Pumpkins have started to pop up everywhere. Leaves have begun to display color. The air is crisp… Well, our dog days of summer here in central Virginia arrived a bit late. We’ve been in the 80’s the past few days. Richmond hit 90 degrees a day or so ago. Eighties wouldn’t be so bad without humidity, but it’s the south. We have humidity.
Still, this is my favorite time of year. It’s as if I’ve been running all out up until this point, then I take a breath and wind down–as much as one can do that with Thanksgiving and Christmas looming. Something about the fall makes me begin to reflect on the previous part of the year. So, let’s have a look.
I entered a bunch of contests and made a bunch of submissions. I placed third in one contest, and all the submissions were rejections save one; but its notification date is March 2014 and could still be a rejection. (There will be twenty to twenty-five works in the collection, and the editor has already received more than 200 submissions; the odds aren’t great.) I’ve revised and rewritten a novel which a workshop instructor believes has definite promise for being picked up by an agent. I’ve edited and revised other manuscripts, participated in two weekly flash fiction events, and again amassed enough espionage short stories for another collection. I’ve been to ten writers conferences or workshops, participated in two on-line workshops, and taught one on-line workshop.
A busy writerly year, and I can’t even describe how fulfilling that is. As the go-to analyst/tech writer in my government job, I probably wrote a lot more than I do now on a daily basis, but the key difference is time. The deadlines I had in my job were rigid and often capricious, the whim of some congressional staffer with an overblown ego. Though the feedback was always good about a white paper or a report or a Q&A I did, I never felt as if that work were polished enough. I’d always come up with a better way of saying it. Now, thankfully, I have luxury of time to make certain what I write is the best it can be.
And I don’t take that for granted. I have too many writer friends with full-time jobs and families they juggle with their writing. I know how precious it is. I admire these writer friends so much for being dedicated enough to their writing that they make it a priority among all the other priorities they have. After all, that was I not that long ago, and I’m glad to have them in my writer life to keep me humble.
October is also a spooky month–it culminates in Hallowe’en, after all. So, it’s not surprising that today’s completely innocent-looking Friday Fictioneers photo prompt sent me into Stephen King-land. The fact I’m reading his sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep, may have something to do with my story, “White Noise,” as well. I’m going to see if I can’t make every Friday Fictioneers story this month have a little bit of horror going for it. Bwahahaha!
As usual, if you don’t see the link on the story title above, scroll to the top of the page, click on the Friday Fictioneers tab, then select the story from the drop-down list.