May: Goals for 2012

Tomorrow’s May 1. Time for another round-up of my new year’s writing goals. I did pretty well on some of them (I actually submitted something) and completely ignored my big goals. Scroll on to join me for a quiet, writerly moment of accountability. Or, if you couldn’t care less, click below to watch badgers dance. Your choice.

Finish the second draft of my novel by April (September.) Revisions are actually trundling along, after months at a standstill. I heard back from my readers, got myself organized and I’ve been working on the novel daily, putting in 500-1000 words a day. I’m retyping the whole thing because I’m out of my mind. See below tweet for confirmation of this.

But seriously, retyping is slow going, but it’s forcing me to re-read everything once again, and I’m revising as I go. Hopefully things will speed up for me in the coming month.

Get it sent to agents before summer. Let’s jump off one bridge at a time, shall we?

Send out at least three short stories. I sent out one and was rejected. In fact I woke from a Blood Meridian-inspired nightmare this morning (see next goal for clarification) to an email from a prominent literary magazine which essentially said “Thanks but no thanks, we’re zombied out.” Psssssh. As if the literary merits of zombies have been exhausted. Girl, please.

Read one two novels a month in 2012. I read one novel this month, toiling through Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. That brings me to 11 books for 2012. I will try to read more books in the coming month. Hopefully those books won’t involve scalping, flaying, Judge Holden, or a lack of quotation marks/apostrophes.

Cormac McCarthy isn't afraid of violence, depravity, or the darkness in men's hearts. He is afraid of these.

Make at least $20 off a piece of fiction. Done in March. I also started keeping a spreadsheet about my earnings/spending as an author. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a pretty small spreadsheet at the moment, but it makes me feel like a responsible grown-up.

Other goals: I also set to work on two of my big conflicts this year: My feelings about my faith and my issues with anxiety. You know what I did about those in April?

Nothing. Unless you count feeling anxiety about the plight of nuns in the U.S. as progress on both of those. Which it’s not. I did sign a petition in favor of the nuns. And then I worried, because what if the Inquisition sees?

Published, or Can I get a “yay”?

So recently, this blog’s been a big ol’ mess of me complaining about things. Waah, Irene. Waaah, FEMA. Waaaah, writer’s block. Waaaaaaah, grocery shopping.

No more! I’ve stowed my box of Kleenex and called off the waahmbulance, because I’ve got some fabulous news. On Sunday, I received an email from Vagabondage Press, a small, independent publishing house. They will be publishing my novella “Beware the Hawk” (I think, technically, it’s a novelette) as part of their 2012 catalog!

What kind of book is it? Well, for my literary/MFA friends – it’s genre. It’s a spy thriller told in the first person by a strong female voice, and smartphones play a big role in the story. It’s set in Boston. For my family, I’m sorry – my protagonist drops a lot of F-bombs.

This is a piece I wrote years ago, when I was in my first writing group. One of the women in that writing group is a co-founder at Vagabondage. She asked to see the piece this summer.

I don’t have all the details yet, but I do believe “Beware” will be an e-book release. I’ll write more about that when I have more information.

Good lord. I’ve published short stories and poetry and countless news pieces, but this will make me the author of a book. This has been my goal since I discovered books as a child. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write and publish a long piece of fiction.

Now it’s about to happen, and I have this weirdly muted excitement going on. I continue to stress about other projects, and every once in a while, I have this burst of hysteria when I remember that I’m going to have a book published. Now it’s not my end-game. Now it’s something that’s going to happen next year.

But what’s weird is that I somehow never looked beyond that final goal of writing a book. As a kid, I never had any plans beyond that. I was going to write a book and then… what? Be rich and famous, I guess. (Ha!) But now, I find myself thinking, wow, I’m going to be published, and still going on with the process of querying, writing, readying my long manuscript for the eyes of an agent and researching. It feels like I’ve pushed beyond the boundaries of my childhood ambition. It’s no longer “I want to write a book when I grow up,” now it’s “I want to write for the rest of my life.” And it feels like I can do that. I’ve spent the last several years writing, and the last two writing very seriously, but being an author feels like an actual career option now.

This is actually the third – and most exciting – piece of good news I have to share. The first piece of good news is that Vagabondage is publishing one of my short stories in their final issue of their lit mag, The Battered Suitcase, which will be available Oct. 1, and also, that another short story, “Final Statements,” will be published by Independent Ink Magazine sometime soon. I don’t have a date for the Independent Ink release yet, but when I do, I will tell you all.

I’m off to go yell “Wooo!” in the middle of my street.