I’m sitting here in the gentle darkness of early morning, accompanied by a cup of excellent coffee and a lap cat, thinking back over the last few weeks and nearly getting lost in the plot lines or my own life.  It’s almost like re-reading a work in progress: I feel like I’ve come so far and changed so much, even though I’ve never left the usual confines of my home and job and family.  I’m certainly not an astral traveler, but sometimes it feels that way.

The outline looks something like this:

There was the suspense of the ABNA quarterfinalist announcements, with the email that didn’t come until after midnight that said I didn’t make the cut but had received two critiques.  Rejection, but not painful.  I never thought I’d win; I did think it would be nice to make the quarterfinals.  And then I thought, hey – I get two critiques!  Not so.  Amazon emailed me the next day and said, basically, “we’re terribly sorry, but we screwed up and you didn’t make the first cut, the one that wins you two free critiques.  Please accept a $5 gift certificate to Amazon dot com. 

Uh… right.

Not a big thing, really, in the grand scheme of the universe, just a little dig at my self esteem, a slight bitterness.  But it came on top of  the ongoing grief, coming and going in its usual waves, and the exhaustion that accompanies that state of being.  At work, there were rumors of deeper cuts to the already overstretched services that keep the fragile people I try to serve fed and clothed and out of the hospitals and jails, not to mention alive.  Writing was like wading through glue much of the time, although it still felt good to show up at the page, to be making progress no matter how slow, putting down words.

Good things happened.  Tasha awarded me the Proximidade Award for my Blog.  I found some interesting and positive new bloggers who are adding value to my life.  Information floating around on Twitter, my newest obsession, expanded my horizons.  I had my first ever Acupuncture treatment.  And I sent out two new queries.

And in my internal world?  Oh, that’s where all the action is.  I’m not even going to attempt a description of that here.  I’m letting it simmer and settle without paying attention beyond the morning journal entries.

All of this brings me, eventually, to the place where all roads and ideas must eventually lead, to the state of my Writing World.  I was on a roll there, with the regular word counts, trying to pull as many of you as possible into setting challenges and being accountable.  And then everything blew up for me, and I’ve been lucky to get through the days and do any writing at all, without flogging myself for not setting goals.  But it is time to dust myself off and have a look at the place I have staggered to, check out the landmarks, and make tentative plans for the journey ahead.

I AM HERE:

Remember is feeling a little battered and discouraged by its ABNA failure,  but is still out there looking for a confidence vote from an agent.  I continue to send out queries – two new ones this week makes four still out there.  And hey, with Em’s twinkly magic dust sprinkled all over it, it almost has to succeed!

Swimming North is slowly regaining the momentum lost with the death of my mentor and very good friend, who inspired the idea in the first place.  I’m very nearly done with the current draft and ready for serious revision.  This novel cuts very close to the center of me, and has since its inception.  One of the most difficult tasks will be to take that objective step back and see what it really is, before embarking on revision.

The Sword of Zelndreh, my YA fantasy novel, has been neglected and ignored this week.  It is used to this, having spent years as a completed draft in a desk drawer, but is feeling sorry for itself.

Gatekeeper.   Ah, Gatekeeper.  My muse started throwing ideas at me about this uncompleted novel this week.  It was like spraying me with a garden hose on a frosty morning.  “What the hell is the matter with you?” I said, but she only laughed and kept on.  So, yeah.  Making notes, and determinedly sticking to the two manuscripts I’ve chosen to focus on right now.

Last but not least, Hippy Chickens, a picture book manuscript that I drafted a couple of years ago, which I’m now playing with and revising, and planning to send out to agents or publishers in the next week or two.

WHERE I’M HEADED

I know better than to set any serious goals for myself right now.  No word count quotas, no outrageous challenges.  I’m working too much, I’m emotionally fragile.  If I want to reach any destination at all, now is the time to focus on the journey.  But I know where I’m headed.  

More queries for Remember.  Start querying Hippy Chickens.  Finish retyping Zelindreh.

I do have specific timeline goals for Swimming North.  Rough draft done by the end of the month.  Tie up enough ragged ends so my Initial Readers can get through it and offer up some constructive opinions.  And then revise, revise, revise, until it shines.

WHERE ARE YOU?

I don’t choose to travel this writing road alone.  So my next question is this:  where are you in the process?  From idea to finished project, revision to query to publication, please feel free to share the status of your writing life.  Whine, obsess, or gloat just as much as you wish.

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