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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Following My Own Advice

I’ve often thought that the most autobiographical line of fiction I’ve ever written is the one that reads, “Hannah hated hypocrisy.” And since I hate hypocrisy in myself as much as I dislike it in others, I try strenuously to follow in my own life the advice that I dispense. Thus, I’m happy to say that over this past weekend, I completed my latest “I Did It!” list.

Newsletter readers may recall my recommending this activity most recently in the January issue. It’s the creation of Lisa Romeo (disclosure: Lisa happens to be a book-promo client of mine at the moment). As Lisa explains:

As writers, we are too quick to dismiss our small(er) accomplishments, the small steps or steady strides that carry us forward toward larger goals. Especially at this time of year, we may be tempted to focus on what we didn’t finish, didn’t get done, didn’t accomplish–and then shoot straight to a new MUST-DO list for the coming year, one that too often smacks of recrimination.

First, let’s pause to look back and take note of the ways we’ve already begun moving in the direction of our dreams. The list is a way of noticing ourselves as DO-ERS.

A writer’s “I Did It List” is a clear reminder that there isn’t just one goal, one imperative, one project or avenue of development, or only one fun and enriching writerly thing to accomplish. My past lists remind me of what brought me fulfillment, of the new creative people who came into my life, and how I added to my skills, confidence, and understanding of why I write after all.

I’m not going to share my entire list with all of you, but I will offer a couple of observations that I found noteworthy.

First, I was astonished by how many items on my list had emerged unanticipated over the year. That is to say, quite a few of them hadn’t been part of any “resolution” or conscious plan at the year’s outset.

I was also impressed by how much of my list involved acquiring some new skill (loosely defined). For instance, for one freelance article, I finally learned how to record a telephone interview via smartphone (and, through another app, how to obtain a transcription).

At the same time, I realized that part of my “accomplishment” record rests on managing to sustain meaningful projects and activities over time, whether that’s a matter of creating and sending out new work; producing the monthly newsletters and more frequent blog posts; or continuing to attend conferences and readings (and launch parties!) that both enlarge my sense of the world in a variety of ways and help anchor me within a writing life.

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Friday Finds for Writers


Writing-related resources, news, and reflections to enjoy over the weekend. Continue reading ›

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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Publication Alert!

I have a poem in the new issue of Moment magazine.

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Monday Markets and Jobs for Writers

Monday brings the weekly batch of no-fee, paying listings of competitions, contests, and calls for submissions—plus jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction).
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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Three Poems in a New Anthology

I haven’t yet received my copy of the book*, but I have three poems in this exciting new anthology, Theories of HER, which was published yesterday. Edited by Candace Habte, the book is described as a “timely collection of poetry, essay, literature and art, to pull back the curtain on what it truly means to be a woman- beyond stereotypes and labels.” (And when I last checked, you could find one of my poems, “Vocabulary Lesson, 1977,” included in the free sample that’s offered, so that’s also pretty exciting. For me, at least!)

I should add that Candace has been an absolute pleasure to work with. (It doesn’t hurt that she heaped praise on the “Vocabulary Lesson” poem right from the start!)

*Update on Wednesday morning: just received my free e-book! And the book is free for the next couple of days via Amazon Kindle, too. Continue reading ›

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Friday Finds for Writers

Treasure Chest
Writing-related resources, news, and reflections to enjoy over the weekend. Continue reading ›

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