Annie On Writing

August 31, 2009

My Writing Goals 2009 August

Filed under: Writing Tools — Annie Evett @ 10:53 pm

Every month, I report in on my writing goals – being kept accountable by writing buddies Paul and Jodi ( who also usually beat me with their posts each month.

Get a regular writing gig either print or internet
Still writing weekly for Type A Mom and Write Anything. Type A Mom has really lost its glamour for me. After six months of weekly articles – which on the whole I think have been well thought out and researched – combined with a large amount of hits many of the articles have had – only to see my ‘payments’ in the single dollars. I will continue as they have changed (relaxed) the rules for Editors (which is the title I dubiously hold) We now only have to submit an article every fortnight – and these only need to be 400 words – rather than the tomes I have previously submitted. I really enjoy the Write Anything column as it still pushes me to think about different aspects of my craft and above all makes me feel like I have something worthy of saying – especially when I get comments from the vast internet audience.

My challenge each month I report in is to find roles which actually pay me. I have opened my opportunities up to the universe … and I just have to smile when it is answered – perhaps in ways which I did not expect.

Firstly – its not a paid job … well yet – or even if it will be….…. Cutting along story short – 10 years ago a Russian writer traveled through Australia on camel. He stopped in a Dalveen and was picked up ( my parents have a habit for adopting strays) by my folks. He stayed with them for three days and got some ‘Aussie Culture and Hospitality’ – he then wrote about it – and published his travel log in Russian. Anyway – he also published a few bits from it on a website ( which is all in Russian) however strangely enough – the only bit in English was about his visit with my folks…the way I actually found this site is a story on its own. ANYWAY.. there were a few details in there that weren’t right ( names of people, details about livestock and dingos habits etc) I navigated a Russian site – hoped I’d filled in the right form and pressed the right buttons and sent him a message. The next day I got an email back from him saying he wanted to publish his book in English and would I be willing to rewrite the section (1 chapter) with my knowledge on sheep and hunting habits of dingos – and he would expand the chapter into two chapters as he felt it was an important part of the journey and about Australia. In 1995 he traveled across the US on a wagon and wrote about that. I can’t find much more in English about him – so it will be an interesting twist but worth looking at – So – I have an opportunity….and it’s a bit exciting.

Fiction Friday every week
Have kept posting every week – nearly blew it last week – but saved by a Limerick ( theres got to be a story in that….)

I have been giving every posting on FF considered critiques each week – but last week ( as yet) have not been on to do this. I’m not sure if it even means anything to the other writers – but its pushing me to look beyond niceties and give authentic feedback – hopefully bringing our FF to be a prompt which other writers want to be involved in – rather than a club where we all say how jolly nice we all are ( not that it is that at the moment – but with any group who become comfortable with each other – it has the potential)

I set a target last month to write my FF in a new genre each week – this has opened up possibilities for me and given me a lot of pleasure seeking, researching and reading snippets of new styles. I’ve opened up the suggestions for my next genre to anyone who cares to leave a message on my blog….

Enter 4 short story comps this year.

Last month I had thought to submit some chapters of my NaNo – but after attending the writers festival I can now see how woefully far away that manuscript is from submission. I was flung between despair and elation and seriously thought of packing in the whole idea of being a writer. I still believe the message and my ability as a writer with that manuscript, I just seriously need to rewrite it. I have also made the decision not to post it up on line any further.

Along with this I also realized I was missing a big part or focus in my story. Its now not surprising that I couldn’t keep going with it because of this ( hindsight is such a great thing.) I am undertaking a feminine energy course called Mothersong – tracing the maternal line and energetics. There are so many ‘uhh huhs’ and I am getting excited about integrating what I am uncovering with my rewite and editing of my novel.

I branched out a bit and submitted some samples of my work in article writing for a site which purported to pay per article as well as a profit share thing per click. I think that I didn’t give it as much attention as I aught to have as I was a bit confronted when I got a terse note back saying that I didn’t meet one of the criteria they listed ( it was for a parenting section I was applying for) I apparently don’t either have the educational or life qualifications or/ and write in too relaxed a style unsuited to a formal setting. Sigh. Might be better off if that’s their attitude. I had a moment of huge ego crashing down, got over myself and carried on.

