Surprise Mail

Yesterday brought a surprise Priority Mail, and I’m so far into my break that I racked my brain for a full minute to recall the sender: Tekno-Books, the company that’s packaging the anthology (as mentioned here). What a welcome jerk back to my best reality: Yes, I’m a fictionista! Awesome!

The package contained the galley proofs for my story, plus my author bio and the table of contents. Need to send corrections back by the 20th. I question my author bio now — I want to change it up completely. I’ll need to ask someone for advice.

Also, I noticed that my story comes in last. In publishing parlance, it “anchors” the anthology. I know from previous experience that publishers like to end their anthologies on a strong note, so I was pleased with myself.

However (and isn’t there always one of these?), I quickly talked myself out of feeling pleased because I wasn’t 100% sure all publishers use this strategy. In our culture coming in last is bad. Failure! And since I might be a tiny bit competitive…well…let’s just say I let that downer thought anchor itself for one minute too long.

Another “however”: My friend Liz, who also wrote a story for the anthology, sent me a woo-hoo message this morning, congratulating me on my final position in the anthology. Whew, okay then!

I find it strange that I sometimes need a wise voice from the outside to confirm what I already know below the surface of my doubts and worries. I’m not the only one like this, right? I hope?

(P.S. Now I’m thrilled to be in last position! Validation: I wrote a worthy story!)

Check in the Mail!

checkinmail.jpgLook what I received today! For the first time in my fictioneering life, I received dollars for my writing! I’m thrilled because this is a step in the right direction.

Alas, I suspect that by April 15th I’ll have handed off the money to our dear government…sigh…

But still! I’m smiley-faced today.

Addendum, 8-Apr-08: Taxes done, and the money I received is all mine, after all! Woo-hoo!

Idea Basket

I’m about 120 pages into my first draft, and this week I felt the need to regroup. So, I read, revised and cut what I could so far, wrote scene ideas down on index cards, and generally got a grip on where I am and what comes next.

ideabasket1.jpgAs I was reading and marking my pages, I got to thinking that I’m in the midst of my own creative process, and I don’t know where my ideas come from most of the time. The imagination is a beautiful thing.

However, that said, sometimes the old imagination needs a boost. That’s why I have an idea basket.

I bought a basket because I’m not organized enough to maintain an organizer. I jot tidbits that grab my interest onto the closest paper scraps (napkins, envelopes, and so on) and drop the scraps into the basket. Ta-da, instant filing system for the organizationally impaired.

Its presence is as reassuring as my favorite pillow, and it has come to my rescue once so far. Last summer I wrote a short story for a collection that will receive national attention when it’s eventually published. I thought my story was pretty damned good if I did say so myself. Only, it wasn’t.

Talk about feeling deflated and desperate. I had to start fresh with deadline looming. But what the hell was I supposed to write now? I’d blown my imaginative wad for the moment. Soooo, to the idea basket I turned.

In it, I re-discovered a gruesome little fact that I’d copied from a book a few years previously. It was perfect, and I knew it was perfect because my brain opened up again — synapses firing away. I felt them.

My basket is a keeper, but it’s for emergencies only. For the most part, regrouping as I did this week is enough to replenish my imagination-battery.