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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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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

A new year, a new approach!

I’m going to experiment a bit with the format of these Wednesday posts in this new year. To that end, let’s try this: Continue reading ›

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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

From the Archive: Gift-Giving Possibilities for Benevolent Bibliophiles

Sarah Begley‘s share of a Goodreads post that spotlights literary-themed nonprofits to support during the holidays reminded me of a similar piece I wrote a number of years ago—11 years, to be precise—for The Writer magazine. Continue reading ›

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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

A Meaningful Mention

Got my hands on a copy of this book—Jessica Lang’s Textual Silence: Unreadability and the Holocaust—a few days ago. So meaningful to find Quiet Americans (and some of my other writing) referenced within. Continue reading ›

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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Tally-Ho!

As you’ll recall, my year of blogging for Poetry Has Value reached its end a number of months ago. But that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to share my poetry submission stats with you. So here’s the report for the month of November.

Also, if you’re new to these posts, it may be helpful for you to know that I work very hard to submit my work mainly to paying venues that don’t charge fees for journal/website publication. If you’re similarly looking for paying calls and contests that don’t charge submission fees, you’re always welcome to check my monthly newsletter (and with my weekly “Monday Markets” posts on this blog).

On with the report: Continue reading ›

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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Milestone Reached

Yesterday, my poetry manuscript and I reached a milestone:

We sent ourselves off in full-length form to a publisher. Continue reading ›

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