Updates on Writing and Other Things

As I examined today my list of projects for 2010, I realized that I needed to post an update here.  So, here’s what’s been going on lately:

Perceval and the Perceval Novels: I continue to write notes as ideas burst into my mind and try to shred up other ideas for projects I’m working on.  A couple months ago, it occurred to me that marketing the first novel in this series needed to be put on hold, at least until I have a chance to read it again and decide if it needs another rewrite/revision.  Something isn’t clicking with the agents and publishers that I’ve queried.  I am also seriously considering changing the first novel’s title to “Perceval’s Secret.”  Evan is never far away from my mind….

Essays:  PUBLICATION!!!  I published an essay in Many Voices in April.  For that publication, I continue to use a pen name: Phoenix H. or Phoenix Hunter.  I have two essays in the process of being written, and a third that I’m writing notes and collecting information for.

Short Stories:  Lights  received a rejection from Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine.  Shortly after I received it, I read an article in The Writer about theme and it was as if the magazine had bonked me on the head.  Of course!  I needed to do a rewrite in order to strengthen the theme that I had in mind.  The rewrite is done and fermenting.  I plan to submit the story to another magazine this month.  Another short story is still in development. 

Memoir:  I’ve begun writing the memoir essay Rare.  I continue to develop the book-length memoir and have decided that I need to just write the chapters and put them in order later.  Ideas for second and third book-length memoirs have not quite made it to the development stage.  They’re still floating around in my mind trying to find something to anchor them.

Marketing:  As I mentioned, I’m putting a hold on marketing Perceval until further notice.  It’s a tough call, but I would rather the novel be the best I can make it, and I want to figure out what’s not clicking with agents and publishers (no, they have not given me any clues).  I will continue to submit my essays and short stories for publication.  My goal for this year is to be paid for my writing, so I need to submit to paying markets.

To Freelance or Not to Freelance?  As I’ve continued the job search, this question has come up several times.  Information websites have tried to recruit me, but their pay is less than stellar for the effort that would be required to research and write the articles well.  My guiding thought has been that I’d rather not write for someone else during the day and exhaust my creativity there when I need it for my own writing at home.  Freelancing is a tough job, too — I’ve done it in the past — and I’m not interested in burning myself out which is what I nearly did before.  So, I’ve been considering but passing on the freelance suggestions.

Nonfiction Book Collaboration: Last January I was approached by a friend to co-author a book with her in her area of expertise.  She approached the project (and me) in a business-like manner and demonstrated that she’d thought about more than just the writing of the book.  I don’t know where this project might lead, and we’re not scheduled to even begin contract talks until summer, but I’m sufficiently intrigued to keep it on my projects list. 

As I’ve continued my search for a second fulltime job, I’ve noticed something interesting, however frustrating.  Although I’ve been a self-employed writer for the last nine years, prospective employers do not accept it as recent employment.  This illuminates the societal attitude towards writers and writing: it’s not a job, it’s a calling and for most people, a hobby.  I’ve been totally committed to writing for a long time, setting goals for myself, sometimes not achieving them but learning a great deal anyway.  The amount of work involved is, in my mind, the same as if I were writing for someone else, i.e. if I were a journalist, in corporate communications, or writing speeches for politicians.  And I have skills, as a result, that can be highly useful for those prospective employers…..


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