This month I entered my short story – first written for Getting Hitched ( a dating site) – Dance to a Different Beat – in the Curvalicious writing contest. It ends not in 2009 as it says – but in Jan 2010.

Attend Byron Writers Festival as well as at least 2 professional development workshops
My goodness – what a fantastic experience that was! A great mix of how tos, sessions with writers – getting inside their heads on what motivated them to write what they did and sessions which were for the pure joy of learning something new.

Read one book a month

Have taken this a further step finally after my pathetic attempts in the past months. This month I read five and a half!.

I finally started ( and finished within 24 hours) Wilbur Smiths newest book – The Quest. I have collected and loved his books since I was 15 – is it just me or has he completely sold out? Pages of pap and description, fluffy nothing and wasted words. The only reason I kept going was that I have read all his books and just couldn’t NOT read this one. It was predictable, suspended any thread of belief that one could have had within a few pages and very disappointing….AND he is still famous, rich and well respected….. ( not in my house any longer)

I have wanted to start looking into the genre I want to explore for my NaNo – creepy horror – and who better to model oneself on ? Stephan King. Having never read one of his books I grabbed the first few I saw – Nightmares and Dreams , Geralds Game and Needful Things. I have seen the Televison/ film adaptations of Night Flyer and The Stand – and was suitably creeped out by both.

Needful Things was gripping, kept you uncomfortably at the edge of your seat and well crafted. Geralds Game, on the other hand bored me to tears and I think better off as a short story than prolonged into the mindless tome it was published. The main characters continued angst about her past made me wish the dog would come and eat her – rather than make me feel any more empathy.
Nightmares and Drams is a collection of short stories – interestingly, the best ( creepiest) ones are told from a first person stance.
I guess what I got from reading three random books from an author I have heard so much about and whose work is revered by many, is that anyone can have a crap book – he just happens to be able to sell it. ( Same goes for Mr Smith)

I also thought I’d like to have a crack at the one Brisbane Short Story comp next year – so have this years anthology and ploughing through it at great knots. I’d hoped to have finished it by tonights post – but still have 4 to go. I loved the collection – some really great pieces. I was also pleased to see authors there whom I had heard speak at Byron Bays Festival.

Participate and complete NaNoWriMo
Preparing with more reading and research into nightmares and what frightens people (thus the Stephan King focus this month)

Focus on building “Reclaim”, Continue writing Captain Juan, Anthology 2008
Nothing looked at in these spaces for a while. Will stop reporting this.

Anthology now makes me feel sick thinking about – my lack of integrity and responsibility in upholding this goal. This above most other things makes me feel worse about myself than any other action ( or non action I have undertaken this year)


1 Comment »

  1. Annie I think you should stop beating yourself up about the anthology. Realising you have a goal which is a wee bit further up the road of your writing journey than you thought and stopping to consolidate your skills before moving on towards is, shows integrity as a writer, and responsibility both to yourself and your craft. It also shows more than an ounce of common sense.

    If you were to simply walk away altogether perhaps would be disappointing, but I know you will return to this project in the future, with an awesome set of stories which you feel good about putting together and releasing to the public.

    There’s no shame in realising there is still some road to walk. I think when we become complacent – we become the Wilbur Smith’s of the world, whose writing turns forumulaic and predictable. I had the same experience with Dean Koontz this year who I considered really edgy and unique.

    I know Gerald’s Game is one of SK’s later books and didn’t receive good reviews when it came out. Since his accident he really hasn’t been the same. Strange that a serious brush with death pull him deeper into his material – but I know from reading On Writing, sitting at the computer for long hours is painful now for him etc. The Stand is the only book of his which I have read and loved it.

    As for that parenting site – phooey to them. I’m not sure what qualified more – than actually being a parent and a qualified teacher? And it sounds like they were rather rude in their response too.

    I’m hanging in a little longer with the Type A Mom gig because Alyssa is pregnant, and having a complicated one, so will stay for a few months longer. But like you’re I’m over the lure of $s and wish Kelby would be transparent about it rather than telling you to hang in there. On last count I had over 35,000 hits – one article alone has had over 5000 hits and like you – less than $2 in my adsense account. It’s a con – for writers and for site owners. A sneaky way for you to get their ads on your site!


    Comment by Jodi Cleghorn — September 1, 2009 @ 7:58 pm | Reply

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