Monthly Archives: November 2011

A Little Patience

“‛I don’t suppose you could speed things up,’ Inigo said.” The Princess Bride, William Goldman

Skeleton waiting at a computerAs some of you might have read, one of the Restless Writers challenged me to actually finish one of my short stories and submit it to a literary journal or contest. Well, Beckie will be pleased to hear I have done just that. I just sent off a short story to the Fiddlehead’s 21st Annual Literary Contest.

Now comes the hard part—waiting.

The Fiddlehead will be announcing the results before the end of February, so I’ve got some time to kill.

That means three months before I find out if I placed in the contest at all, and three months before I learn if I can submit the same story elsewhere with better luck (no simultaneous submissions).

To keep myself occupied, here are a few of the things I can do until I hear back about the results (if I hear back—fingers crossed!):

  • Read some short-story collections, like Zsuzsi Gartner’s Better Living Through Plastic Explosives or D.W. Wilson’s Once You Break A Knuckle, to better torture myself on how I could have improved my submission.
  • Cram in my Christmas shopping. Watch out, Mapleview Mall, I have a VISA and I’m not afraid to use it!
  • Organize all my Stampin’ Up stamps, inks and papers into a beautiful craft box, complete with mini-scissors, snail glue and sprinkles…and give them away to someone who digs crafts. I am so not that girl.
  • Prepare a business plan and pitch for the Dragon’s Den. One of these puppies has to be a winner.
  • Brush up on my Spanish, so the next time someone calls me “Rojita Hermosita” I’ll respond with a blush and a thank-you instead of a blank stare.
  • Edit my sock drawer. It’s getting embarrassing.
  • Work on—and finish—another story. The Restless Writers are getting sick of my half-imagined, partially completed bits and pieces and want to see me churn something out. Don’t worry, girls, it’s coming!

I know the best thing I can do is keep writing. This is just one contest out of the many opportunities we short-story writers have to get our work out into the world. The secret is to keep writing and keep submitting, so the days spent waiting are productive and your chances of successfully getting published are multiplied.

Who else is playing the waiting game right now?

Maria

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Filed under Motivation, Writing Contests

If You Want an Agent, You Need Backspace

I learned about the Backspace Writer’s Conference the way I learn about most things: Twitter. An author I follow tweeted about his new agent and his blog detailed the experience (Backspace played a huge role).

I cannot emphasize enough what an amazing opportunity this conference provides to authors looking for an agent. Unlike most writing conferences that offer a couple of anxiety-ridden pitch sessions, Backspace provides genre-specific workshops where authors spend hours having their query letters and opening pages critiqued by agents seeking new clients.

Not all participants receive offers of representation, but at the very least they should come away inspired and informed enough to make their manuscript query-ready. I received multiple requests for my women’s fiction manuscript, but of equal importance was the opportunity to connect with writers who have become beta readers, cheerleaders and swoon-worthy drinking buddies.

I’ve also completed a children’s chapter book that I’m ready to query, but only YA was being represented in the workshops. Luckily, Backspace offered agent/editor panels on both days and writers were able to pitch their work to them following the sessions. This allowed me to connect with agents who represent children’s fiction (more referrals and requests for pages).

Since I went totally budget on the accommodations and was able to score a cheap flight, the entire conference cost me just over $1,000—obviously a significant chunk of coin, but think of it as an investment in yourself…that’s how I sold it to my husband 😀

LD

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Filed under Author events, Getting published, Inspiration, Motivation, Starting up, Writing resources

Office Space

I’m procrastinating right now. I’m cleaning my office space and looking at pictures of “great places to write.” My intended post for today was about something far more writerly (i.e. six word bios). But instead, I share with you some of the fashionable and quirky snapshots I’m peeking at for inspiration.

According to Stephen King, in his book On Writing, the ideal place to write “has no telephone, certainly no TV or video games for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall.”

Let’s see which of these fit the bill. One of these workstations is my own, can you guess which one? (it’s not the cushy prison cell, in case you’re wondering).




Virginia Woolf famously insisted that in order to write professionally a woman must have “a room of her own.” I’m fortunate to have such a space. And so, on that note. Back to work I go…

What’s your perfect writing spot? Public library? Café? Hotel room? Front porch? Or perhaps a cork-lined room?

I think the best place to write is probably exactly where you are.

BJ

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Filed under Inspiration, Life and stuff