Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Writing Month Update

First, a little housekeeping: In spite of my good intentions, I haven't started responding to people who e-mailed writing goals. That may start tomorrow because I'll get a bunch of stuff off my plate today and can take some time to catch up. Really, those only matter at the end of the month when I check against your final progress report.

This is all on the honor system. If you tell me you met your goal, I'll believe you (and if you lie, you'll just burn in hell -- the special one where child molesters and people who talk in the theater go -- or else karma will work against you and you won't win the drawing). You don't have to send me anything other than an accounting of what you accomplished. I can't even read all my e-mail in a timely manner. I certainly can't read lots of writing stuff. So, I will not see what you wrote.

For additional motivation and tips, my friend Candace Havens (author of Charmed and Dangerous is doing an online "Fast Draft" workshop starting this week. It's all about how to write a first draft in two weeks. For info, go here. I thought about signing up for that myself, but my e-mail is already out of control, so I don't think I should add yet another e-mail list to my life.

In fact, I'm currently taking an online course on trauma medicine for writers -- not doing trauma medicine, but writing about it. No, this is not a hint about anything I have in the works in my series (unless I get inspired). I've just been frustrated by most of the medical resources available for writers. They all seem to be along the lines of "if this happens, the person should get to the hospital as soon as possible, where doctors will do such and such." Well, if you can get to the hospital right away, that takes all the fun out of it. What if you're stranded on a mountaintop and the only way down is being guarded by angry dragons? When I worked at the medical school, I'd sometimes go down to the library to look things up, but then those books were all about what to do in the hospital and really weren't about how the patient would progress if you didn't treat him (though, from what I heard about the crowds in the ER there, that might have been handy knowledge).

When I post this, I'm going to take one more pass at my proposal and then send it off to my agent. Mom liked it, and now it appears I'm obligated to write the rest of the book even if it doesn't sell because it's cruel to leave your mother in suspense. Cross your fingers, pray, light candles, sacrifice some chocolate, or do whatever you do to influence the powers that be so I will actually earn some money for writing this book (and so the rest of you will get to read it, too).

My schedule for this year is starting to get full. I'll be going to Capricon in Chicago next month. I may be speaking but don't have the final word on that. Most important is that I get to hang with my Chicago friends and see my brother. Lois McMaster Bujold is the guest of honor, so I'll be in shivering fangirl dork mode, I'm sure. I also got brave and signed up for a voice class at the community college. That means I'll be forced to leave the house twice a week, and being in a class setting may force me to get over my weird phobia about singing in front of people. It's a regular class that I'm taking on a non-credit basis, so it meets during the day. That probably means the students will all be either real students who plan to major in music or retirees, maybe some stay-at-home moms. The real students mean there will be some intimidation factor.

So, now, work, I guess, huh? I got a very slow start to the day, even though I went to bed reasonably early (for me) last night, and I'm still not feeling fully awake. I seem to have a very strong hibernation instinct. At this time of year, I could live curled up in bed with the electric blanket around me. Maybe I should take a walk while it's still warm and sunny (yes, Mom, I'll get to work).

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