Tag Archive | feedback

My Essay is Being Considered at Creative Nonfiction!

CNFindexThis morning, I made some oatmeal and some jasmine tea, and played around on the internet some. Then I got an email from Creative Nonfiction, an awesome magazine that comes out 4 times a year and often features a theme for the issue. The theme I submitted to? “MIstakes.”

At first it looked like the typical email. Thank you for submitting your work to us. We received over 800 submissions, you get the point. I only have one piece of writing that’s still out there, waiting for a response, and when I saw this email and read the first few lines, I thought, here it is, another email rejection letter. I almost expected it. The piece I submitted to this particular contest was experimental, with an unusual structure. And I hadn’t had a ton of time to write it.

But then I kept reading. And the email said that about 10% of the original submissions for the contest were still being considered, and mine was among them!

OMG! WOW! Wait, what?!

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Orcas Island Writers Festival

A post from September 2008.

The first annual Orcas Island Writers Festival ended a few days ago. It was awesome. I’m already looking forward to the next one.

oiwfindexI’m so glad I went, too. I almost didn’t. I haven’t really written much in awhile, and have felt like work takes over my life. But I had put in for the time off back in April or something, so I said what the hell and signed up. I thought if nothing else, at least I’d have a few days away. The festival was held at Moran State Park which is a good drive from my place, so I stayed overnight in one of the cabins during the festival.

The festival blew my expectations out of the water! The instructors were EXCELLENT! A lot of them teach at Vermont College of Fine Arts which has a low-residency MFA writing program. In the mornings, we had small workshop groups. I chose the non-fiction track, and so each morning, our small group gathered to very thoroughly discuss our work. Each of us had to submit a ten-page sample of our writing before the festival, so we spent considerable time each morning, working with a few people’s work each day. It was great. I forgot how great it is, not only to get feedback on your own work, but to work as a group on others’ stories. You learn so much. I felt so engaged, like my inner artist was engaged in a way it hasn’t been in so long. I was exercising my writing muscles. It was great even to go over some of the basics of story arc and point of view. I didn’t realize I was so hungry for this sort of thing. But oh was I ever! It fed my soul, and my soul has been a bit starving as of late.

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Musings on Artistic Integrity

Another one from July 2008. Still importing the old posts into this newer bloggy blog.

largeThis morning, I read this quote on writer friend Linda’s blog:

“You practice an art to make your soul grow, not to make money or to become famous. And this would include singing in the shower or dancing to the radio or also drawing a caricature of your best friend, or whatever—all this makes your soul grow. And you meet a person who’s done that, whether successfully or not, and you sense a larger soul.” —Vonnegut

Linda and I have been discussing the importance of artistic integrity in recent emails, as we both go through the process of pursuing publication for our book manuscripts. So this quote, about how the deeper purpose is to make your soul grow, just absolutely hit the spot.

I think that writers, possibly more than other types of artists, are confronted with a lot of other people’s opinions before, during and after working on any piece of writing. Critique groups, workshops, classes, readers (as in those who read first drafts and offer commentary), feedback from contests, agents and editors making editorial suggestions, and so on. It seems endless.

And a lot of the time, this is good. You get a different perspective, are shown things you might be blind to, gain insight and new, sometimes ingenious ideas.

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Floored by Rejections (in a Good Writerly Way)

pnwarejectionsindex

Here’s another old post from my old blog. Still importing, and lots more posts from the vault still to come.

I take it as a distinctly good sign that the rejections I receive as a writer are getting more and more flattering. It’s just got to be good.

A few months ago I entered three things into the Pacific Northwest Writers Association (PNWA) contest. I didn’t place in any of the three categories, but did receive two critiques on each piece, which offered some suggestions and things to think about, as well as some positive feedback.

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Unbidden Praise

IMG_9093…is so awesome becomes it comes so unexpectedly.

Today I was walking through town on my way to get groceries. A friend who was in town to get mail saw me and we walked through the Farmer’s Market to catch up quickly. She went over to the San Juan County Fair yesterday, on the “big island” and ran into our old writing teacher, and a man who once came over to talk to our class. This was over three years ago, during our last class in Spring ’04. He gave a talk on self-publishing and then (apparently, I barely remember this) stayed to listen to us read our work. I’ve never seen him since.

So my friend ran into him yesterday at the fair, and told me that he said to her, “Oh I remember your class. There was this young, tall, blond girl. She was such a fabulous writer.”

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Upcoming Ideas and Opportunities

1273766494_93223615_1-Pictures-of--Creative-Writing-Business-Letters-School-Projects-Editing-1273766494In the last few weeks, a whole bunch of writing-related opportunites have come up.

The first one happened a little over two weeks ago. A woman in my writing group hired me to work on her book. She has a lot of material she’s written over the last few years and needs help organizing it, seeing where there’s overlap, seeing where there’s empty spaces, and getting it into some sort of order. I’ve finished the first read-through of everything she has, and am about to start taking inventory and putting things in order. I have to do that to see where the overlap and empty spaces are, as there’s a huge amount of material. It’s going to be a huge long-term project but I’m really excited about it and enjoying the work.

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