another 3k on the book-in-progress, and finish and submit the body horror story for once and all. And if I get frisky, maybe I’ll punch out another story to hit my four for the month, but that’ll be a big leap unless it’s flash.


May Inspirations

This month, I thought it might be nice (for my own sake as much as for anything else!) to pull together a list of all the things–reading/viewing/experiencing–that have been inspiring me lately. This post in itself was inspired because lately I’ve been coming across some really wonderful short stories, and I wanted a place I could collect them all (and their links) so I and others could find them more easily.

Also, I like a LOT of different things. Sometimes, this space may be occupied by things I’m researching or looking at to inspire the current book or short story project. Like these images of old Glasgow or this rustic cabin, which I’m using to kickstart my imagination on several settings for the book-in-progress, a dark fantasy about a techno-magical vanished empire and a sinister conman’s plot to make his fortune running an exclusive (and haunted?) sanatorium for the wealthy.

Sometimes it’ll probably be about art. Like these lovely watercolor paintings of abandoned houses. Or I might ramble on and on about my obsession with Charles Dana Gibson’s line-work. Or miniatures.

I’ll probably highlight some fun watches/TV shows/movies I’ve been taking in, too, like this docu-series on Netflix about the Isabella Gardener Museum robbery, or The Barkley Marathons (a secret, ultra-difficult ultra-marathon), or The Social Dilemma about social media and how data is collected on us, or You’ve Got Mail because good grief, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks are the best.

I’ll definitely be talking about books I’ve read recently, and articles I’ve come across that are interesting, and I will absolutely list any short stories that I think are well worth checking out. And that’s primarily what I’m obsessed about this month: fantastic short fiction. Specifically, new favorites like:

“Safe as Houses” by Avra Margariti

“Remote” by Kaoru Sakasaki

“Build-a-Grudge” by Joy Kennedy-O’Neill

But also old favorites I come across again, like:

“Mimic” by Donald A. Wollheim

“Only Partly Here” by Lucius Shepard

“The Summer People” by Shirley Jackson

“The Red Tower” by Thomas Ligotti

And that’s really just scratching the surface! Over the course of the next month, I’ll try to keep a little better track of what’s on my mind and what’s caught my attention. I’ll also list books that have blown my mind here, too (at least once I’ve finished them). Like the wonderful Breasts and Eggs, or Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver, or Saga: Book Three.

So we’ll see how it goes! I hope something here snags your interest the way it’s snagged mine.


Friday Update: Napless…

Well, I’m just going to throw this up here now, even though I typically only post it AFTER I’ve gotten my daily words, but as that seems less and less likely today (T_T)…

It’s been a rough end to the week. Yesterday, Goldbug only napped for about 35 minutes, which was just long enough for me to get my run in, and manage about three sentences before he woke up. I’m blaming canines. I did manage (thanks to B-Bug and Grandma entertaining Little Grumpus) to get about 1k in yesterday, despite everything, but today is looking like a lost cause. I’ve still got a few scenes left for the body horror short story I’m working on, so I may need to take some time this weekend to get it wrapped up into a second draft (if only to be within shooting distance of editing it up on time for the end of the month…)

There were other disruptions this week, too, in the form of annual checkups and other schedule-shuffling events like birthdays and anniversaries, so it was just kind of a tough work week. But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t get *anything* done:

Accomplished This Week:

I’ve written about 2k on the novel this week, which stalled out when I got a brainwave on the short story rewrite, and wanted to capitalize on that while I could. I’m glad I did, because I’ve really gotten a great start on the story’s reworking. Next week, I’ll just have to crank out 4k to make up for it.

