Up to My Eyeballs

November 30, 2010

My status over at gmail, which is where I keep my “freelance/writing” account, claims that I’m “up to my eyeballs in writing projects.”

And the end of the year certainly is a busy time for writers, but now that we’re on the last day of November, I’m finally able to tick some of those items off my list.

  1. NaNoWriMo. No, I didn’t participate this year. But I did spy on my friends who were participating. How did you do? And when can I read your stories?
  2. The McSweeny’s Highwire Fiction Award: This is a grant given to a woman younger than 32 to work on her writing. I sent my application off the week before Thanksgiving, and it wasn’t nearly as daunting as I expected it to be. The moral? Don’t ignore opportunities because they seem hard in your mind. Try it before you decide how “hard” it is.
  3. The Gotham YA Novel Discovery Contest: This contest requires only the first 250 words and title of your novel, along with a $15 entry fee. I entered it last year, but the rules didn’t say anything about not being able to enter the same novel twice. So, I did. I’m sure the first 250 words are better this time around, anyway.
  4. The PAD Chapbook Challenge: I wrote 30 poems in November, y’all! Although I’ve won NaNoWriMo 3 times, this is the first time I’ve successfully completed a poetry challenge. Now I’m putting them aside as I focus on December’s projects.

Numbers 1 – 4 above ALL have November 30 deadlines. What does that mean? If you read this post immediately after it goes up, there might still be time for you!!

Now that those writing adventures are behind me, I can focus on these, in deadline order:

  1. Finishing the revision on my final chapter of the YA novel, in time to turn it over to my writers’ group on December 11th.
  2. Frantically spit, polish, and shine said novel between December 17 (writers’ group) and December 31 (Delacorte Press First Young Adult Novel Contest deadline).
  3. Turn my attention to this jumble of 30 poems and perform same treatment on them to send them off for the January 5 PAD Chapbook Challenge deadline.
  4. Prepare a curriculum for Writing for Expression, Reflection, and Legacy, a writing class I’m teaching to senior citizens this spring.
  5. And after the class ends in April? There appears to be . . . a void. For now. I can’t wait to see what fills it!

I Have a Plan!

September 29, 2010

So, I’ve made my decision: I’m not going to do NaNoWriMo this year. I don’t want to abandon my revisions of ETD when I have good momentum going, especially since I want to have it ready to submit to Delacorte Press’s Young Adult Novel contest, which closes on December 31.

However, in lieu of NaNoWriMo, I’m going to participate in the November PAD Chapbook Challenge, which is akin to National Poetry Writing Month’s Poem-a-Day challenge, except . . . November’s resulting poems are eligible to be published as a chapbook. Poetry is not my strong suit, but it’s never too late to learn. And the Jan 5 Chapbook Submission Deadline will help keep me on track.

Finally, I’m also going to apply for a McSweeny’s Grant to work on my writing. So, I have October to focus on the rest of my novel revisions, November for massively producing new work, and December and January for submitting. I’m excited!

Another Niche Opportunity

March 17, 2010

I just came across this Call for Essays for a book about being single and Catholic. The deadline is April 30, which is very close, but the essay length is 500 words or less. Something that could be whipped up in a hurry and still adequately revised in 6 weeks time. The call includes a list of provocative questions to get the juices flowing, too.

I’m not sure if I’m qualified to submit to this market right now, since I’m newly (and unexpectedly) in love and spending much more time pondering relationships than singlehood these days. Even so, I want to say THANK GOD that this book is being written. As someone who has been Catholic since they day I was born (or maybe baptized?) and single for most of my adult life, I’m all-too-aware of the invisibility singles experience in Church settings. I attended church alone for years, and never once did anyone approach me to learn who I was. All the “women’s” events at my parish were really events for wives and mothers. And despite living a very full and fulfilling life, I couldn’t always keep the insecurity of somehow being “less than” at bay (less pretty? less mature? less compassionate? or the big fear lurking at everyone’s core — less lovable?).

