Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Applications still being accepted for Taos Toolbox 2013

Do you love science fiction and fantasy?

Do you want to take your writing to the next level?

Do you have a speculative, novel-length story in need of critiquing?

Then consider applying for Taos Toolbox 2013. The workshop is a master class in science fiction and fantasy writing, taught by two luminaries in the field, Walter Jon Williams and Nancy Kress. This year’s guest lecturer is Melinda Snodgrass.

I attended the 2012 workshop (read more here and here). I found it to be a fantastic opportunity to hone my skills and form valuable relationships with my SF/F peers. Plus, two weeks in the mountains of New Mexico, with people who not only understand the writing life, but live it, was an amazing experience.

If you are at all interested, I encourage you to apply. A writing sample is required, but it doesn’t have to be what you plan to workshop come summer. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

To learn more about the class of 2012, check out fellow toolboxer CatherineSchaff-Stump’s series of interviews (myself included). You'll be able to see what brought us to the workshop and the different trajectories the writing life can take.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Shifting Priorities

How is it March already?

What started out as a one-week break from the blog turned into two. And the only reason I’ve been remiss is because I’ve been slammed lately.

My critiquing responsibilities skyrocketed since the fall when I joined a new writing group. We meet monthly, and the week before, each member submits anywhere between 30 to 100 pages of their WIPs. Then those pages need to be read and responded to in time for the meeting. Needless to say, when that week rolls around each month, critiquing has to be the first priority.

My own writing often has to be put on hold, and that means my blog as well. I’m also a member of another writing group that meets weekly, so I sometimes have to be creative with how I divvy up my time.

This month another variable was added to the equation—my editorial pass on the collaborative project I wrote about a few weeks ago. 70k that needed extensive line and developmental edits. Hence the radio silence on the blog.

Now, I wouldn’t trade joining the new writing group or working on the project for anything. But sometimes something has to give, and more often than not, that’s this blog.

I’ve been blogging now for three years. When I started, conventional wisdom was that you needed to do social media all the time. Now, slowly but surely, people are starting to back away from that.

If you’re a totally new, unpublished writer who is focused on fiction, memoir, poetry, or any type of narrative-driven work, forget you ever heard the word platform. I think it’s causing more damage than good. It’s causing writers to do things that they dislike (even hate), and that are unnatural for them at an early stage of their careers. They’re confused, for good reason, and platform building grows into a raging distraction from the work at hand—the writing.
Do I regret blogging? Absolutely not. I enjoy it and I’ve enjoyed the connections I’ve made because of blogging. But that doesn’t mean I always enjoy the time and energy it takes to maintain one.

Especially when it comes up against my own writing time and professional responsibilities.

So that’s where I’m at. If I’m not here, I’m writing. Which is how it should be.
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