But at least I’ve skirted the hydra of figuring out whether I need to rewrite the entire first half of the novel. There were some deep, horrified thoughts on it yesterday, but after sleeping on it, I’ve decided to continue as-is for now. The changes I was considering end up making about four dozen more problems that I can’t solve right now, in addition to setting me back 45k, which replacing would cost me weeks of work at a semi-unsustainable pace. It may be another major rewrite lays in store for this one in coming (years? *sobs*), but the major deciding factor is the solution creates more problems than it solves, requires Herculean effort to implement, and I’m already borderline sick-to-death of this book. The desire to scrap-and-start-over also looks suspiciously like what’s happened both to other book projects in the past, and which have already happened to this book at least 4-5 times. While, yes, editing often requires one to be bold, I sometimes think it’s a self-sabotaging habit that I just need to break and move on. Maybe this story is unfixable, but I don’t totally think the version I’m on now is completely wrong, even without the changes.

So for now, we press on, because I have a deadline in December that I will not miss, and the perceived problems may be fixable another way once I see the whole thing laid out in front of me.

Inspiring Me This Week:

Holy shnikiez, go read “Safe as Houses” by Avra Margariti at Daily Science Fiction. It just about broke my heart.

I’ve been blasting through Gideon the Ninth. My brain is on fire with this book, and I’m loving it to pieces.

Also picked up a copy of horror author Tim Waggoner’s book Writing in the Dark, which so far has been an AMAZING read on what constitutes horror writing, and what kinds of things to think about when approaching a horror story. It’s flipping brilliant, and though I’m only a couple chapters in, I have a feeling it stays good. Waggoner is great at making complex concepts simple and approachable. Very glad I got this one.

Oh! And I’ve been reading The Dark edited by Ellen Datlow, which is chockfull of creepy ghost stories, and I love them so much, though I really shouldn’t read them right before bed…

For Next Week:

Picking up what got dropped this week. So 4k on the book, and if I manage to wrap up the rewrite on the short story this weekend, then hopefully get started on the intensify, smooth, and polish phases.


On Professional Envy

I’m embarrassed to even admit it, but damn all, I’m jealous of Tamsyn Muir. I’ve finally gotten my shoulders into Gideon the Ninth, and it’s now a whirlwind of blood and bone and evil hauntings and it’s just FABULOUS. I’m loving the hell out of it, and it’s flying, and HOLY CRAP–she’s my age?!


This happens a lot less than it used to, to be honest. Once upon a time, and not all that long ago, I used to have convulsions of envy over other writers’ careers, particularly people who started around the same time or a little after I did. I remember thinking almost hysterically about the career of one person I was in an anthology with early on, appalled to discover how much they’ve gone on to do, how successful they’ve become, how many starred reviews and award-nods they’ve received. It was hard not to shovel that kind of shit into the gaping maw of my self-doubt, feeding the inner critic until it was bigger than a rancor and about as drooly.

Intellectually, I knew that no one’s path to writing was the same. I knew that certain people hit on what they needed to know earlier than I did. Some people got the opportunity to take excellent workshops. Some people had an intrinsic understanding of story and how it worked.

But the most painful truth–and indeed, the only cure for professional envy–was that I wasn’t doing the work. I was writing all the time, pouring words onto the page. I was even finishing rough drafts of things to set aside and “let cool.” But I wasn’t submitting anything. Whenever I’m talking to folks who dream about being published writers, I tell them there are only four things they need to do: Read. Write. Edit. Submit. (And then do that ad nauseam.) Set small goals, and start forming the habits that will help you get there.

It’s surprisingly hard to do sometimes, but that’s the job. That’s the work. I can guarantee to you Tamsyn Muir has done the work. She’s read. She’s written. She’s edited. And she’s submitted. Maybe she’s done that on an elevated level to me. (Duh.) Maybe there were craft lessons she learned faster, or understood more easily than I have. It’s very likely, in fact.

But if I’m not doing the work, I’ve got no legs to stand on, envy-wise. I have nothing to complain about, because I haven’t done even the baseline of what a career like that requires, and they have. I’ve known people who worked and worked and worked and read, and written, and edited, and submitted, and their stars are rising. But it requires work. It requires effort. It requires learning and trying things and doing the best work you can and taking the risk of getting it out there in the world. It’s literally the only thing you control.

