Greetings blogging friends!
Many mea culpas for the disappearing act. Although taking a hiatus from regular blogging has been totally intentional, I really didn’t mean to go this long without at least popping by or checking in with all of you at your corners of cyberspace. Here’s the skinny on what I’ve been doing instead of hanging out at Hawleyville.
1. First and foremost, Manwhore and I have been bonding. During the month of August, the writing has been always steady and sometimes intense. I’m hovering right around the 80 thousand word mark. More importantly, the story is 2/3rds told. Troublesome questions about the plotline have been smoothing themselves over quite nicely. The characters have sometimes taken the reigns and brought out sides of their personalities that I’d been neglecting. Realistically, I expect the first draft to be completely finished by Thanksgiving. If it happens earlier, all the better.
2. I will be attending the Maryland Writer’s Association Conference on October 20th. I had originally also intended to sign up for a pitch session, but have nixed this idea. The publishers offering sessions represent the romance, non-fiction, literary and young adult genres. Let’s face it – a naked manwhore ghost with a murder mystery to solve doesn’t quite fall into any of those categories. But I’m still incredibly psyched about this opportunity to learn, weigh my options, and network.
3. I’ll also be attending the Baltimore Book Festival. In the past, I’ve attended this event as a festival-goer in search of good reads and eager to support local bookstores and writers. This year, I’m attending with a fresh set of eyes and goals. The festival runs from Friday-Sunday, but on Friday Sept 28th there are all sort of events geared towards writers. I plan to make a day of it.
4. Another event I’m really looking forward to this fall is the October 13th Homecoming at my alma mater/employer. I’ve mentioned that I spent my college years working in various editorial positions at the university newspaper. Among other Homecoming events, there’s a reunion scheduled for newspaper staff, and many from my era plan to attend. For me, those dingy newspaper offices were where this goal of being a writer took shape, even if I did take a decade-plus hiatus before seriously pursuing it.
So yes, finishing a novel while working a job that just never cuts back on the crazy has made me temporarily drop out of the online social networking that as a writer, I know I SHOULD be doing. On the flip side, I’m making real strides in tapping into local “get up and show up” resources that I’ve always neglected in favor of my computer. I’m an introvert with a somewhat extraverted day job, and I tend to prefer downtime and online communications to adding more plans and face-to-faces to my already busy schedule. So I’m proud of myself for taking these steps.
The other benefit I’m getting out of my social networking scale-down and laser vision focus on the book has been a flood of energy and ideas when it comes to future projects. I am simply BURSTING with essays and blog posts that my brain and fingers are itching to write. I am using this as further motivation for finishing the first cut of the book. “Get it done,” I tell myself, “and then you can divide your time between edits and re-writes and getting back out there with your other projects.” I am dangling this in front of myself like a carrot, and it has me chomping at the bit.
In other news, I am thrilled that summer is slowly but surely yielding to fall. Fall is my creative wake-up season. Heat and humidity sit on my brain and my shoulders like a thick, wet, uncomfortable cloak. Cool fall breezes and the smells of woodstoves burning are truly like currents of electricity rolling through my spirit. Having been able to write through my sluggish summer blahs, I am more eager than ever to see what the change of the seasons to “my time” will bring my creativity.
The day job remains frantic. I have at least 3 big projects in development at the moment, along with one on the horizon and the normal daily fire-stomping. Some days I feel almost too overwhelmed to breathe, but other days I enjoy the challenges. I have a great core of co-workers, and there are certain aspects of what we do that are creative. I’d take the opportunity to be a full-time writer in a heartbeat, but since that isn’t an option for me I’m glad to have work that isn’t always mind-numbingly boring and to spend my days with people who energize me with their own attitudes and vision. It hasn’t always been that way for me in this job, and I am enjoying this stage of my career and the current cast of characters I share the stage with.
Of course, it isn’t all work and no play with me. I still hang out at the pub about once every week, or at least once every two weeks. I have been enjoying the return of AMC’s “Hell on Wheels.” I’m finally catching up on “Boardwalk Empire,” a series I always wanted to watch but never found the time. I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter series for fun and as a lesson in a different realm of writing. And I’m eagerly awaiting the return of “The Walking Dead.”
Oh, and one more thing. Football is back!!
Hope you are all well – I miss having more frequent contact with many of you through our blogs, but I promise to return both as a loyal reader and writer when my marathon is done.