This book will be like water in a desert to Catholic, perhaps all, singles. And ultimately, that’s what’s most precious to me about books, and writing: the ability they have to make us feel less alone. When I speak to teenagers for my library job, I often assure them that, no matter what they’re experiencing and how alone it makes them feel, there’s probably a book written about it — proof that someone else has been there, has thought about it. When it comes to this issue, I have been there, and I’m so glad that someone is writing about it.

Writing Contests

August 1, 2009

It looks like Delacorte Press is holding their young adult novel contest this year after all. It’s a good thing I finally started writing again today.

Also, the WeBook Poetry Contest is now open for judging. I got an email from them today congratulating me on entering the contest. Just on entering! There’s a website that makes a writer feel good. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone we submitted to congratulated us for it? If you haven’t done so already, you should get an account there so you can vote for me. 😉 Or get one so you can vote for someone else, and because it’s fun, and so you can get some easy congratulations.

If You Love Poetry (or even if you don’t)

July 30, 2009

Tomorrow, July 31, is the last chance to submit poetry to WEbook’s Poetry Vote. Even if you don’t submit poetry, WEbook is worth checking out for the writers’ community it provides. When I put a few of my poems up, I didn’t expect to get much feedback on them, since I didn’t have time to really develop my relationship with the community there. Plus, the community is HUGE, and I suspected my poems would get lost amidst so much writing. But I received several comments, suggesting that this community really does what it says it does — connects writers with one another to improve everyone’s writing. Now that things are slowing down a bit, I plan to return the favor by leaving feedback on a few pieces.

If you DON’T love poetry, there’s a place for you, too. WEbook is teaming up with Level 4 Press for an upcoming anthology called “I hate poetry.” Even if you aren’t a WEbook member, you can submit your writing directly to Level 4.

Put Those Poems to Good Use

June 26, 2009

I just entered three of my poems from National Poetry Writing Month into WEbook‘s poetry contest. WEbook calls themselves the “American Idol” of creative writing. Essentially, it’s a vast web community of writers and readers who write, upload, read, and critique the user-generated content on the site. From time to time, WEbook publishes the projects that receive the best reviews.

I signed up for my WEbook account months ago, but I’ve only started poking around there recently.  Submissions for the poetry project opened on June 15 and will close on August 1, when the voting will begin. That means I submitted my poems relatively early — yet, they still were plopped at the end of a LONG line (23 pages) of already-submitted poetry. My hunch is that the earlier you submit, the better, because there are going to be LOTS of poems to peruse, and probably many voters who won’t keep reading till the end. But there’s still plenty of time for you to throw your own poetry into the ring!

Even if the poetry contest isn’t your thing, WEbook seems like a useful place to get diverse feedback on your work, which could be especially helpful for writers without writers groups. It also seems like a place that could swallow you up and take hours of your precious writing or working time . . . which is why I’ve resisted the urge to go there often. But it may be just what the doctor ordered for anyone with a boring sit-at-the-computer-jobs that allow for daily, web-surfing. 😉

How to Cheat During NaPoWriMo

April 2, 2009

After confessing that I was stressing about a poem a day, a friend left a comment with this site that would allow NaPoWriMo cheating, if one does so desire. Here’s the poem I got:

A mountainous range stood before the cold Little Red Riding Hood
Scoff not at my vile remarks elastic fiend
Crushed by the evil eyelash he laughs at the feeble beagle.
Stars filled her mind–it was if sea slugs were creaming her head.
All were in a circle of juggling horns of death–stiff and satiny,
Pools remain from the violet killer whale
How easily did the dream come apart, like Indian summer in one’s stomach
She tossed and turned, her delighted leg flapping uselessly,
So deal not with this once thy glorious surfer chick.

I’m going to try writing a series of real Little Red Riding Hood poems in hopes of generating something for this call for submissions.