It’s not attractive to admit you’re envious. It’s not fun to admit to yourself that you haven’t done the work that others have. It’s not enjoyable to feed the beast in one’s own soul, to doubt your capabilities, to doubt your potential.

All you can do is work. All you can do is make sure you’re getting things out there, over and over and over again. All you can do is remember (and if this is all you ever remember about this post, let it be this): be your own friend. Don’t tear yourself down. Don’t pick away at your self-confidence; don’t undermine and devalue what you’ve done so far, even if it’s at a slower pace than other people. They’re just doing the work.

So today, when I was getting a little envious because HOT DAMN this book is so good–and it was written by somebody who’s my age, who’s a genius, and holy crap, how come I haven’t been able to produce something even close to this good, will I ever produce anything even half as good, oh shit oh shit oh shit–I put on my friend hat. Instead of the rancor, I was Chewbacca. Sometimes you just need a giant, fuzzy shoulder to cry into when you feel terrible.

And then you know what I do?

I get back to work.


Friday Update: Stories, Spiders, and Synopses

Some weeks are just down weeks, but THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THEM. Holy crap, folks. This was one of those weeks where the words just flowed. All told, I wrote over 10,400 words this week (WHA-?!), and made excellent progress on several fronts. I’ll be the first to say this does NOT happen every week, and I know a few writers out there who would probably even consider 10k a “normal” week for them, but with my time constraints? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Wow. I’ll take it. Probably means next week will be CRAPPITY-GARBAGEPANTS, but that’s okay. Because:

Accomplished This Week:

I hit my goal of adding about 4k to the novel-in-progress. It was a rough start to the week, because Goldbug did not nap on Monday, but I still got a little editing done and managed to accomplish thing #2: submitted my book synopsis to the Write Your Novel class I’m currently taking. That was a major weight off my shoulders, let me tell you. I was stressing out about it way more than I needed to, but it’s done and I can sit back now.

In addition to that, I wrote TWO (what, did she say Two? As in “2”? As in the number two, more than one less than three?) new stories this week. And not just this week. In the last TWENTY-FOUR HOURS. That’s two stories in twenty-four hours, whaaaaaa-?! Who am I? Anyway, one is a flash fiction story and one’s about 3k (and about spiders, ick ick ick ick!), so it’s not actually a crazy word count, but STILL. Quite pleased with myself. The flash story I’ll submit for Furious Fiction tomorrow, but the other one is going to need some TLC before it’s ready to meet the world at the end of the month. It’s about some messed up things, and most prominently features wolf spiders which I caaaaaaaaaannnnooooooooootttt stand, but forced myself to do the research anyway. But that would be TWO new submissions, which would finish out my annual goal of submitting FOUR new pieces in 2021. O_O <-Whut?

Also, got my first COVID shot, so there’s that.

Inspiring Me This Week:

Finished the collection of Shirley Jackson’s short stories, Dark Tales, which was excellent. “The Summer People” is a wonderful story to end on, though “Home” is also fantastic, and there are a slew of other great stories in there, too, if you like dark and weird.

Also just read “Remote” by Kaoru Sakasaki on Daily Science Fiction which was a wonderful way to wake up this morning and had a surprising amount of feels.

Oh! And I made a terrible mistake and re-downloaded TheSims4 last weekend, so HAHAHAHA, I’ll be doing that this weekend. A lot. XD

I’ve also made the commitment to read a LOT of classic SF and Space Opera over the coming months, because there are just too many classics I’m embarrassed to say I haven’t read. So there. No, I’m not going to tell you which ones. Yes, if you follow my Good

For Next Week:

Next week, same as last week: 3k on the novel, and write one new short story. It may be that one of these weeks (because I finished two this week) I may abdicate a new story in favor of polishing up the new one to submit, but we’ll see how it goes.

^ ^ ^

How was your week? What are you reading currently? What do you wish you were doing?


