Someone my husband, Dave, knows started a project called Weeknotes, whereby he puts together a summary of what he’s done at work each week and posts it online. Other people have started to do it too, and I wanted to join in. I wasn’t overly enthused about compiling Weeknotes for my day job, but I thought it might be fun to do it for my writing, so here goes...
I made good use of the train journey back from Edinburgh. I wrote and posted all my Fringe reviews, and remembered to Tweet them (1,314 words added to the word tracking spreadsheet). I read through the final worksheet for the Six Month Novel Programme (I can’t believe it’s over already) and despaired of my ability to apply all the editing suggestions to my novel manuscript. However, when I then read the first chapter backwards, I discovered how useful an editing trick that can be, which just goes to show that Amie and Charlie really know what they’re talking about. I duly completed the Editing Action Plan for the final submission of the programme, and I feel pretty good about the Grand Plan for the novel. Finally, I did a Tarot reading for a new short story, which I find can be a fun way to generate and develop ideas at the start of a project.
When we got home, I planned the next submission opportunities for the stories that were rejected over the weekend (one with some lovely feedback about the writing), and emailed Hannah to check she was free to meet up after work on Wednesday for our writing date.
I couldn’t sleep because my stupid brain was thinking about the novel, and Dave was snoring like a pneumatic drill. I tried kicking him, punching him, waggling his pillow, and bouncing on the bed while sighing loudly, but there was no response. I finally got a reaction by poking him in the arm with a fingernail. He apologised for disturbing me, rolled over and immediately started snoring again.
So, I got up at 4am and used the extra time to prepare and submit a short story to Strange Horizons, to update my current project list, and to write some notes for the support call with Amie and Charlie at the end of Six Month Novel Programme.
I remembered to pack my tablet, and made my way to the usual tea shop after work. I edited a 12,000 word story, re-read the Tarot notes from Monday and wrote the first draft of what was was intended to be an entry for the upcoming Writing Magazine Single Character Competition. It turned out way too short, but was easily adapted for this week’s Hour of Writes prompt, Back To Normal.
Partway through the session, I got a rejection from a publisher with some very harsh feedback about the story (not how I’ve been taught to give feedback at all!), which was a little demoralising. I’ve got to the stage now where stock rejection emails don’t bother me, and I really appreciate it when editors take the time to write something positive about the submission. I’m generally very happy to receive constructive criticism, but this was phrased very baldly, and not in a helpful way. Hey ho.
I texted Hannah after 90 minutes and discovered she wasn’t coming after all, so packed up a bit early and headed home. It was a shame not to see Hannah, but the existence of the appointment meant I got a lot done that I wouldn’t have done at home, so it felt pretty productive overall.
I had dinner with Geena and talked about my plan for the novel, how to deal with bad rejection feedback, and writing in general. It’s always good to talk to Geena. I think we’re very good for each other’s mental health.
I got an invite for a London Writers' Cafe editing workshop on 11 September and signed up for it immediately. I need all the help I can get in this area.
I submitted one short story to Freeze Frame Fiction, another to Centropic Oracle, and also entered the EFG Short Story Award. I currently have 29 submissions out for consideration, with six more waiting in the wings, which I think it pretty good.
I typed up and submitted my first Hour of Writes entry since June. I’ve only entered a couple of times in the last few months, and certainly not every week before that this year. After submitting 104 weeks in a row up until December 2016, I wonder if my relationship with Hour of Writes is coming to an end. I’m still getting the prompts every week, and I still have about 30 credits to use up, so I’m not going to cancel my account just yet. Maybe I’ll get back into it properly at some point.
I gave myself permission not to write on the train to Coventry. Instead, I went through the Writing Magazine competition supplement and marked all the stuff I might be interested in entering.
At the NAWG Fest open mic session, I was presented with my copy of The Wishing Star, a collaborative writing project where 19 different authors wrote a chapter each of a teenage romance/adventure. It’s still a rare enough occurrence that I get excited about seeing my name in a printed book, and it was even more fun when various people asked me to sign their copies of the book.
I attended workshops on common mistakes writers make (I only make one out of the five but it’s quite a major one and difficult to fix) and Show Don’t Tell, which is the mistake I make, so that was handy.
I organised a Write Club meeting with Tony, Jane and Beckah, which was the first one I’d managed to attend in person. They gave me tons of useful and encouraging feedback on a competition entry that’s due soon, and I really enjoyed spending time with them
I attended workshops on creating conflict and getting in touch with the subconscious. The first gave me the opportunity to develop a story I’ve been thinking about for some time, and the latter reminded me of all the great lessons I learned on this subject at last year’s NAWG Fest. I’m going to write a blog post about the need for constant reinforcement of lessons learned.
So, in summary, I feel like it’s been a good week for writing. Lots of variety and lots of opportunities to work on projects and spend time with other writers.