writing life

2018 Year-End Reflections, part 1

A series of unexpected events including a family health crisis, new job opportunities, and limited writing time have conspired to turn the second half of 2018 into a largely blog-post-less enterprise. Not ideal. I have found writing this blog to be useful, I hope to you, but mostly to me. I am by nature an intuitive person. I drift. Without prompting, I won’t spell out my thoughts or understand them fully. So I’ve used this blogĀ  as a medium to sort out my thoughts, which has led to forward leaps in my novel. Selfish. But isn’t all self promotion?

You know what I mean.


I’ve missed you, and this, is what I’m trying to say, in typical incoherent, intuitive fashion. (My thoughts spiral inward toward the center. A beautiful inefficiency.) There have been several things I haven’t written about here in the wake of all unexpected.

  1. I went to a great writer’s conference in Denver: The Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s Gold Conference. TONS of great notes and thoughts I could share here. Maybe that’ll be my 2019 material…hmm… See, that’s that intuitive thing at work. I literally just thought of that. Anyway: I met some great writers there, had a great pitch session with an agent, and basically, I need to get my damn book finished, because there are people in the world who want to read it! Motivation received.
  2. I bought a typewriter. A vintage 1964 Olympia SM9 Portable Manual, to be exact, from the Etsy shop Mahogany Rhino. Friends, I am absolutely in love. In addition to just being FUN, writing on it is showing me things about writing process. For example, how often my thoughts loop (like a spiral): when I can’t jump back a few lines, add, edit, or move text, I notice how often I WANT to do this and can’t. Not sure whether this beauty will straighten out my thoughts, but if you love putting words together like I do, I highly recommend exploring other methods of word production. Also, robots are taking over the world, and I, for one, am not for abandoning all old tech in favor of AI that will probably kill us in our sleep. It’s the dystopian future, sheeple! WAKE UP!20181219_17503620181219_175048
  3. I plotted out an ending to my novel. This one is huge, folks. I haven’t been able to envision a good-feeling, solid sequence to wrap up this giant mess of notes and Word files that will one day (universe willing) be a book. I was reading Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, in particular, a phrase about forgetting “to carry through on the wider consequences of an action” in a story. Not sure why my subconscious needed that prompt in particular, but I scribbled two pages of summary and the whole fucking thing just fell into place. It was amazing. Now, on to the…execution…the, uh, “writing” part…

It’s been a pretty great writing year for me, mostly because I chose to prioritize this work over other kinds of work (like, you know, the kind that actually pays). I have a good friend who encouraged me to do this: I went to a writing retreat in May, and a conference in September. If you’re like me, a little stranded from literary circles by geography, I highly recommend saving up to take these kinds of adventures. Both jumpstarted my novel in fabulous ways. I got the beginning in May, and, after the conference, the ending. I plan to do at least two similar events in 2019.

Keep an eye out for at least one other blog post before the New Year…

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