Poly-Reader Notes: MAY 2021

I’m not sure what it was about last month that made getting four books wrapped up, but I suspect it was in part due to getting sucked through Breasts and Eggs like water in a funnel. I just couldn’t put it down, couldn’t bear to read anything else. So although I read a lot, I didn’t make a lot of progress on other things, or start a lot of new things. But I did get those four books, which I am very proud of myself for doing.

Currently Reading:


How to Write Funnier – This is the second book by Scott Dikkers I’ve picked up on humor writing, and I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s just that I’m also trying to do the exercises in it, which slows me down in the reading of it. I suspect I’ll have this one done in a few months, but I don’t want to rush it.

The City of Gold and Lead – B-Bug and I have recently picked this one up after going on a Dogman binge for a few weeks. It’s fine, but it’s no White Mountains, you know? It’s a touch slow, there are far fewer tripods at the start, and even I’m having a hard time getting enthused about it, so you can imagine how an almost seven year old is coping. But we just heard that The Wild Robot author is coming out with a third book sometime, so that’ll be delightful! We’ll still try to plug through this one, but after that, we’re going to have to switch it up a bit.

The White Spider – Kind of forgot about this one, as I started it at the same time I started Breasts and Eggs, so it fell by the wayside, and I haven’t been super hungry for adventure non-fiction these days. But the writing really isn’t bad, so I probably just need to give it time to grow on me.

Gideon the Ninth – I know, I know, everybody loves this book, and I don’t dislike it, it’s just, for some reason, hard to pick up on a regular basis. I still think it’s a kind of exhausting book to read, and that probably says more about me than about the book, and again, it’s not bad, it’s just heavy and rich and sugary and fun. I dunno why I’m struggling to get into it. There’s a piece of me that feels like the writer comes through a little too much, but I’m not sure if that’s just because I’ve been reading it very piecemeal. I’ve decided I will try to give this one the time of day this month: front and center, and see how it goes.

The Power Broker – This one got sidestepped for Cetaganda. I really can’t do two audiobooks at the same time, and Cetaganda was my fun relaxation read, which I needed a lot this past month. I do need to pick up another fun read, which I’m not sure what will suit that just yet.

Designology – Blurp. Blurpity blurp. I dunno. I just haven’t been in an interior design mindset lately, but that could change. I’ve just kind of gotten hung up on the patterns/noise-level portion and it’s just dragging.

Dark Tales – Plowing through this one. I love Shirley Jackson, and reading her short work is really making me want to start my own weird fiction magazine, which I totally know I SHOULD NOT DO, but oooo, it’d be so fun, but seriously, NO. But it’s a pleasure to read her stuff. It’s so dark and so cuttingly funny, so yeah. This one will be wrapped up by the end of the month for sure.

^ ^ ^

Need to get some other swift reads on this list, because I can already feel it getting bogged down. Maybe a graphic novel or a novella or some such? Hmm… Maybe something funny. I’ve got a couple I could pull from my To Be Read pile, and I should be getting a book order soon-ish, so we’ll see.

What are you reading this month? Anything your particularly looking forward to?


Friday Update: Rejection, Molars, and Term Papers

Fairly uneventful week, filled with hope and rejection and victories and defeats, so, you know, a normal day in the life. Goldbug has returned to napping, though his nighttimes have been thrashy and disrupted (thanks molars!), but at least I get my bit of writing time each day (except Tuesday: nothing got done Tuesday).

I’ve been hunching a lot lately. My back is not thanking me for it. It’s been cold and blustery and rainy but also very spring-ish, and the shin splints had faded enough for me to start running again, which feels FANTASTIC.

Got a form rejection Wednesday, which stinks, but it is what it is. It was always going to be a bit of a long shot, so I can’t say I’m entirely surprised. More surprised by the little sting it brought with it–like getting a new car and finding its first scratch, you know?

But I’ll hopefully be getting that story back out this coming Monday when a certain reading period reopens.

