It has been a while since I have posted here! I have been busy in 2022 working on a novel that I started the previous spring. I finished the first draft this spring and have been studying revision methods and letting the work move around in my head. It’s about 78,000 words in 16 chapters. It took me about 65 different writing sessions. My goal was generally only 1000 words per weekend. I would work on notes for the most part during the week and then write early on Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes I would get two or three thousand in but I let myself be loose on word count goals. I rarely skipped a weekend. The other thing that helped was I have a ton of vacation time since I’m at the same job I’ve been for 25 years! So I would take an occasional PTO day or two pretty frequently and treat that like a weekend day and give myself the same 1000 word goal. My novel teacher from Iowa Writer Summer Fest, Gordon Mennenga told us once that get the first 100 pages in and you will know if you have a novel. I think that was pretty much true for me. The first 100 felt like a great milestone, and then I celebrated others like 200 and 300 and also things like 50k and then 60k and then 70k. I’m pretty happy with the first draft and my current revision approach is to outline and write notes on what I have. What is it? What could it be? I think it might take me another year to revise and I need to get myself a little better on weekly goals for that too. I’ve had a lot of different family things and work things which is good of course, and now as the fall comes, I want to get disciplined again and get it moving.
I had some publications of short work this year.
I wrote Untied in a couple ways over the last couple years, but really rewrote it during 2021 Bending Genres retreat in Wisconsin where Meg Tuite’s call to “Fuck form!” and Robert’s call to bend genres really helped me find a poetry to this piece that makes it one of my personal favorites.
I wrote Long Patience as a response to my friend April Bradley’s new project, Ruby a literary effort dedicated to writing and responding to Food. Writing this essay helped me work out a personal history of an eating disorder I grew up with.
I wrote this one with a really long title after a dream that woke me up laughing. Probably funnier for me, but ended up with a good riff that worked in flash.
Probably the most unexpected thing that has happened to me this year was working on an old premise I’ve had for a while (first chapter novel workshopped at Iowa City, summer of 2017?) during this years Bending Genre retreat in Wisconsin I found another example of reworking and throwing in more poetry than I might default to and basically rewrote the first chapter in a new way for me. It got us excited in the workshop and its possible I’m working on a new novel now while also revising the other new one. I’m not quite ready to commit and say that I am for sure, but I might be.
Here’s to five more months of the year to put a true stamp on 2022.