Every six months or so, I assess what progress I’ve made with my writing and writing-related work. Sometimes it’s helpful, sometimes it’s depressing. My last one was in November 2012, after a year full of life/health issues, including two surgeries. My health this year looked like it’d be just fine up until a couple months ago when it began to challenge me again — all grist for the Patient memoir!
Perceval Novels: They have been on a back burner so far this year. However, I’ve decided to e-publish Perceval’s Secret, the first novel in the series, as soon as I can have it edited, formatted with cover art added, and anything else it’ll need to be sold at all available e-books retailers. Why my change of mind about self-publishing this novel? I want to get it out into the world for people to enjoy instead of it just sitting in my file cabinet. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll renew my membership in ITW for another year — money is tight.
Short Stories: The Negligee has made it to a front burner recently. While my power was out last weekend, an idea bubbled up about the relationship the main character has with her father. Problem pieces fell into place. I plan to rework the story and eventually publish it through Kindle Publishing. I’ve continued marketing The Light Chamber. Work continues on the sci fi story Light the Way.
Essays: I continue my monthly Word Power column in Minnesota Mensa’s Mensagenda. Otherwise, I’ve not been working on essays this year so far.
The Successful Patient: So far most of my writing energy has poured into this book. Structure has been a HUGE issue. Should it be chronological? Thematic? Free form? I’ve begun writing it several times and at about page 30 I realized that the direction I was going wasn’t comfortable. It felt totally wrong. My most recent idea is to write the book as a series of essays (my original idea) with each essay’s focus on one element of being a successful patient. Work continues and I’m writing this nonfiction book under my pen name, Gina Hunter.
Presentations/The Successful Patient: I gave a presentation in mid-May based on material from The Successful Patient to a packed room at Minnesota Mensa’s Regional Gathering in St. Paul. The audience contributed great questions, astute comments, and helpful additions to things a patient can do to insure good, clear communication between her and healthcare professionals. The Chairman of the Minnesota/Dakotas CCFA Chapter attended and I suggested to him afterward that I’d be very happy to do a similar presentation in breakout sessions at the annual IBD Education Conference that they put on each spring. Patient advocacy is an element of chronic illness management that has yet to be addressed at this conference. In addition, I’ll present again on this same subject in October at a local CCFA support group. I’m looking for other opportunities to do this presentation.
Foreword at The Loft in 2014: In April, I took two Saturday afternoon classes about memoir writing at The Loft in downtown Minneapolis. These two classes opened several doors in my mind and really helped my thinking about The Successful Patient. As a result, I’ve decided to apply this fall to participate in the Foreword program at The Loft in 2014. I’d like to work with a creative nonfiction mentor on my memoir. This is a two-year program, and for the first year, I’ve applied for a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to pay for it. This summer, I need to complete the writing sample that I’ll send with my application to The Loft.
Marketing: The e-publishing project is the only new initiative in this area.
The Eyes on Life Commentary Blog: It’s been about 18 months since I began this nonfiction blog that I write twice weekly, and I’ve been pleased with the steady build in audience. Popular posts looked at the Minnesota Orchestra labor dispute, and the disappearance of Benefiber from store shelves. This year, I’m making a slow transition from 100% commentary to 60% commentary and 40% healthcare subjects related to The Successful Patient. As with the memoir, I write this blog under the pen name Gina Hunter, and it can be found here.
The Anatomy of Perceval Blog: I continue to write here once a week about fiction, the Perceval novels, classical music, movies and book reviews, and anything else related to writing, especially fiction. Watch for updates here about the Perceval’s Secret e-publishing project.
Job Search: After a couple interviews for jobs in January, I decided to put this on hold again. I’ve been pursuing work opportunities online.
Reading: Once again, I’m alternating science fiction novels with everything else. Dropped my subscription to Zoetrope: All-Story to save money, and I didn’t like the dominance of art design over the writing. I do not understand why my pile of books doesn’t get shorter.
This year so far has been full and busy, and I’ve done my best to take advantage of opportunities as they arose. I would like the next two months to be focused on writing so that I can finish the Foreword application work sample and The Negligee. I plan to continue work on the e-publishing project also. Here’s to a productive summer!