Back on the (Writing) Wagon

Okay.  Summer’s over.  

I managed a short story draft before my week-holiday in July, but when I got back the writing stopped.  I did not have a happy second half of the summer at the Lodge.  I retreated, I read a lot, but I wrote nothing.  In coming back, I’ve tried relaxing, tried retuning myself to a less stress-filled existence, but I have not tried writing.  Fear gags me, binds my hands.

So, I will begin this journal again, keeping it writing focused, keeping it honest.  Expect to see discussion of what I’m writing, of word counts, of books I’m reading (or have read), and non-fiction stuff I’m interested in.  

Every day. What I want to do is to start the day with a journal entry of what I plan to do, and then close my writing day with a tally of what I have done.  Maybe even snippets.

In lieu of writing, I have done some writer-ly things that don’t count.  I’ve subscribed to Locus Magazine, a trade magazine for the science fiction and fantasy genres that I haven’t been able to find in the local magazine shops for several years now.  I’ve brought in all of my mangas to the local used book store and earned a $150 in-store credit.  With that, I’ve been going on a used book-buying tear, looking for recent releases as well as classics of the genres.  I have about 40 books in my to-read pile (a misnomer – we’re talking several shelves here).  

I also have decided that I need to join a critique circle.   My local writer’s guild isn’t an appropriate choice – it’s mostly literary/mystery and I don’t think my genre work would play well there.  The one time I did sit in, however, I learned some interesting tidbits about what doesn’t work from quickly reading their pieces.   Over the summer, I read a story from a friend and the same thing happened, though this time it started with “it doesn’t work for me” to “a-ha, that’s what’s not working for me”.   But the local guild meets once a month, and critiquing is a small part of their agenda.  I’ve looked online and come up with a few possible solutions.  One is the for-pay, highly recommended Online Writing Workshop, which I’m nervous about joining just because I’ve blown so much cash lately.  It works on a point system, where you can submit your work after doing so many crits of others’ works.  That combined with the cost means that people are there to do critiquing, and nothing else.  There’s Absolute Write, a large writing board that has a ‘Share Your Work’ forum but there is little traffic in it.  Lastly, there are the Forward Motion forums, which has numerous private boards for closed critique groups and a place called ‘Roving Crits’, where you can submit yourself and critique others who have posted.  The latter two are both free.  I emailed someone who is a member of the first and last groups, and she said to try Forward Motion first.  I haven’t any luck joining a crit group at Forward Motion so far, so I guess I’ll have to try the Roving Crits board, doing crits of material that is there and then post one of my short stories.  

… but I’ve been so nervous that instead I’ve looked at the forum a dozen times, flicking through random posts, and critiquing nothing …

Anyone have a Bottle of Courage I can take a sip from?  How about a Decanter of Self-Pity Removal?  *sigh*

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