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Adventures of a Wayward Desk

Ideally my desk could travel the world and send snaps of itself with beautiful views. Say, where is the writer action figure with desk accessory anyway?

In the meantime, in the real world–if that’s where I am–I’ve got a stack of stories and novels with nothing to do but be eviscerated. This month of May, I’m still writing a story a day. And then what happens?

Well, I’m going to sit here at my desk and write query letters and send out submissions. What is a good challenge? I can’t seem to do anything without someone labeling a month to do it in. 30 queries in 30 days?

Do you have a goal for submissions? And if you send things out, do you have a system for keeping track of everything? What works, because throwing myself at fate’s mercy doesn’t seem to be panning out.

Oh. And the unpleasant realization that nothing is ready to be sent out. So. Instead of queries perhaps an editing marathon. Not, as some suggested, Write Your A** Off Day, but Edit Your Fingers Down to Nubs Day. Hmmm. Edit Until You Go Blind Day! No? Edit to the Bone Night? Oh, I see what is wrong. Day! What was I thinking? 24 mere hours to edit. Jeez. How about–Editing Is a Lifetime Commitment. And no, I don’t have an icon for that.

8 thoughts on “Adventures of a Wayward Desk

  1. Writer Action Hero – ROFL Yeah!! Where was Barbie with her big desk and typewriter??! I never wanted to be a stewardess!

    Don’t throw yourself at Fate’s mercy – Fate is merciless. Have a plan, doesn’t matter what kind as long as it’s a plan, and go with that. 🙂

    • I find throwing myself at anything is unwise (unless I’m wearing a helmet and padding). My plan is to tread softly and carry a finished manuscript.

  2. You’re on your way to learning more about short stories than you knew in April, which is a considerable accomplishment. Writing short stories and, of course, reading them, are the two best ways to produce material that is you and not imitations of someone else. Have you read any Tobias Wolff? William Saroyan? Louise Erdrich? Deborah Eisenberg? Antonya Nelson? Jayne Ann Phillips? Bobbie Ann Mason?

  3. I love the eviscerating part. That’s fun. Putting it all back together when it’s finished? Not so much. Which of course is where I am.

    Okay, about tracking queries: I think there’s a QueryTracker utility (web site? program? something) which will permit this. Alternatively, Spacejock Software makes a dedicated desktop tool for this purpose. And of course you can sign up with Duotrope and AgentFinder or something like that.

    Or, if you’d rather, how about making a nice, simple spreadsheet in Excel or MS Works? Mac must have something equivalent if you’re a Mac person, and I know OpenOffice has one in its MS Office equivalency sort of way.

    I’m going to submit as soon as I have something to submit. Until then I guess I’m gunning for short stories. But HEY! I’m a working pro, right? Right?

  4. That really is your workspace, isn’t it? Cool.

    Like Falc, I thought the writerly action figure would be a hoot. (Hmm. Maybe you should set Rowena a challenge???)

    Maybe a writerly INaction figure, even better. Not as a comment on “sitting around all day,” because we’ve all got busy lives away from the computer/notepad — more as a comment along the lines of “So what actions have you taken recently to boost your own writing and/or writer’s spirit?”

    A long time ago, I read a description of how habits and long-term memories are formed. Don’t remember the specifics, but it had something to do with mental pathways — synapses — being worn down, like grooves or channels or frequently-walked trails in the brain. Every time you repeated the action or recited (even to yourself) the details of the memory, you were making it even easier to take the same route the next time.

    I think you’re doing something like that. Every one of your month-long project’s stories is different from the others, so you’re not repeating the narrative details… You’re rehearsing the process, the method, the manner in which you write. You’re wearing down the pathways between the Idea Factory in your head and the Packaging and Shipping department… Maybe it won’t be the Fairy Tale Asylum — though I think it could be — but some project is going to ignite your mind. And when it does, you’ll have all the well-worn paths laid down for you.

    But to address the editing/revising question, uh, well, okay: maybe you’ll need to employ someone else’s skills, someone who’s worn down those grooves in their head instead of the creative ones. Cross that bridge when (etc.). I really think you’ll be okay.

    • Yes, it really is a slice of my workspace. Clutter is my friend.

      I’ve learned a lot about the brain (thanks to Radio Lab and a few books), but I don’t know how much my layman neuroscience has helped me figure my own brain out. Let’s hope I’ve got some decent pathways forming in there.

      On to editing! Oh. And writing. And making art… housework… parenting… and I think there is a husband around here somewhere…

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