Oh yeah, I have a blog!
I certainly didn’t forget about the blogging community, but I know I haven’t been around as much as I used to. I’ve been hyper-focused on one project as far as writing goes, and that is the rebuild of 95,000 word manuscript that I lost in the the great USB crash of 2020.
So far I’ve rewritten about 40,000 words in about 5 weeks, which is encouraging, but I still have a long way to go. Considering that I had just started querying agents a month before the crash, I’m eager to get this thing rebuilt ASAP. Then I’m going to try getting beta readers again, even though my last experience with them was more confusing than anything else. I’m hoping I can start querying again by summer — fingers & toes crossed.
This also means that I haven’t been submitting anything. It’s frustrating because I haven’t had an acceptance email in about 6 months and I’m really starting to feel overwhelmed by rejection and the idea that maybe my short story work is simply not suitable for the “literary” community. Which brings me to the next item that has been keeping me out of the blogging loop — my writing class.
After attending the best conference EVA in October, I felt the need to seek out a community of writers, whether in the form of a workshop or a formal class, but was having trouble finding something that fit my budget and schedule and didn’t require a two-hour commute.
Then in December, I found something that worked for me, so I took some funds out of my savings and signed up. I was giddy with excitement for our first class at the beginning of January, but if I’m being 100% honest, the class has sort of fallen flat for me.
The instructor that was listed in the brochure (who I researched and had some influence on my decision to sign up) was replaced at the last minute, and I’m not sure how I feel about the new guy. I found myself a bit bored halfway through the first class, and considered backing out. But I told myself to suck it up and give him and the class another chance.
The next two classes were better — my classmates and I got to know each other a little more, we did fun exercises, and critiqued four short stories submitted by the braver students who didn’t mind being the first to put themselves out there.
Then it was my turn. I struggled with which piece to submit, mainly because everyone in the class was submitting work written in a literary style — which we all know is my worse enemy. They were also submitting short stories, which I’ve always had a hard time with, hence my need for the class. I contemplated sending the first two chapters of my novel, but that seemed like a cop out. I considered submitting a 3800 word short story based on the house fire a friend of mine experienced last year, but although I love the story and am still looking to get it published, it didn’t seem “deep” enough for the people in this class. So I submitted a shorter story that I wrote on a whim based on my experience working for an elite non-profit in my hometown that turned out to be a total disaster of a hot mess.
It did not go well. I honestly don’t think anyone had anything good to say about the piece. No one was rude or condescending or discouraged me, but they all just seemed bored and confused by every aspect of the story. The conversation that followed my submission was the least engaging and least productive of all the other classes. It was really embarrassing. I have yet to salvage the printouts peppered with my classmates’ notes from the floor of my car.
I know that part of being a writer is about having thick skin. And for someone like me who has always been pretty sensitive, I think that most of the time I cope pretty well with the rejection I face. But getting a form rejection email is entirely different than being in a room with seven people whose writing has blown yours out out of the water and they’re all looking at you wondering how you managed to graduate kindergarten.
The other part of this fiasco with my manuscript rebuild and the class that I wasted $300 on is the fact that I’ve had NO TIME whatsoever to focus on my “resolution” of devoting more time to freelance work. So — Stacy 0, Writing World 3.
While I don’t believe in “signs” as much as I used to, and certainly try not to base important life decisions on symbolism anymore, I can’t help but wonder if all of these obstacles are trying to point me back towards my original writing goals — to be a novelist.
In the five years since I’ve re-entered the writing world, I’ve tried my hand at all kinds of other things — flash fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, travel writing, and of course blogging. Some I’ve enjoyed more than others, some I could take or leave. But one thing I always come back to is writing novels. Once I finish the rebuild on my manuscript that was essentially completed, I’m actually looking forward to outlining and rewriting the two other novels I lost from the USB crash that were only about 25,000 words each. There’s just something about a novel that I can’t stay away from. And to be honest, I’m having just a touch of fun getting back to my manuscript, despite the fact that I lost 14 months of work.
I guess the biggest takeaway from these experiences is to remain true to yourself, even if that means abandoning what is normal or popular for other writers or other people. We shall see.
Until next time, blogger friends!