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Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: One Writer’s Summer To-Do List, Three Weeks In

Today marks three weeks since I posted my summer to-do list. What sort of progress have I made? I’ll share that below, in an updated reprint of the post.

North of the equator, we’ve just begun summer. Although I’m still going to be working 40 hours a week in my day job, still running the usual errands, still partaking in the same family responsibilities (and joys), I’m also hoping to accomplish certain writing-related goals before we merge into fall.

After all, for six weeks this summer, my 40 hours at the office will be recalibrated: heavier on Mondays-Thursdays with “summer Fridays” off. I hope to use those Fridays wisely. And I hope that I can use the general light and energy of the summer to help infuse some projects under way and others that I hope to start.

Herewith, items on my list of writerly hopes, plans, ambitions, and commitments for the season.

“MY” WRITING

  • Continue promotion for Quiet Americans; track progress of new (non-Kindle) versions; calculate and send Q2 contribution to The Blue Card. My ongoing promotional activities including attending more closely to my Facebook page (you’d make me so happy if you’d “like” it!). I’m also pleased to report that Quiet Americans is indeed available via iTunes/iBooks (Nook and Sony reader versions coming soon). And, as the strikethrough suggests, I did calculate and send the Q2 contribution to The Blue Card. It was less than last quarter’s donation, but it happened to be a multiple of 18 (a significant number for us Jews), so that pleased me.
  • Complete work on new short story and figure out if it may be a novel chapter; begin new story/novel chapter. The work on the “new” (three weeks later, it’s still new, right?) short story is not complete, but I have indeed begun revising it. No other progress on the new fiction front, however.
  • Write at least one new poem; revise existing poem drafts. Some revision. Nothing new yet.
  • Draft Israel-related essay. Nothing new here yet, either, but I have begun to compile some of the texts I expect to cite/reference in the essay.
  • Check where submissions are outstanding; follow up if appropriate; send out new submissions. In progress.
  • Research/apply for short-term residencies for winter-spring 2012. In progress.

ASSIGNMENTS (SELF-IMPOSED/SOLICITED AND OTHER)

  • Practice and deliver presentation for Manhattanville Writers Week session on “Social Media Strategies for Writers”. Finally, something that I can cross off the list! And here’s something for all of you who couldn’t be there!
  • Research and write article due to The Writer on August 1. In progress.
  • Prepare Q&A re: The Borrower, by Rebecca Makkai. Qs submitted, As received, and material being edited.
  • Prepare Q&A re: Rethinking Creative Writing, by Stephanie Vanderslice. Done! Have you seen the posted Q&A yet?
  • Prepare Q&A re: The Little Bride, by Anna Solomon. Qs submitted.
  • Peruse fall/winter catalogs for possible titles to review and monitor reviews-in-progress (track ARCs, read, write, etc.). In progress.
  • Prepare and distribute July/August/September issues of The Practicing Writer. July is done. August and September are in the works.
  • Consider if I want/need to seek additional fall/winter assignments. In progress. One new assignment so far.

QUALITY OF WRITING LIFE

  • Research and purchase new computer. Not yet.
  • Have “writing dates” with friends. Not yet. Although I did have one wonderful lunch that included a lot of TALKING about writing and publishing.
  • Make (and keep) annual appointments with ophthalmologist and optometrist. (Considering how much time I spend squinting into screens, taking care of my eyes seems more and more important.) Appointment with ophthalmologist is set for this afternoon. Long story short, optometrist appointment has proven more elusive. I may just go down the block to my nearest LensCrafters when I can.
  • Get apartment windows washed (and other household tasks). (It’s nice to have a clear view once those eyes are checked.) Not yet.
  • Read, read, read. Making progress! Follow me on Goodreads to see what I’m reading now.
  • Catch up on movies/go to museums/attend concerts & readings. Art feeds off other art! (And I live in New York City, for crying out loud! I’m practically tripping over all of these opportunities!) Definitely not enough progress here, either. In part, the heat (and some minor health issues) are to blame for my homebound tendencies when I’m not at the office/with family/meeting friends for meals-drinks. But those excuses aren’t good enough. Highlight thus far is definitely Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.
  • Get to the gym or go for a jog 2-3 times a week. (Sure, more would be nice, but let’s be realistic here, given my schedule and my usual response to heat and humidity.) Exercise energizes the body and helps clear and focus the mind. Same excuses as immediately above.

I concluded the post three weeks ago with this note: “And what about you? Have any of you made summer writing to-do lists? Care to share what’s on them?” So now I ask you: How are you doing with your to-lists to date? I’m especially eager to hear from those of you who were generous enough to post your own lists in the comments section for the original post, but everyone is welcome to share!

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  1. Seek contacts and research for big William Faulkner article due Spring 2012. – STILL NEED TO DO!

    Begin article about history of coffee – read books ordered from library for research. Drink a lot of coffee for “research purposes” – HMM, DOING WELL ON THE “DRINK COFFEE” PART!

    Start thinking about Christmas/winter writing themes – jot ideas in notebook. – STARTED ARTICLE.

    Buy more and more notebooks and fill ‘em with ideas! STATIONARY SHOPS ARE MY DOWNFALL!

    Approach literary magazines to suggest personal column now bookdealer has closed down. – YES V. HAPPY AS I HAVE AN ARTICLE TO WRITE FOR NEW UK BOOK MAGAZINE STARTING IN DECEMBER.

    Join online writing communities. – YES, GOING WELL. PAYMENT IS LOW, ABOUT $15 AN ARTICLE ON EHOW.COM AND IT IS TAKING A WHILE TO WRITE THEM BUT HOPING I CAN WRITE THEM FASTER ONCE I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING.

    Make most of 5 day trip without family to remote Norfolk to write, write, and write some more! STILL TO COME

    Make most of charity trip to Romania in August to highlight potential story ideas for magazines. STILL TO COME

    Keep desk tidy. Harder than it sounds! HAH, FUNNY THIS ONE I HAVE A NEW DESK IT IS BIGGER THAN THE OLD ONE, SO MORE SPACE BUT MORE TO KEEP TIDY!

    Buy good second hand dictionary and thesaurus to keep at friend’s office where I often write on Friday’s – these things can be pretty heavy to carry around from home to Crowborough! TODAY IS FRIDAY AND I AM WORKING AT MY FRIENDS OFFICE, SO WILL PICK UP BOOKS ON LUNCH BREAK

    Join local business group to network for possible work/new opportunities. DONE.

    Attend local Writers’ Club when can. Have a go at writing play/short story for local theatre/magazines. ENJOY CLUB BUT NO PLAY/STORY AS YET

    Possible temp weekend summer outdoor job? Check local papers. Believe me after sitting in front of a computer screen all day, the last thing I want is a temp “office job”! NOT YET.

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