Accomplished this Week:

Added 3k to the book and finally (finally!) wrote my revised synopsis. Man, was that hard. But I found a great resource for writing a one-page synopsis. Only time will tell if this is a good method for me, but I found it a great deal easier than some of the other approaches I researched and actually managed to nail a one page synopsis for an incredibly complicated fantasy novel. Is it good that I reduced it to a page? Eeeeemm…I don’t know. The two page version has a lot more detail, but I do want to practice the short-form, since from what I’ve seen of agent requests, short synopses are the norm. I guess we’ll see?

No short story work this week–no time with the synopsis, but that’s ok. May will be my new start on the Chekhov month, in the hopes of nailing four new drafts by the end of it.

Inspiring Me this Week:

Finished reading Banker and The Planetbreaker’s Son this week, which means I DID finish four books this month (woohoo!). Of the two, The Planetbreaker’s Son was my favorite, and the included essay, “The Term Paper Artist,” is almost worth the cost of the book on its own.

Also just opened Pandora’s Box and bought Minecraft. I used to play on our Xbox before it died ages and ages ago, but when B-Bug developed a horror of creepers, that came to a swift end for the foreseeable future. But B-Bug is now almost seven, and his friends all play Minecraft and he got curious about it (on creative-mode only, thanks), and he’s fallen head-over-heels for it.

So we’ve been playing a lot of Minecraft. And I’ve been building The Labyrinth, because of course I am.

Goals for Next Week:

Next week kicks off May, and with a new month comes a new Chekhov plan! Four short stories in four weeks. So next week, I’ll be focusing on adding 3.5k to the novel (hoping to meet a personal word count deadline and get a bit ahead of the class requirement so I have more time to edit before submission, because BOY AM I GOING TO NEED IT), and writing a new story.

Also, I’ll be submitting that story again.

That said, I’m also up for my first COVID vaccine on Monday, and will probably get the second one sometime in May, too, which means I’ll probably be down and out for one of those story weeks. So we’ll just play it by ear, shall we?

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How was your week? Anything exciting on the docket? Getting as excited as I am for the summer months? What’s one of your goals for May?


April Round-Up: Submissions, Snow, and Some Posts

And just like that, April winds down to its end. I don’t know if it’s just this stage of parenthood that seems to drive the days into hyperdrive (wake up -> get to breakfast -> get to nap -> get to lunch, etc.,etc.), or if the days are actually just going really fast.

But despite an off-again-on-again return to toothing and (apparently?) snow days, I did get some nice things checked off my to-do list. I wrote a new short story (fantasy/humor) and may even finish up a second one by Friday if naps get back to normal. I edited and submitted a brand new, never submitted before story (weird/humor), which feels AMAZING. I always feel like I’m “doing the work” when I get a new story launched out into the world, and nothing feels better than that itching sense that a story is ready to fledge, you know?

I finished two books (Breasts and Eggs and Cetaganda) and hopefully will wrap up another two by the end of the week to hit my four books for the month. That’s taken a bit of a push, probably because Breasts and Eggs pretty much dominated my reading for several weeks.

I’m chugging right along in my Write Your Novel course through the Australian Writer’s Center and am really enjoying getting to know my new crew in that class. Everybody’s been incredibly nice and encouraging, so I’m not *too* nervous about getting my synopsis up in two weeks. And so far, keeping up a steady schedule of 3k/week (therefore 6k/fortnight) seems to be both doable and surprisingly refreshing. I’m really settling into splitting my weeks between short stories and novel work, though at some point when I get to smoothing/editing the sections to submit, I’ll probably have to focus on the book a bit more.

I also got several blog posts up this month:

Poly-Reader Notes: APRIL 2021

The Perfectionist’s Guide to Goal-Setting

Monthly Goals Review – April 2021

Otherwise, the month’s been a bit chaotic with skipped naps and lots of fussing (from being overtired), and B-Bug has vacation this week, so this final week is likely to be as chaotic as the rest of the month. But I’m looking forward to warmer weather and formulating a plan to submit more new work!

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How was your April? Did you get snow? Did you get a taste of nicer weather yet to come? What are you most proud of accomplishing in April? What’s something you’re going to focus on in May?