Friday, July 13, 2012

When it Rains, it Pours

And, in this case, literally, as it's storming outside. 

I had lots of things to blog about this week, but I didn't get around to it.  There were a couple reasons for this.  First, because my plate is SO FULL with writing assignments lately and I was having a hard time meeting quotas for my "day job" assignments.  I came in with just over half of my goal for the week, which made me feel pretty shitty and also made me exceedingly nervous about my ability to pay my bills this month. 

I was also wallowing around in misery for part of the week.  It seemed like everywhere I looked, I was finding writers who were...not like me.  Writing different genres, for different age groups, being in a life position that I couldn't relate to.  It's really hard to feel good about yourself when everybody who should have something in common with you seems impossible to relate to.  Even when they're really super nice (and so many of them are so nice!), you can't help feeling excluded.

It felt a lot like being in graduate school again.  I ditched the MFA program for several reasons -- not least among them my massive amount of debt and inability to keep myself fed thanks to a high cost of living in Flagstaff -- but part of it was the feeling of isolation.  I was 21 when everyone around me was either 18 or 25.  The younger people (my coworkers) wanted me to buy them beer and talk about boys. The older people (my classmates) were all getting married, having babies, buying houses.  I didn't fit in anywhere.  Even when people were nice to me....what would we talk about?  What did I have in common with them? 


Anyway.  So I was feeling really down and grumpy all week. 

But then today, back-to-back, I got three bits of exciting news! 


First, I was one of the Top 20 winners chosen for the Writerly Rejects pitch contest!  I sent them a 5-sentence pitch for Tagestraum. Considering what a hard time I've had crafting a query letter, I was amazed that I even had a short pitch in me, much less one that could get a vote.  So, yay!  Now the lovely Claire Anderson-Wheeler (lit agent) will pick her favorite(s) from the list for requests.  So much excitement (and good luck to the other finalists).

Second, I was one of the 30 Finalists for the Christmas In July contest!!! (can you tell I'm a contest whore?) There were 350-something entries, which the judges painstakingly read every single one of in one day, which makes them awesome.  Anyway, Michelle Krys (who is awesome and you should follow her blog) will be sending me some feedback on my entry (the query letter + first 500 words of Tagestraum) and we'll beat it into shape in time for the 18th, when no fewer than ten amazing agents will be reading the entries and picking favorites to request.  Holy crap! 

As an aside about that, I've gotten so much awesome feedback on Tagestraum's opening.  I want to give a quick shout-out to all the Doggone Voice people, Monica of Love YA, and my new and awesome CP Gavin for giving some seriously-helpful line-edits. 

Anyway.  Third piece of news! 

I wrote an article on-spec for The Dollar Stretcher, which is this really great personal finance website & newsletter that's been around since the 90s and was one of the first places I turned to for living-on-a-budget advice when I was poor & starving during my MFA (you think I'm joking.  I'm totally not).  Anyway, they not only liked my article, they wanted to buy the full rights for it (I had submitted it just for the web) and pay me $50 for it.  :D My first-ever paid article submission with a byline.  SQUEE.

OH YEAH.  And hat reminds me of the OTHER bit of good news:  I got accepted into the Cracked.com Comedy Workshop. 

Which actually doesn't take much effort.  If you ever wanted a really awesome group of people to work for when you're just starting out in freelancing, go to Cracked.com.  They have the most elegant and interesting submissions process I've ever seen.  Essentially, you register for their forums and request access to their workshop.  The mods let you in, and there's a bunch of helpful information about how to write articles that will get accepted.  Then you write your pitch there on the forum, and people can read & critique and help you shape your pitch until it's ready to go.  Once it's finished, the editors review the pitches, and if they green-light it, they give you the assignment to finish the article.  Super straightforward, and the editors are a pleasure to work with.

Anyway, I've got some ideas brewing.  As soon as I get those ideas gelled into something resembling a coherent article, I'll be pitching to Cracked.  Because, I gotta say, as an unrepentant geek, writing for Cracked.com is sort of a bucket list item. 

So, yeah.  That's my explosion of good news for the day. 

My moral to you, kind reader:  If you're having a really shitty week, hang in there.  It might get suddenly and inexplicably better if you just wait it out a little.

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