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Week 4 ended on a bit of a downer. I’d been doing well, writing a bit each day but the streak came to an end. I drafted two short stories and three flash fiction. I started a fourth but it wasn’t ready to be told. Instead of forcing it, I skipped a day. Somewhere along the way, I caught a nice little cold/flu, was diagnosed with some vitamin deficiencies (insert scurvy joke here, matey) and started a few new prescribed drugs.

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From time to time I talk about things of an extremely personal nature. Talking is cathartic and healthier than the alternative. Herein I ramble about depression, anxiety, and other foibles.

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Another kind of successful week — 3,237 new words, bringing the years total to 10,404. I’m still struggling with revisions. I got critiques back on two of my stories this week. The crits were brutally honest, the way I like them, and resonated with things I’d been trying to figure out myself. One thing I’m uncovering is that I don’t read critically enough. Having a third party point out an issue is great.

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Well no, because I’m not ready to talk about that just yet. Hershel posted his list of stuff he can’t live without the other day and it got me to thinking. I’ve learned a lot about myself and materialism over the past two years. I found that I don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy. Not that I’m a monk or anything but I’ve come to understand the “less is more” mentality.

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A new short story and a flash fiction drafted, and a second short story underway. Over 7,500 new words this year, with my average rising to 509 words/day. The Honorable Mention nod and a personal rejection also came in. The year is off to a good start. I’m still struggling with revisions. I failed my weekly goals this week, getting almost no editing done nor my outline for the Dollhouse essay.

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I felt a little blue this week, grousing over revisions and my sometimes fragile ego. I distracted myself by patiently refreshing the Writers of the Future blog and checking the mail every few minutes, hoping to see some word of the 2009 Q4 results. Well, the list of Honorable Mentions was released before they had a chance to update the blog. “Out of the thousands of stories that get submitted to the contest, a small percentage make it this far,” Wentworth continued.

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When I kicked off the year writing 250 new words a day, I had a plan. A story. An outline, man. I finished that story yesterday. Plus an impromptu flash fiction piece. Today? I have no plan. I have a theme (thank you, upcoming anthology). I have the kernel of a plot and main character. Tonight, I write without my safety net. I’m curious to see what this change in process produces.

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It started with an announcement by Realms of Fantasy (RoF) magazine. A special themed issue. “Girl writers only.” A slight faux pas that was eventually correctly revised and apologized for. In the interim, some people were vocal about their discern that RoF would again make such a slip given the last gender-related fail. Catherine Valente, a well-respected writer, commented on the issue. She noted her take on the problem, and why she would rather see the issue of gender balance addressed in a smart way, not an appease-the-greasy-wheel way.

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When I started out following Booklife and documenting my writing progress, I suspected the first few weeks would either be really easy or really hard. Establishing a habit takes times and it’s easy to make excuses to skip writing. We all hear or use them — I’m too busy, too much day job work, kids/family, etc. Then there’s the Resolutionists, who make a bunch of goals at the beginning of the year and waver after a few weeks.

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Writing It’s really too early to tell how things are going to work out long-term but so far I feel good. Not overwhelmed by keeping my spreadsheets updated or gut checking my short-term goals. I’m right where I want to be. I hope I can say the same thing a week and a month from now. I’m writing a little bit every day. I’ve surpassed my 250 words/day goal.

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