Catching Up Is Hard To Do

ImageHonestly, I can never quite catch up when I take time off from technology. There’s just too much Twitter, too much Facebook, too much lovely stuff out there that keeps on going, even if I’m (mostly) unplugged. But I shall give a brief accounting for, and will zip around this week to make sure I haven’t missed anything like a Zombie Writer Apocalypse.

Firstly, the writer getaway was lovely and productive. And now you’re wondering just how productive and I will tell you that I got all the way to 33,000 words in the revision. I mean, this was a serious writing writer getaway. More than the word counts, however, was the conversation, the opportunity to bounce around plot ideas and character developments and story arcs. Think of your best critique group meeting ever, multiplied by ten (and throw in a couple adult beverages consumed on a rustic deck overlooking the Georgia mountains) and you’ll have an idea of this working writing vacation. 

But I also had the time to read start Twenty Master Plots (It’s a great read so far and I’d recommend it for those of you who are thinking, 20 plots? But there are only five basic plots–)and so while I was on the beach getaway (though not while I was actually visiting with Mom and Dad), I had time to think. And now I’m hacking away at those 33,000 words.

So it goes with revisions and getaways.

Thank you for your lovely votes over at Susanna Hill Leonard’s contest–my story placed and when I know what I’ve won, I’ll let you know. And maybe I’ll give that prize away. (I think it’s a how-to book)

And lastly, just a reminder to keep writing and keep submitting! Send in your stories for the Not Your Mother’s Book series. Those contract emails are going out all the time! And I received payment for a story I sold to The Red Squirrel Magazine (a children’s market in China), so I suppose now I can’t say, “Millions of Chinese people don’t care a whit about what Cathy C. Hall’s doing.”

Maybe a hundred Chinese kids are thinking even now, “Wonder if Cathy C. Hall’s gonna write another scathingly brilliant, not to mention funny, story?”

So it’s back to working and writing for me. Assuming, of course, that’s not a Zombie Writer pounding down my door.

Writer Training: Write, Edit, Submit

3children_at_TybeeTomorrow is my mom’s birthday so I’m zipping through business and packing up cupcakes and clothes and cold cream (That’s what Mom asked for–I didn’t know you could still buy cold cream) for a little visit. But I don’t think I’m going to get my submission for Not Your Mother’s Book on Being a Mom finished before I go.

You remember the Not Your Mother’s Book series, right? There are so many of these titles–on moms, cats, golf, RV’s–well, it’s just a smorgasbord of subjects is what it is. If you can’t find a subject to write about then you’re not looking.

And if you’re not writing to submit, then you’re not going anywhere. So how about you pick a title and write a story? Whip out a first draft while you’re sitting in the van, waiting for baseball practice to end. Pen a story instead of watching TV. Make an outline in your head while you’re washing your hair.

Then edit and polish and submit. Make the time to work on it, little by little, till you have a story that’s good to go. It’s important that you write to submit because you’ll write better, knowing that someone else will be reading your work. Not the someone elses in your critique group (though a critique group can be tougher than an editor!). Not your loving mate. Not your friends. Not even your mother.

Send out your story to an editor. Because it’s the little steps along the way that train you up as a writer. Sort of like a mom training up a kid in the way she hopes that kid will go.

My mom did a pretty good job, training me up. Maybe I’ll finish that story before I go, after all.