And Then the Words Come

Over the last few weeks I’ve settled — somewhat haphazardly and not-at-all on purpose — on a new late-evening routine. I’ll pour myself a small martini or a finger or two of whiskey, retire to my home office, let Murphy d’Cat settle across my chest, then open Scrivener.

And then the words come.

In the last month, I’ve:

  • Continued to tweak the zero-draft version of Aiden’s Wager, my (winning) NaNoWriMo novel from 2014. I believe I’ve figured out the directionality of my first major rewrite. Less than half of the original is salvageable in current form — I’m stripping out the “torture porn” in toto and replacing it with new chapters from different characters’ points of view — but I have a strong pathway to advance that should result in more of a psychological draw for readers than a voyeuristic one.
  • Written my back-of-the-mag publisher’s column for The 3288 Review.
  • Submitted, under pseudonym, a long-form personal essay to a literary journal.
  • Submitted a short personal essay to a prominent mass-market magazine, in response to a special call for submissions about first loves.
  • Submitted a brief personal essay at the invitation of an anthology editor who’s working on a project about faith and adversity relative to various recent developments in the life of the Catholic Church.
  • Published several blog posts, both here and on the Caffeinated Press website.
  • Finalized a first-pass outline for a new non-fiction book, From Pen to Press: Bringing Your First Novel to Market. The outline includes a section-by-section synopsis of each chapter. The book, slated for 50k to 60k words, starts with writing motivation, pivots to the mechanics of prose, addresses the revision process, covers the chore of finding markets to pitch, outlines business/economic considerations, summarizes a publisher’s production cycle, dives into marketing and concludes with advice for sharpening the saw.

Four other writing-related projects are on my radar, too. I’m interested in doing the flash-fiction contest sponsored by the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters. Fourth Genre‘s contest and the Steinberg Essay Contest — both for long-form personal essays — look fun, and potentially lucrative. And the MiFiWriters group’s annual Division by Zero anthology — themed rEvolution this year — could help stretch my fiction-writing skills. (Plus I just like all the folks at MiFiWriters.)

Sometimes we writers get dry spells. But sometimes, we’re deluged. I’m fortunate right now to be scribbling away as a monsoon of words falls upon me.