albionidaho: (Default)
My coffee table is full of books from WFC 2011. (I must find a spot for these.)

My shelves are full of books I acquired after trading in several used books. (My shelves were full anyway!)

The words are piling up on my current WIPs. (They're not all lovely, but this is why we rewrite.)

I have a lovely selection of tea from the Monterey Spice Company. (They have such delicious tea and spices.)

I have four medium-sized pumpkins waiting to be roasted. (For pie and bread and cake and cheesecake and soup and pasta and...)

I have several bananas that want to be made into bread. (Plain, with pecans, with chocolate swirls, with blueberries!)

I have a story due to Podcastle. (A lovely story about a girl who falls for Death. It's delicious.)

I have a performance/reading to prepare. (So that's why I did all that theater in my youth.)

I have two book proposals to write. (And the projects will be fun!)

I have several writing projects to work on. (And these projects are fun.)

I have a home full of joy, beauty, light, books and love. I have wonderful old friends, I have fantastic new friends. I have a beautiful family, both chosen and through blood.

I imagine there are people who would compare my life now with my life of a few years ago and tell me how worse off I am. They couldn't be more wrong.
albionidaho: (Default)
I've been writing for the past years. Between jobs and school and parenting responsibilities, I've frequently only written 250 to 300 words a day, and have done little revising. There just wasn't time. But it was important to me to keep writing, consistently.

In the past months, since just before my dad died, I've had the time to write more. In that time, I've started writing, revising and submitting. I've started to stack up acceptances. It's an incredible feeling.

It feels like I'm starting over.

And it feels wonderful.

#


When I was at Clarion West, I asked my instructors what I should go home and work on. They all told me to go home and write. Just write and write. I was hoping to get some insight, like, "Your plotting needs work. Go home and work on plotting." Or maybe, "Your characterization needs work. Go focus on that."

I expected this partially because this was some of the directions my classmates were getting and I knew (and know) I have all kinds of things to work on. But that's not what I got, and yet it was the best advice for me. There's no better advice to any writer than to write and write and read and read and write some more.

#


I've been discussing my Clarion West experience a lot with classmate [livejournal.com profile] chris_reynaga. One thing we've discussed is our own inability to see our strengths and weaknesses until someone else, someone we trust, holds up a mirror and tells us.

And it's true. I have no idea what my strengths are until someone tells me. Chris tells me my strength is my ability to capture emotion. I never would have guessed this -- it's innate to me. One of his strengths is description -- of place, of action, of character. Again, this isn't something he sees in himself, but it is something he worked on when he was younger because he felt it was a weakness.

Which raises another point. Chris is a prime example of how we can take a weakness and turn it into a strength. This gives me so much hope.

#


So I write. And I write. And I write. And now I'm revising and preparing to submit at the rate I was before life fell apart a few years ago. And I take the faith my friends have expressed and hold it close.

#


John Lennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" just started to play on my music player. Synchronicity. I titled this entry before I typed the first word.

WFC 2011

Nov. 1st, 2011 02:22 pm
albionidaho: (Default)
The 2011 World Fantasy Convention was fantastic! It was also utterly exhausting.

I spent my time split between the convention and my Clarion West class reunion (on the beach!). I was constantly surrounded by some of the people I love most in the world, I got to meet longtime online friends and meet wonderful new people.

Though I had a wonderful time, I'm so glad to be home with my dog and teapot and bed and my portion of the Pacific.

This is important. This means I have made my home that I've desired for so long. I will perpetually be lining up ducks and making jellyfish swim because that's what people do, but it also means I can breathe for a little while and treasure the joy I've found.

Perhaps there will be a con/reunion recap. Perhaps not. But know the SFF community is the best in the world, and you are all my family.
albionidaho: (bison)
So there's been this meme going around recently, and it caused me to think and remember. I thought I'd do some remembering here.Memory lane, this way )

March 1971: My parents don't even know each other yet. Or maybe they just barely met, but they're certainly not dating.
albionidaho: (Default)
My step-mother, the retired clinical (and forensic, which makes for utterly fascinating stories) psychologist always said it took about two weeks to get used to a new place or a new routine. She originally told me this when I first went to college and found myself incredibly lonely. She said, "Give it two weeks, and see where you are."

