Using the Seneca quote from Janet's post on Friday seems a good way to lead off the discussion of "where do I go from here?"
The Prairie Chicks blog was a new beginning for most of us. It certainly was for me, but it is close to its end as an active blog. Now I am looking for some way to continue to experience the interaction with other writers that has become so important to me. One way to do this will be to continue to read, comment, and sometimes merely lurk on the several blogs to which I have become addicted. The other large consideration is, "where am I going with my writing?" As if you haven't heard me blathering enough about that over the last year and a half, I will try to make some sense of these two issues.
I hope to have some kind of platform developed in the near future. I believe I will use Blogger to set up some pages, including a blog of my own that has been under wraps for more than a year. I just haven't had the time to put to it. Now that Prairie Chicks is going dormant, I hope to finish working on what I have titled: Rambles Down a Prairie Road. I will notify my Chick and SRW colleagues when it goes live. Stay tuned! I am less sure about Facebook and Twitter. Needless to say, if I do get involved, there will be some kind of "coming out party" to celebrate my plunge into those particular forms of social media.
I've tried to focus almost exclusively on fiction this past year (with only moderate success). I attempted to finish the first draft of my Laura/Gordon, Fiona/Duncan novel, and almost made it to the end. Nevertheless, I am currently working on the first major rewrite, and progress is slow. I deviated somewhat from that objective when I made a brief foray into scriptwriting in April. I put the first few chapters of my novel into script form, which did give it a boost. It helped me immensely with the first few scenes, which I now doubt will be the actual beginning of my novel. At least I have written those scenes, wherever they end up in the finished version.
I will not describe here any of the distractions which interfered with my fiction writing. I talked enough about them in various posts throughout the summer. Suffice to say, most were of my own making. I will mention only a couple of deliberate deviations from fiction: a workshop on magazine writing in August, and a course in creative non-fiction which I am currently auditing. Yes, I am consciously taking writing time from my novel to do the assignments for that course. But I do believe that all writing is ultimately helpful, even stepping out of my preferred genre.
Having a deadline seems to help me accomplish more, so I will miss that aspect of writing a regular post for Prairie Chicks. What will be a good substitute? Besides my own blog, and, in the short term, the non-fiction course assignments, I am seriously considering registering for NaNoWriMo again this year. Last November was the most productive writing month I have ever experienced. I have a half-formed idea for a brand new story to put in that hopper. It may turn out to be the western romance I have always wanted to write!
In two days, I leave for the Surrey International Writers' Conference in British Columbia. Although the manuscript for my novel is not polished or even completely rewritten, I will be pitching it to an editor while I'm there. If interest is shown, I know exactly what I will be doing in the weeks following that conference! If I fail to garner any kind of offer, then I will still be seriously working on whipping it into shape, in preparation for queries and pitches later on.
I have registered for some pre-conference classes, including one on the architecture of fiction, another on developing an approach to pitches and queries, and finally, an in-depth look at rewriting a manuscript (no matter how many drafts it has already gone through). All three should help me to get back to that desired focus on fiction.
I also need to put aside some time soon to complete and polish the short story I am writing for an anthology that the SRW hopes to publish next year.
In the more distant future, I will tackle the messy first draft of the novel I wrote in NaNoWriMo 2009, to try to turn it into some kind of coherent form. It is the story of two young women from the Canadian prairies who spend a year studying at a British university in the 1950's and how both their lives are changed. Although I met the requirements of National Novel Writing Month (writing slightly more than 50,000 words in one month), I will need to flesh it out with another 20,000 words or more.
My sign-off from the Prairie Chicks does not contain any startling announcements, but I see nothing but opportunities in my future. I have only to grab them and make something out of them. If I do that, and I am able to keep distractions at bay, I am hopeful that one day I will have books to promote using the various forms of social media described earlier in this post. I would like to think that, as all the Chicks continue to write, we will have many future successes to celebrate together somewhere in this real and/or cyber-world.
Thanks for all the memories, and happy writing, one and all!