Happy Feb 1st! It’s been a surprisingly full year already, so I’m restarting a thing I participated in with a lovely group of people (hey Floopers!) back in, oh, 2012? 2013? The idea is that you acknowledge what’s happened in the past month, and welcome in the new month with intention as to how you hope the next weeks will proceed. Enter it as you wish to be in it, as Havi called it.
While there were a bunch of things about that era of my life that I’d leave behind, y’all should know that I love Janus moments. Looking behind, looking forward, at once. So here’s my exitlove and enterwish.
- I’m doing a “story a week” challenge* in a writing community I’m in**, in which all the participants try to write a certain number of story drafts or words per a period of time. For me, January was very successful! I put together six (6!!) story drafts and I couldn’t be more pleased.
- I was able to do six (6!!!) drafts mostly because I’m also doing a story “contest” (not really a contest, but we do comment and score each other) with another neo-professional writing group, Codex. Each week on Friday we get a set of 6 prompts, and we have until Monday morning to write a story of 750 words or less. We submit our lil stories anonymously, and we read/comment on all the stories in our division by Friday evening. We’ve been going for three weeks now, and not only is it a great idea generator, but I’m learning a ton about how different people read. All of us are randomly separated out into divisions of 15-20, and it’s been fascinating to see which stories are more appreciated. It’s also really neat to see what I adore that other people don’t, and what other people adore that I’m like, meh? It’s art! People react so differently!
- And as part of that, I have found that in my lil group of 18, I have a “my audience” reader. As in, for two weeks in a row, the same person has posted that they loved the anon story I submitted. (Gods, I could cry just thinking about it.) And since they’re posting anonymously, I don’t get to know who it is until the end of the contest. This is important because it’s not that my stories are that good – I’m well aware of my limits :sweat smile: and the comments of others show that few people agree with this person. It’s that something about my voice, and the way I think, is hitting this person just right. (:snf:) And that’s exactly what we want as writers! No writer is for everyone.
- While I didn’t receive any acceptances for my submitted writing this past month, I received one hold notice and probably the most wonderful rejection letter ever, from a place that rarely sends personal rejections.
- And in the “there’s a life beyond writing”*** categories, all of the animals are doing well, both of our families are still hanging in there, and work continues to be The Thing I’d Want To Do Anyway.
- Plus, the snow yesterday was gorgeous and glittery, and the birds and the sky continue to charm me daily.
So I wave goodbye to January with a few tears, because it was lovely.
Now I turn and throw my arms open to welcome February with enthusiasm and energy! My goals this month are:
A. Sleep more! The more good sleep I get, the better I feel.
B. Participate more in communities I enjoy. I need to stop getting all up in my head about posting in different places, and put myself out there. (SFWA forums, I’m comin’ for you!)
C. Write, of course! 4 drafts this month, please and thank you.
D. Also, read more! I read almost exclusively short fiction last year due to grief undoing my out-of-work attention span, and while I read a lot, I’d like to read more longer form fiction. Hopefully I can start reading a novel this month.
E. Start writing down the things I love. I have forgotten almost everything I read last year (thanks grief-based brain fog, my brain needs a CW for trypophobia) and that’s not great for sharing when awards season happens.
F. And hey, while we’re on this writing and reading kick, let’s submit 4 things this month, too.
G. More spellwork. I don’t believe in deities, but doing spellwork, engaging with moon cycles and astronomical events, focuses and relaxes me in a way that nothing else does****. More and more of this, please.
Thank you, February, I am very much looking forward to being with you.
What are you looking forward to this month?
* I know myself well enough to make it “52 stories over the year” rather than a story a week. I’m deliberately doing more drafts now because I know I’ll fall off later. I plan for the productivity rollercoaster. Not that I like falling off the rollercoaster, mind you. But it happens. Ouch.
** It’s Cat Rambo’s Discord, which, if you’re an introverted new writer, is the BOMB. It’s small enough that I don’t feel overwhelmed, yet large enough that there’s a lot of good discussion to jump in on when you’re ready. Mary Robinette Kowal’s and Dream Foundry’s were both way too large for me. Oh, and if you’re looking for someplace that is evolving now, I have been in C. L. Polk’s as well, and I love how that’s going, and Premee Mohammed’s is SO funny and deserves a lot more folks.
*** I keep hearing this, but I’m not really sure it’s true.
**** That is, except for a hot tub, but that’s not happening anytime soon. Unless you know someplace where a waterling can be alone, no other people for hours. If so, hit me up.