Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: Another Item Crossed Off My To-Do List

Remember that to-do list from the beginning of the summer? I am delighted to report that I can now cross off that list the very first item under the category of “quality of writing life.”

That’s right. Last Friday, armed with research and primed with questions, I set out for my local Apple store. (I’ve never purchased a non-Mac computer, and I’m not about to change that habit now.)

So I’m typing this blog post from my lovely, light new laptop: a MacBook Air. Even better, I’m no longer chained to my home desk, because I also purchased, at long last, an AirPort Express router. And, with a little help from some kindly tech folks on the phone, I managed to create a working wireless network of my own!

There’s a learning curve, of course. I’m still getting used to the “Pages” word processing program that the salesman encouraged me to try–for a mere $20–instead of plunking down several multiples of that some for an updated Microsoft Office. But these are productive lessons. And I love my new Mac!

How are your lists doing? Please feel free to share your updates and progress!

Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: Help Me Find a Home for My Essay

Last week, I wrote about this odd phase post-publication in which the promotional work is quieting down, but the new work–the future, in other words–is still only on “simmer.” I’ll stay with that theme for now, because I do have a few things to share (and a favor to ask).

To share: Progress on the summer to-do list front. I have managed to complete a residency application (and both of my wonderful recommenders have submitted their letters, too). I have finished a short story and begun sending it out. And I’m happy to report that Quiet Americans is now available for all of you who prefer to read on the Nook!

I’ve also been tweaking something I’ll go ahead and call an essay. And here’s where I’d love your help.

The piece I’m working on is not a conventional essay. In some ways, it resembles a blog post. Think “5 Reasons I’ll [Do Something Social-Media Related].”

And frankly, it’s not all that “nice.” It’s more like a rant.  Which brings up a whole slew of other issues. Such as: Do I want to risk alienating and/or offending people?

But for the moment, I’d like you to focus on this salient fact: The piece runs 500 words. So it’s too long to qualify as an official “rant” submission for Mslexia, which was the first place I thought to send it.

Can you think of other venues (preferably paying ones) that might be interested in something like this? I know, I’m supposed to be a semi-expert on this sort of thing, but for day job-related and other reasons, my brain is already working overtime right now. So I’d love to hear your suggestions. Thanks in advance!

Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: Six Months Later

We passed a milestone this week, my friends: Tuesday, July 19, marked the six-month birthday of my short-story collection, Quiet Americans, which was released on January 19. So it seems appropriate to pause and consider a few things–including the future of “Thursday’s Post-Publication Posts.”

As my friend and fellow author Ellen Meeropol–whose debut novel, House Arrest, was similarly released last winter–recently suggested, there comes a time when the promotional work recedes (or should recede), and the generation of new work takes precedence. I didn’t necessarily intend it, but I am, at this time, becoming increasingly forward-looking, too.

I’m by no means ready to abandon my precious Quiet Americans (more about that in a moment), but various forces are motivating me to think that these Thursday posts should gain a new focus (and some new titles). I welcome your thoughts about this. I will say that I’ve noticed that several writers-who-blog incorporate regular “Confession” posts, and that’s tempting (for two examples, albeit material that posts regularly on Tuesdays, see the blogs by Kelli Russell Agodon and January Gill O’Neil). But I blogged before I had a daily post “theme,” and I can do so again.

Things to think about!

Meantime, as I said, I am by no means ready to part ways with my beloved Quiet Americans! I’m still arranging events, I’m still doing interviews (please see the latest one over on The Story Prize blog), and–this is very important–I am still available to call in and join your book clubs for conversation!

Less publicly, I continue to receive lovely, always-to-be-cherished messages from readers. Which reminds me: It’s never too late for you fans to post your glowing words on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other review venue you may choose.

Six months in, it’s been a great ride. And for that, I am exceedingly grateful. Thank you.

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.


Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: Happ(ier) Days

Thanks so much for the supportive responses re: last week’s post-publication post. I’m pleased to tell you that although I’ve continued to have a few trials and tribulations in the days since, there are plenty of bright spots to report as well.

First, I had a great day out at the Manhattanville College Summer Writers’ Week. Many thanks to Karen Sirabian and her team for making me feel so welcome (and feeding me lunch!). If you haven’t yet seen the online version of the social-media resource list that I shared at my session, you’ll find it here.

Next, although I found out this week that I didn’t win a(nother) fellowship I’d applied for (in this case, the Emerging Writer Fellowship administered by The Writer’s Center of Bethesda, Md.), I was honored when I learned that at least, I’d made the finalist list. (And what a list it is, filled with names of writers I admire. I’ll try to keep tabs on the award announcement, and if the finalist list is made public, I’ll share it with you.)

Finally, I’m proud to present a new essay of mine on the Center for Fiction’s lovely website. The essay appears within the site’s “Writers on Writing” section. And if you’ve been at all curious about how my story collection, Quiet Americans, got its title, you’ll want to read this essay.

Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: Confession Time

I hope that most of the time, these Thursday posts are upbeat, optimistic, and even inspirational. I’ve certainly received some wonderful feedback on last week’s post, for instance, both in the comments and offline, and that cheers me. But some weeks, it’s a little more difficult to find and focus on the positive. I guess this is one of those weeks.

Here’s a sampling of this week’s writing-related challenges and/or disappointments:

  • Although I’d sent myself multiple draft/test versions of the July Practicing Writer newsletter, when the actual newsletter went out to subscribers yesterday morning, ye-olde-spacing-gremlins returned with a proverbial vengeance. I always want the newsletter’s appearance to be as flawless as I can make it (to match the excellent content, of course!). So that was disappointing. (If you’d like to see a “clean” copy as it was intended to be published, please click here. As usual, you’ll find many paying calls for submission and no-fee competitions for fictionists, poets, and writers of creative nonfiction listed, in addition to all of our other newsletter goodies.)
  • I found out that I did not win a fellowship I applied for months ago. I didn’t really expect to win this particular fellowship, but wouldn’t it have been nice if I had?! Perhaps I should add that I also received a couple of rejections on more typical submissions this past week–but at this point, those barely make me blink.
  • As much as I love the Fridays-off part of my day job’s six-week summer schedule, I am finding it a little tougher than usual to adjust to the longer M-Th workdays. Simply put, the days really do feel longer. I’m tired, and I’ve been finding it more difficult to squeeze in writing, workouts, or anything fun on the margins of my workdays. (And yet, I know how lucky I am to even have a day job!)
  • Yesterday, the Jewish Book Council sent me an email saying that they’d received the initial round of requests for authors from most of its NETWORK members. Suffice to say that the requests for me and Quiet Americans were underwhelming. So that’s a big disappointment. (On the other hand, maybe I’ll be able to use all of those banked vacation days for a residency or for a New York-based “staycation” that allows me to do some research for my fledgling fiction project.)
  • And last, but not least, today (June 30) closes out the second quarter of the year, which means that I’ll soon be able to begin calculating my quarterly contribution to The Blue Card. As you may recall, sales of Quiet Americans dictate the size of the contribution, and thanks to the author-friendly structure of my book’s micropress publisher, I already know that I’ll be able to give The Blue Card less than half of what I sent last quarter.
  • Of course, as a certain literary heroine was wont to pronounce, tomorrow is another day. Things are likely to look up soon (and they’re really not that bad in the first place). Thanks for indulging me today!