Today is the first Insecure Writer’s Support Group meeting of 2020. The first Wednesday of each month, we share struggles, triumphs, quandaries, and fears. This month’s question is:
What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just “know” suddenly you wanted to write?
I’ve been writing since age four, as long as I’ve known how to write. It’s just something I’ve always done, the way other people have a calling to medicine, art, or religious life. Thus, it’s hard for me to relate to people who only began writing in response to certain series surrounded by massive amounts of hype.
My 2020 writing goals:
1. Finally finish A Dream Deferred: Lyuba and Ivan at University already! I’d love to be done by April Camp NaNo.
2. Do a first round of edits on the above. Shortly before NaNo, I outlined the timelines and events of the chapters set around the beginning of academic years, and was relieved I won’t need to do nearly as much frogging as I feared. It’s more a matter of moving some events into other chapters vs. radically rewriting and restructuring everything. Again, I take full blame for not doing my research and assuming U.S. schools always began in early September.
3. Finish second-edition edits on Journey Through a Dark Forest for the print editions of all four volumes. If I continue shaving about 3,000 words off each volume (mostly motivated by needing to tighten up unsightly gaps created by increasing the inside margins), it’ll shrink down to under 850K. It’s already shrunk from 861K to 855K.
4. Resume radical rewriting and restructuring of my Atlantic City books, which I left off in 2015 with the book formerly known as The Very Last. Other projects took precedent, and I was frustrated by finding such a dearth of detailed info on the 1940 World’s Fair in Lisbon and not being in the mood to write about the 1939–40 World’s Fair all over again so soon after featuring it in Dark Forest.
5. One final edit of the books formerly known as The Very First and The Very Next and publish them. I can’t wait to finally reveal the new and improved titles! It’d also be a dream come true if I won the Sydney Taylor Book Award for TVF.
6. Outline and begin writing From a Nightmare to a Dream: Out of Stalin’s Shadow, my fifth Russian historical.
7. Review and approve proof of The Twelfth Time for hardcover edition. Which cover do you prefer?
2020 blogging goals:
1. Finish my GWTW series. I have two more installments planned.
2. Resume my hiatused “A primer on ________________ names” series. I have 25 more topics planned. When this series is complete, I’ll pull all these posts together as a book with expanded commentaries and names lists.
3. More writing guides. Topics include breeching and long pants, wraparound narrative segments, Jewish denominations, menarche, dysmenorrhea, Victorian postmortem photos, and how much of your real life to incorporate into fiction.
4. Review Pete Townshend’s remaining solo albums in May, in honor of his 75th birthday.
5. Book reviews including The Wind Done Gone, The Member of the Wedding, The Winds of War, and My Sergei.
6. Film reviews including Little Caesar, the 1939 remake of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, All Quiet on the Western Front, the Marx Brothers’ Go West, and director Oscar Michaeux’s Within Our Gates.
7. Album reviews including The Who by Numbers, Live at Leeds, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and Plastic Ono Band.
8. A month devoted to pet topics. E.g., fave dog breeds, fave lizard species, dog breeds in my books, pets I’d love to own.
1. Stay put in my current weight range of 147–53, with an eye towards a 140–45 range. I was close to 220 pounds at the start of June 2017, and am very proud I’ve lost about 70 pounds. My goal was 150, but getting down a bit lower would be a fantastic bonus.
2. Get out of this place I’ve unhappily been stuck in since June 2017. I haven’t abandoned hope of going home to Pittsburgh and resuming graduate school. It might not be my time yet to have a human baby, but I look forward to getting some furry and scaly babies.