Daily Check-In


Wow. What a last few months it’s been! From Mo*Con at the beginning of May, to the hubby’s graduation from med school (Hooray!!!), to the Little Man’s first birthday & meeting the awesome Gene O’Neill for root beer floats, to the Little Man’s FIRST STEPS, to moving into our new place in Mass, to car/driver’s license registration, orientation, health insurance swapping, and tack on a sick cat, a couple book formatting projects, a brief but tremendous spike in Etsy shop traffic & sales, and half a dozen plus rejections paired with a brand new story sale (still somewhat secret–woo!)–deep gasping breath: you can see the kind of month(s) it’s been.

Needless to say, I’m digging out and finally surfacing. Writing has been, predictably, pretty sporadic these last eight weeks. There’s been quite a bit of novel-rewrite prep-work, note carding/plotting/etc., but not much for new words. But! I’m already planning to start a six month Chekhov plan (a short story a week, so a total of 26 drafts) to build up my editable (and subsequently, submittable) inventory again. Having a rush of new words, without worrying about editing or changing or fixing–maybe just focusing on one or two problem areas I tend to have (gripping beginnings, interesting PoVs, that sort of thing)–really helps me clear out the creative pipes. More often than not, I find few stories out of the batch that I really, really love (and sometimes a lot more). If nothing else, it tends to get the cliché, boring, or stupid ideas out of my head that won’t go away and are clogging up the idea storage bin in my head.

But things are just beginning to settle down. For the month of July, I need to 1) finish some plotting work on a novel rewrite, 2) retype a problematic short story that I need reviewed by a few talented writer-friends (because I sure as heck have no idea how to fix it…), and 3) start a fun, relaxing, totally non-publishing-worried story for a friend who needs a pick-me-up (and am SO excited about just writing something for someone specific to make them happy). There are a ton of other projects in the wings, and I’ve got to read more, but–*le sigh*. One thing at a time, one day at a time. At least the Little Man’s starting to go down at night so well that I can usually get a couple of hours to myself in the evenings. I’m thinking: writing time! :D

Over and out…for now…

But

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Today in Mommy-Land

Trying to get back on the blogging horse! This morning, Andy, the Little Man, and I went out with my good friend K— to breakfast at Parker’s Maple Barn (deeeeelicious). Little Man had tastes of pancake, non-spicy sausage, potato fries, and french toast, which he loved very much. While K— and I caught up, he and Andy walked around. My mother got him some itty bitty baby shoes with good soles on them, and now that he’s discovered walking outside (it’s been so beautiful, weather-wise lately!), he almost never wants to stop. He looks so big wearing shoes! Like a proper toddler, and not much of a baby at all.

Yesterday, we took him to the library park for the first time, and he rode on the baby swings (pretty fun), sat on a wobbly thing (with support–kind of fascinating), spun on a whirligig with Mom (okay, kinda weird), and slid down a slide with Daddy (NOT FUN AT ALL, WHY ARE YOU TORTURING MEEEEE?!) Then we went to Mine Falls in Nashua, and walked around for quite a while. It was so beautiful out, and it’s been spoiling me something rotten to have Andy around mid-week. We figure we’ll soak it up now, since come July, I probably won’t see him for a year. XD

We also bought a pint of kumquats to try, since we’ve always toyed with the idea of getting a kumquat plant, but weren’t sure if we’d like it. I’m pleased to report, we do! They’re very citrusy–like an orange-lemon combo–with quite a tart kick, but very sweet, edible rinds. I, personally, prefer to remove the rind, since it has a way of sticking around in my teeth after I’ve eaten it, but otherwise, they’re quite tasty.

Today in Writer-Land

As is always the case when Andy’s around these days, I didn’t get any writing done yesterday, though I did start the retyping of a short story I’m editing on Monday, so that’s making slow but measurable progress. I also found out that one of my short stories, “Snap,” is being held at a really nice little small press publication, so fingers crossed on that one! Got two other rejections yesterday and today (rawr…), but got them both resubmitted this afternoon (yay!).

In keeping with the title, my small victory is this: I counted my total rejections from 2014 and 2015 (so far), and last year I got a total of 19 rejections, and so far just within the first four months of 2015, I’ve gotten 21! Now, this may not seem like a victory, but it is, and I’ll tell you why: in previous years (prior to 2014), I’m not sure I even submitted fiction 19 times. So that’s Victory #1. And then on top of that, I’ve already topped my 2014 total submissions, so I’m doing better than last year!

Here’s a question: What metrics–writing-wise–do you find helpful to track/keep a record of?

I’ve determined I need to focus more on competing with myself when it comes to writing, rather than constantly measuring myself up against more successful authors. For one, it’s not a fair measurement, because I only see the good things going on for them, and oftentimes they’ve been in the field a lot longer than I have. For two, it takes the focus off the writing, which is really the only thing I have control over. So I’m doubling-down on self-awareness and trying to be mindful about the kinds of discouraging thoughts that pop into my head on a near-constant basis. I also want to start tracking my own process metrics (total submissions, for example). I’ve been considering metrics like personalized-to-form rejections ratio from markets I submit to often, maybe word count (though that’s tricky with editing, which is most of what I’m doing these days), maybe length of project (how long it takes from when I start a new story vs. if/when I finish editing and submit it), etc. So what works for you/what data do you find interesting to follow?

It's all about the Data...

It’s all about the Data…