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Because I sure am.

I suppose this means that if you aren't interested in talking about writing, you might want to find a different blog post to read, whether it's one of mine or someone else's. But I digress.

Lately, I've been focusing a bit more on writing. This is not entirely surprising, since I am finally settled into my new-to-me house, and have gotten used to the rhythm of my sweetheart's work week all over again. (A lot of his workplaces are near my old house, which meant he dropped in and out a lot during the day, which is now not really possible on, say, Tuesdays, when his work demands keep him away from our house.) I was aided in getting used to the house and my sweetheart's schedule by the massive case of vertigo that kept me from driving for weeks and weeks and weeks, which meant that I was essentially house-bound. That it didn't bother me being stuck here says a lot about how much I like this place, I guess. Again, I digress.

The point is, with the downsizing and move behind me, and the settling-in accomplished, I have turned my focus toward my writing career. This has made itself manifest in various ways, including the sending-out of manuscripts to editors and agents, the sending-out of individual poems for the grown-up market to a variety of journals and a few contests, and the pulling-together of a possible chapbook for submission to Maverick Duck Press, a local small publisher that puts out great chapbooks.

Writing Poetry

I have also been writing more. This means that I've resumed daily entries in the poetry diary I started at the beginning of the year (an idea stolen from Laura Purdie Salas, who talks about her poetry diary here. (She's done photo prompts and daily life prompts/observations and who knows what else; I pretty much write about whatever I can come up with - sometimes based on weather or things I see in the neighborhood, sometimes what pops into mind, regardless of what's going on around me.) Some of my entries have turned into real poems (with lots of additional work and revision), though some of them are just words on a page, more or less.

When it comes to my poems, I've also been reading some books on the craft of writing poetry. Lately, it's been Ted Kooser's book, The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets, which turns out to be of benefit to poets at any stage of their careers, really. Some of the stuff is a bit basic and I can feel smugly that I'm "past" it, but some of his commonsense reminders give me pause, and by pause, I mean "things to really think about and try to incorporate in my writing." On deck, I have Mary Oliver's A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Writing and Understanding Poetry and Frances Mayes's The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems, both of which I've dipped into before, so I know they're good.

Writing for Kids

I have also been writing for children. There are a couple of new picture book manuscripts completed and ready for the world, if the world is ready for them (one is a Chanukah book and the other is a Halloween one), plus I'm working on more. Last Monday, I started a "Write Daily 30" project with some friends, which means I set a daily goal that I intend to follow through on for thirty days straight. The group has agreed to hold one another's feet to the fire, so I really have to make sure to get my time in daily - the support and the possible "getting in trouble" if I miss have been helpful motivation for sticking to it.

My goal has been to write my daily poem (see above) plus spending an hour working on my craft, which includes both reading about writing and doing the writing. Part of it is a sort of "curriculum" I have set for myself based on the excellent post by Robin (R.L.) LaFevers over at Writer UnBoxed entitled Surviving Nearly There, which is about being really close to breaking through into the world of published authors. I cannot recommend the article highly enough, even if you've already started to be published.

My reading about picture books has included Ann Whitford Paul's marvelous book, Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide From Story Creation to Publication, Ellen E. M. Roberts's The Children's Picture Book: How to Write It - How to Sell It (a gift from my lovely mother-in-law), and Picture Writing: a new approach to writing for kids and teens by Anastasia Suen, all of which I have read before in part, but am working through in earnest at present.

My writing goal was really to spend an hour a day on my writing craft. This week I decided that that hour (or possibly longer, if need be), has to be used to draft a new picture book manuscript each day. I have had a number of ideas juggling about here for a while, and never bothered to really write them because it seemed like such hard work. (Insert whining/whinging here.) Yesterday's manuscript was rough, but I am excited to get back to it and make it work. Today's was rougher and is, truth to tell, completely heinous. It needs work. So, so, so much work. Which it may eventually get, or I may have to scrap it and start over. But I met my goal, which is one I designed to enable me to get over myself and get on with things. I will eventually report back on whether it worked or was in any way useful, although I rather suspect it will be, even if all I get out of it is a really good draft of yesterday's story.

What are you writing?

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2014 09:29 pm (UTC)
Love to hear you talk about what you're writing, what you're reading. And yay for those daily goals! I've got a nice stack of books I hope to find time to share about soon. Yours looks a bit familiar! xo
May. 29th, 2014 12:29 am (UTC)
In my "downtime", I've been reading Dani Shapiro's Still Writing, which is gorgeous, and have Natalie Goldberg's The True Secret of Writing on tap. I'm also reading Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen, which I cannot recommend highly enough. And Maggie just handed me Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, which she insists I read (and cry over).
May. 31st, 2014 11:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, Dani Shapiro's work is always gorgeous and inspiring, and I also liked that Anna Quindlen book, with lots of relevant wisdom -- just bought her latest novel, which is on my pile.
May. 27th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing RLF's blog post on being SoClose!

And I need to get back into reading my Cheryl Klein book on craft!
May. 29th, 2014 12:31 am (UTC)
There are tons of great posts at Writer Unboxed, and Robin has written many of them. The prior post she wrote for them is also terrific. It's entitled Dear Soon-to-be-Published Author</i>.

I have to get Cheryl's book.
May. 28th, 2014 12:08 am (UTC)
Glad you're getting writing done! I love daily goals!
May. 29th, 2014 12:32 am (UTC)
Me too. And these are manageable somehow, which is nice. (Sometimes I'm a bit too ambitious, if you know what I mean!)
May. 29th, 2014 01:06 am (UTC)
Love this post.
May. 29th, 2014 03:35 pm (UTC)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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