Happy Chinese Year of the Snake!

I’m in a transition phase and I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to end up, but this feeling of wasting time, of just being a warm body rather than being uniquely situated, is constantly biting and nipping at me.  Chemo is over, although Evelyn has been sick most of the winter.  Pre-school — and the pre-school tuition bills — is almost over. My oldest will start middle school in the fall.  The other three will be in elem. school.  The children are increasingly independent and I’ll have more blocks of time.  Although, the twins volunteered me to help out at Thursday’s Valentine’s Day party.  How can one say ‘no’ to that?

I’m trying to be more mindful of my writing.  What does success mean, to me?  How can I use my talent to bless other people?  Would I still write if there were no financial compensation?  Should writing become more of a hobby than trying to make it turn into a full-time profession?  I asked my friend, and social guru, Mindie Burgoyne if I should stop blogging.  This blog doesn’t really do anything or even have a theme, I said (whined).  She said: 

1.  You must have a blog if you’re a writer who wants to get published.  Publishers look at these things and want to know that you can connect with readers.  

She also told me to get on wordpress, sent me a link, and she might run an online class on blogging.  If she does, I’ll post the details here.

On February 4th I was planning to start a new job as a fitness instructor for the parks and rec department.  The more I thought about it, the more excited I became.  A couple of hours a week, I was being paid to exercise, and the classes went by the school schedule.  No way could anything be more convenient.  Then, for several reasons, the entire morning program was cancelled.  Very disappointing.

I received an encouraging e-mail from a speculative fiction publication about a story I submitted back in August.  Still no final word.  Writers, you understand this frustration.  Especially if the ultimate answer is “Thanks, but no thanks.”  Really?  You’ve kept my story seven months before turning it down????

My voiceover lessons — I’ve fantasized about being a voice for animated films and audiobooks for a long time and only acted on the wish last September — are not going super-well.  In fact, I sound stupid reading the commercial scripts.  Certainly not a natural talent to read an insurance pamphlet verbatim and still come across as warm and human.  Don’t believe me?  Try it.

About six weeks ago I finished a novel titled “Garden of Wynterhall,” had it beta-read, and then submitted it to the Amazon Break-Through Novel Awards.  The contest works a lot like American Idol for writers.  The first round is based on a 300-word pitch.  Second round is based on a 4,000 word excerpt from the beginning of the novel.  Then the actual novel is read by Publishers Weekly.   Finally, voting is open to the public.  Winners and a couple of runners-up will receive publishing contracts with a fixed advance.

Anyway, the announcement about the Pitch round will be made tomorrow.  10,000 entries will be cut to 2,000.  And, whether I make it or not is more of crap shoot than something to celebrate or cry over.  Anyway, either I’ll move forward, or I’ll revise the pitch into a query letter and send it out to five agents that I’ve already identified. 

So, today, I’m sending well-wishes to my fellew ABNA entrants, and also to dreamers who didn’t make it in one day, one week, or one year.