—written by Carolyn
In 2007, my writing “career” hit high and low points.
My only article published was one on a Holocaust survivor, Bob Mendler, which appeared in the Westmoreland County (PA) Historical Society magazine in April.
Meanwhile, I was offered two writing jobs “out of the blue,” which is very good for a writer’s ego—and I admit, my ego blossomed. One job was with a company in Illinois, which assigned me the task of “promoting” a town in California that had few redeeming qualities. Since I couldn’t fly to California I longed to know someone who had visited this town. To my surprise, I received an E-mail from my friend, Fran. She said her husband “laughed” when he heard about my assignment. They knew that community well, having worked there for a period of time. Their experience confirmed my feeling that I should cut my losses and back off the job, which I did.
A second job came my way, with a quality company, creating ad and sales fliers. It was intriguing and challenged me, but my mind was on my novel and a historical journal article, so decided I was too extended and backed off from that, too. I really agonized over letting these jobs go, but concluded that if I were younger and just starting out these opportunities would have been plum.
Through these two job offers I began to view myself differently as a writer—they affirmed my writing ability, since they sought me out (I hadn’t known the jobs existed!) and showed me that I can go in different writing directions if I so choose.
The journal article deadline was this month, and I worked to complete it by the deadline. The article is written, but the stress of perfecting the citations was pretty intense. I’m competing with Harvard level writers, and I don’t want to ruin my competitive edge, which is solid due to the topic (a profile of a French female independent American land speculator), the time era (1790s), and the discovery of a half a dozen as yet published data pieces. Thus, I unhappily decided to delay its submission until next December. The delay is beneficial, however, in that it provides time for me to clarify information regarding land speculation in Downeast Maine.
My historic romance novel begins with several characters discussing their eyewitness accounts of the Fall of the Bastille. Research of actual eyewitness accounts led me to a phrase, Night of Orcas. Research showed that Orcas is an alternative name for Satan, who heads the evil side of Hades. The Italian word Orcas became ogre in French. I researched ogre and discovered the word was introduced to France in the late 1600s through a new writing genre, the Fairy Tale, created by Charles Perrault, a French writer http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/ http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/who rewrote many common fairy tales, including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstock and Beauty and the Beast. My daughter’s favorite fairy tale is Cinderella, so I gathered various versions of the tale through the ages, discovered them, including from the Chinese tale to the Fractured and Politically Correct Fairy Tales, and printed them for her for Christmas. If the above seems wandering, this is what happens when researching just one word for an article! (For information on fairy tales, check out this site: http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/)
I continued leading the Beanery Writers Group, which produced both the Beanery Online Literary Magazine and a 40-page booklet of their writings. The online publication host changed ownership in August, necessitating a search for a new host site. On Nov. 15 the new site, www.beanerywriters.wordpress.com (enter through the Google search engine), began. The community newsletter I began this year experienced the same problems, and moved to www.laurelmountainboro.wordpress.com (through Google). The two sites link to Flickr (see “Pages” in upper right of sites to locate) for photo capability. This computer work computer-challenged me to learn many computer skills, which I will hopefully strengthen!
The ultimate computer stress came at Thanksgiving, when, while my laptop was in the electronics hospital, our main computer broke down. We were able purchase a computer with the XP-program, but are dealing its 2007 update.
Ahh, my writing continues following a brief hiatus…as a New Year dawns. My pledge for 2008 is to complete the journal article and the novel, discipline myself to keep a journal, continue the writers group, improve on the Beanery Online Literary Magazine, and assist the group in producing another booklet.
If you have writing goals for 2008, share them with the Beanery writers by commenting on this article, or E-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Type “writing goals” in the subject line.
Information on ordering the 40-page booklet, BEANERY WRITERS, Volume 1, 2007, is available by E-mailing Carolyn at email@example.com. Type “booklet order” in the subject line.
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