She was right. After two weeks, I was making friends and was finding my groove.

I found this to continue to be true for me--it would take about two weeks doing something new for me to adjust.

When Avi started his second year of preschool, he would come home exhausted. It was obvious he had a lot of adjusting to do. After one of the first days, the school's director asked me how he was adjusting. I told her how he was doing. She said that it took the kids, especially the younger kids, about two weeks to adjust to the new routine and schedule and then they would be fine. Then she said, "You know, it actually seems to take the teachers two weeks, too."

We all have to adjust to new schedules, new routines, new goals. We all have to adapt and build.

Read More )
I have to balance being patient with myself with pushing myself. I suspect I'll be doing this in one way or another for the rest of my life.
albionidaho: (Default)
I believe in setting goals. It was a practice I held to in order to get through my education, particularly graduate school, and to write and write and write and eventually attend Clarion West. Clarion was on my goal sheet for years, even though I never believed I’d ever have the opportunity to go. (I believe goal sheets are partly to hold dreams; if we don’t achieve our dreams then what’s the point?)

So, almost two years ago, in the late summer of 2008, my life pretty well fell apart. I’ve spent the last two years trying to reconstruct my life and create the one I desire. It’s still a work-in-progress (when is it not?), but it’s less a reconstruction now than a creation, and that’s a very good feeling. But when life fell apart, I quit doing most of the activities that were a part of my normal life, like setting and achieving goals.

So, this week I put my filing system that keeps me sane back together, put my binders of study projects and scheduling back together, started doing my pages first thing in the morning again, and starting living my adapted life, my new life, and the portions of my old life that I loved and kept me sane.

This weekend around work, [livejournal.com profile] chris_reynaga  and I sat down and made goals. It felt really good, and it didn’t take long, partially because it was so natural to do (almost like breathing) and because I already have had a good sense of where I want to be in the future and what I want to achieve.

I drew my pyramid, marked off my goal points (e.g., yearly goals, quarterly goals, monthly goals...), and began to write down where I wanted to be in ten years, in five years, in a year, at the end of September, the end of December, the end of the month, the end of the week. At the end of the day... And then I wrote down all the personal writing projects I have in the pipeline, another common practice that was abandoned. And then, after that was done, I made goals for having a satisfying and successful technical writing career, and wrote down my plan for that along with all the skills I need to acquire and hone to achieve my goals for that part of my life.

I feel better, I feel more balanced, now that I can see my graphic representation of where I’m headed. I know from experience that my goals will evolve, as they should, but knowing where I’m headed and my plan for the future is exhilarating--a feeling I am intimate with and am so glad to feel again.

My fiction writing goals are as follows:

Five Years:
• Have at least five novels completed and sent out into the world
• Ideally have three in print (this is the dreaming part :))
• Have many stories/B novellas I’m proud of in print (All that are currently on my pipeline list will be making the rounds/will have made the rounds)
• Have written two graphic novels (Perhaps just for my own pleasure)
• Have written one screenplay (Ditto my own pleasure)
• Have completed the NA Anthology
• Be represented by a fine agent I respect
• Be teaching workshops regularly, at least quarterly (I used to teach creative writing workshops to junior high and high school students and loved it; it’s something I’ve been desiring to do again)
• Have a satisfying relationship with other members of the speculative fiction/writing community (It’s a wonderful part of living where I do and having been to Clarion West--all the fantastic and sustaining relationships that are a new part of my life)
• Write what excites me; be excited about my projects

July 2010-July 2011:
• Have Paperdoll completed, revised and queries sent out
• Have POL completed, revised, and submitted
• Be working on real novel #2
• Have at least four short stories making the rounds
• Have submitted to all four WotF quarters
• Be involved in the community IRL and at Cons
• Have fully come back to the online world
• Be actively critting
• Write what excites me; be excited about my projects

Quarterly Goals:
• Have “T&T” completed and submitted
• Have “LoA” completed and submitted
• Have a second draft of “DtR”
• Have draft 1 of “ItEM” completed
• Be actively critting
• Be actively blogging
• Finish my website (Now that I've retrieved my domain)
• Write what excites me; be excited about my projects

