Getting back on the writing horse

You may have noticed that there’s not much to take a “second Glantz” at around here lately. That’s because this has been me for the past month: trapped in my own head. (Cue The Cranberries: “In your head, in your head, zombie, zombie, zombie-e-e.”) 
Over the summer, I achieved a milestone and made my lifelong dream of becoming a paid, published author a reality (and I can die a happy girl). While it may not be the best thing I’ve ever written or have yet to write, I was – and am – so proud of myself. I wrote a kick-ass query with a good hook

What do you get when you mix a Jewish bride, a Presbyterian minister, and an agnostic groom? A little bit of drama, a whole lot of compromise, and a beautiful wedding.

and spent the time doing the research to find the perfect market for my piece (a big kudos goes to Marla Beck for helping me find the balance between the craft of writing and the business of it).
Looking back at what I posted on my Facebook page the day my article was released…

Cheryl Glantz Nail Excited that my first freelance article was bought and published. Learned a LOT from the process and am looking forward to trying again soon.

The wedding she’d never imagined was just as beautiful as the one she’d pictured.

…I’m a little embarrassed. I’m not ashamed by my excitement, and to say that I learned a lot is really an understatement. It’s that highlighted part, “looking forward to trying again soon.” I really was looking forward to it. I even created a dedicated website for posting clips (fun fact: I bought this domain in 2006 with the intention of launching a custom scrapbooking business, and no, I never did; side note: if any of you have suggestions for improving my site, I’m all ears). And then I got lost inside my own head. And in the Twitter streams and blogs of newly published authors. And in the overwhelming questions, “Where do I go from here?” and “Can I do it again?” I expected my bit of success to propel me into a chorus of “Defying Gravity” (okay, maybe I sang it once), but I let it paralyze me.

No more, I say! When my friend Sarabeth tweeted me about Angela Booth’s challenge to write for 100 days, from September 22 (happy birthday, Hubby!) to January 1, I knew that signing up for public accountability could be the kick-in-the-pants I need to get myself out of my head and onto the page. So here goes nothing!

Goals to end 2010:

1. Write. Every. Single. Day. Whether it’s 15 minutes or two hours, whether it’s for a project or only for myself – even if I have to hide in the bathroom to steal time during the holidays – I will write for 100 days straight without excuse.

2. Submit at least one article per month to 24/Savvy. I have become embarrassingly inconsistent in my contribution to this webzine, and I hope to fix that during this challenge.

3. Write and query at least one article. I may not get published again. I may not get paid again. But I’m going to try.

4. Apply to freelance writing jobs. The number of bookmarks I’ve created on my browser for the jobs I’m interested in is ridiculous. Have I applied to a single one? See above about paralyzing fear. It’s time to start making use of those bookmarks. I’m not going to respond to calls just to do so, but I’m going to take seriously the ones that truly interest me.

5. Blog at least once per week. Really, I’m hoping for more frequency than this, but with all the other goals I have, I need to make sure I don’t set myself up for failure. Blogging is something I really enjoy. It takes me out of my bubble and connects me to the outside world, and I need to learn to make more time for the things that make me happy.

6. Take my novel out of the drawer. *deep breath* This goal creates a certain amount of anxiety for me. I’m 35,400 words in, but it’s been three or four months *cringe* since I’ve spent any consistent quality time with my characters. I miss them. They’ve been screaming at me in my sleep to finish their story, but those pesky “Is it good enough?” type questions have been distracting me from my original goal, which was not to publish the novel but to write it. I still want to publish it. I want it bad. But I can’t even begin to try that next step until I get over myself and get re-lost in the story I want to tell.

7. While I need to re-immerse myself in the craft of writing, I can’t let myself become an island again. I’ve become part of a wonderful community of writers on Twitter and in the blogosphere, but I haven’t allowed myself to really participate as of late because it made me feel like a fraud, talking about writing without actually “living writerly.” I need to jump back in – without letting it consume all my writing time. Balance is such a pesky word, isn’t it? I haven’t decided how to achieve said balance yet, but I have a feeling it will probably involve setting aside a limited amount of time each day to catch up on what other writers are doing.

8. This last goal is going to be the hardest: share my writing with others. With the exception of my friend Leigh, I haven’t let anyone – not Hubby, not my mom – read my fiction, and even Leigh has only read parts (she showed me hers, so I was encouraged to show her mine). While I stand by the belief that you shouldn’t feel pressured to share your writing until you’re ready (or ever for that matter), I think it would be immensely helpful, and more than likely productive, if I was a little less protective of my writing (and my feelings). My Gram likes to remind me that “Rome wasn’t built overnight,” and you know, it wasn’t built by just one person either. If I can’t share my writing with the people who are most supportive in my life, then finished or not, the novel will never leave the drawer.

I can do this. I will do this.

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

~Jim Rohn (Thanks, Cheri!)

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7 thoughts on “Getting back on the writing horse

  1. Huh. I never knew that my birthday was 100 days from New Year's. Tuck that back in the trivia part of my brain. Glad to see you recommitted to writing, babe. I believe in you…

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  2. woot! i'm so excited to be sharing this writing journey with you, even though i'm completely on the other side of the spectrum than you lol.

    can't wait to share 🙂

    luv ya girlie!

    xoxo
    sarabeth

    Like

  3. Cheryl – being a former English major, and still loving to read… well it makes me excited for you, but even more, I'd love to help! If you ever want anything looked over from someone who will give you honest feedback, feel free to shoot it my way!

    Like

  4. You're inspiring me… 🙂 Perhaps I should dust off the ole pen and paper, too. I've been feeling a bit nostalgic for writing lately, but haven't felt “it” yet. Good goals…good thoughts…I'm glad I decided to touch my Google Reader widget tonight for the first time in months. 🙂
    Also, to comfort you…Cynthia Rylant says she does NOT write everyday. She, too, writes in spurts (like us, it seems). She says she writes when she has something to say, something to write, some story to tell…and that isn't always every single day. But when the time is right, she knows it. 🙂 I was happy to hear that. I suspect many writers are like you and I.
    Good luck! Miss you!

    Like

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