Thursday’s Work-in-Progress

I was hoping to squeeze in some especially productive writing time this week between Christmas and New Year’s. After all, I was scheduled to go to my “day job” just two days. One of those days dropped away when a winter cold worsened and I decided to take yesterday off.

For a brief morning moment, my mood brightened. Unanticipated “free” time! Somehow, I’ve never quite accepted the idea that on a “sick day” I’m not necessarily going get a lot of writing done. That, in other words, I’m staying home precisely because I lack the energy and clarity of thought to work. That I should just succumb to naps and cable news and maybe reading a magazine article or two and let the writing slide. But invariably, I relearn my lesson each time.

Which means that I haven’t exactly maximized this week writing-wise. Before 2011 ends this weekend, though, I’ll have sent out the January 2012 Practicing Writer newsletter (thank goodness for my work-ahead ethic). Hopefully, I’ll have at least started the two review assignments that require my prompt attention. And maybe I’ll have made some progress on one more project.

You see, earlier this month, I dove into Brian Klems’s “12-Day Plan of Simple Writing Exercises,” which concludes with these instructions: “Gather everything you’ve written over the previous 11 days. Pick your favorite. Edit it, polish it and either try to get it published or post it on the Web to share with the world. Be proud of yourself and your work.”

Well, I’ve selected my favorite piece. I’ve begun editing and polishing it, but much more revision awaits me. In all likelihood, that work will continue well into 2012. (For one thing, the piece began as a poem, but seems to be edging into essay territory.)

What about you? What are the works-in-progress that you will be carrying into 2012? I’d love to know, if you’re willing to tell me.

4 thoughts on “Thursday’s Work-in-Progress

  1. Kizzy says:

    In 2012, I hope to finally finish my work -in-progress novel, as well as a non-fiction book I’m just beginning. I don’t know if that is too lofty of a goal, but I will work towards it. I will also work on some smaller freelance projects. Wish me luck!

    Also, I love your blog. It is always so insightful and full of useful information. Happy New Year!

  2. Christi Craig says:

    Such great advice from Brian Kelm. I’m following that a bit, but pulling out a few pieces of flash fiction that I wrote during 2011 (and a but further back). I want to rework them, polish them, and put the in some sort of collection with new pieces. I have no idea where the collection will end up, but it feels good to return to pieces that I love and that deserve more attention.

    I also completely understanding having to relearn the true meaning of a sick day each time. Here’s to a fading virus and a productive new year!

  3. Erika,
    Once again, you’re passing along terrific advice. I’m setting lofty goals for myself in 2012, given that some of them require meeting others’ deadlines for contests and such.
    Goal 1: Dig back into my memoir and revise each chapter again. I put my memoir aside for nearly eight months. It’s time to return to it.
    Goal 2: In a free-writing exercise taught by the funny, witty Steve Almond, I found myself writing an essay that stems from my memoir and more recent events. I want to polish that essay and aim high with it once I’m done.
    Goal 3: Goal 2 sort of leads with this one. I want to keep pushing myself to submit my work to more national venues.
    Goal 4: Stay the course with my memoir and don’t take on so many reporting assignments that I never meet my goals.
    Goal 5: Continue learning from my growing community of writers, people including you.
    Happy New Year!

  4. Erika Dreifus says:

    Thank you all for these inspiring comments (and for the especially kind words). Let’s all keep in touch about how these works-in-progress move along in 2012!

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