Monthly Goals:
• July: Have “T&T”& “T4Bs” completed
• August: Have “LoA” ready to submit by September
• “ItEM” draft 1 completed
• Crit 2 stories
• Make at least 12 blog posts
• Write what excites me; be excited about my projects

Weekly Goals:
• “T&Ts” draft 1 completed
• 1 crit
• Make three blog posts
• Write what excites me; be excited about my projects

Daily:
• Write 1,000 words a day (I’ve been regularly making this goal again after months and months and months of only being able to write 100 to 250 words a day and then about 500 words a day--I’ve made the time for 1,000)
• Read at least 1/2 hour of non-fiction and 1/2 hour of fiction
• Write what excites me; be excited about my projects

So now fess up--what are your goals? What are your dreams? You don’t have to tell me, but I want you to tell yourself.

WFC

Nov. 5th, 2009 07:20 pm
albionidaho: (angeles)
Today is brought to you by the Santa Cruz Mountains rain and no tea, strangely enough. I may have to remedy that: I have caught a cold. (Lemon ginger sounds good.)

2009 has been remarkably healthy for me, much more healthy than I've been in years past. But I still have this cold -- I suspect I had it coming.

I attended World Fantasy Convention 2009 in nearby San Jose this weekend, my first big con. I paid for the con by writing articles about how to adjust watches.

I attended no panels, I attended only Terry Bisson's reading. Mostly I met people I've corresponded with online for years, or authors and editors I admire, some of them absolute favorites of mine. I spent time with Clarion West cohorts, old friends, new friends and Paul Park, my Clarion West Week 1 instructor, and Connie Willis, who taught Week 4. I learned about writing and being a writer in the current publishing climate. It's scary, but when I step back and think about it, it's thrilling, too.

And I caught a cold.

But that's okay; it was certainly worth it.

One of my favorite moments of the con was when Margo Lanagan won the World Fantasy Award for best novel. (Along with Jeffrey Ford, which just rocked -- I adore Jeff Ford.)

Margo Lanagan's win was a personal thing for me, proving how powerful boundary busting YA can be, and that that's okay, and can be accepted and appreciated when it's done well, when there's a point to the transgressions. This is something I've struggled with for years, that I'm finally getting over. I've consistently censored myself and my stories because of fear, fear of what people would think, react, say. How it would affect my fiction writing career. How it would affect my life in Idaho, and my family's life.

Partially this was because I had written stories in the past that bothered people, stories that people took personal offense to. I hadn't intended to hurt anyone when I wrote what I did; I thought I was writing a story I was interested in writing.

It's a process, but I'm learning not to be afraid.

I think I'm going to write Margo Lanagan a letter. Do you all remember that? When I used to write people letters? (I think I once wrote something to the effect of, "Harlan Ellison sues people; I write people letters.") I need to start writing letters again. I used to be a decent correspondent; now I'm awful.

The best part of the whole experience, however, was that I felt I was back with my tribe, something I have missed since coming home from Clarion West.

Tonight I am chilled, but it's only because I'm sick. The writing is flooding across my screen, I am surrounded by people I love, and there are a plethora of wonderful books to be read.

It's not all perfect -- I'm still trying to work on getting a big person job, for example -- but it's really, really good. It's wonderful. And if everything was perfect, what else would there be to work for?
albionidaho: (Default)
I completed the write-a-thon. YAY!

Read more... )

interview

Feb. 10th, 2009 02:32 am
albionidaho: (Default)
I have a job interview tomorrow about 1:00 Pacific.  Wish me well, eh?
albionidaho: (Default)
Today I am 33, and am safely in California, in the Bay Area. I'm exhausted and so happy.  I feel great, and am thrilled to be moving forward with life.  There will certainly be bumps all along the way, but I'm ready to meet them head on. 

My friends have been wonderful to me, and I am grateful.
albionidaho: (Default)
if I'm no longer living in Idaho? ;)

I move to the Bay Area in two weeks. Wish me luck!

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