Yes, I am back to writing. I wrote about 3000 words this week, which isn’t a heck of a lot, but when I did write, the sessions were very productive. I’ve been bouncing in and out of my latest novel Labeled now since January 2, and though it doesn’t feel like I’ve gotten any traction, I am over 13,000 words total. When I do sit down, the words come with amazing ease.
I had two interruptions to my writing schedule this week. On Thursday, I attended the monthly PNWA Meeting in Bellevue, WA, where I heard a very energetic and inspiring presentation by Bill Kenower, the Editor-in-Chief of Author Magazine. Part of Bill’s presentation included some wonderful video clips, including this one:
I joined the PNWA in 2009 to enter their writing contest. I didn’t win. But I got some extremely helpful comments on the entry response, and that was my first true feedback from someone in the ‘publishing world’. I went to PNWA Conference in 2009, and though I had my soul nearly crushed by an agent who wouldn’t even let me finish my pitch (My book was too long and I didn’t even know I was writing YA Fiction), I learned a lot there, and met some really great people. That agent turned out to be right, of course, and because of that feedback, I really did realize that there is more to writing than just putting words on the page. It is a craft that needs to be studied.
As a result of the 2009 PNWA Conference experience, I went back in 2010 with a better manuscript and a more professional attitude. I also did a little volunteering, helping out with one of the service areas, and moderating one of the sessions. I think I got far more out of the conference because I volunteered, both personally and professionally, and I’m going to be even more heavily involved in the conference again this year.
Before the meeting on Thursday, I met with the fantastically dedicated and funny Anne Belen of the PNWA and fellow author Tracey Shearer (who was also a volunteer at the conference last year and got her agent partially because she was a volunteer… there are perks to volunteering you know.) We went over some of the conference session plans and what we would be coordinating this year. I realized, while on my way home that night, that one of the reasons why I love writing so much, is that because of my involvement with the PNWA, writing is not a solitary lifestyle. I’ve gained good friends and participate in writer’s groups and volunteer work through the PNWA. I highly recommend that every writer try to find a writer’s association and put their full effort into it. You will get back far more than you put in.
I said earlier that two things interrupted my writing this week. The second was head trauma. As in “head, meet sidewalk” kind of trauma. I was running to catch my train on Tuesday night, came around a corner too fast, lost my footing and face-planted into the concrete. And yes, there was blood (from the teeth stuck through my lip) and there was pain (I thought I had broken either my jaw or my chin… neither one was actually broken, just bruised). I didn’t even notice all the points of pain in my body until the next day when the scrape on my knee and stiffness in my neck really kicked in. Running on wet cement is a stupid thing to do. Riding the train home, holding my mashed-up chin and bleeding lip was no fun. A trip to the urgent care center and a Tetanus shot made the evening even less enjoyable. Luckily, there were no stitches involved. Just an embarrassing swollen lip and a scraped and bruised chin. Of course, as a writer, I will make sure that the experience finds its way into my writing. If one of my heroes happens to find themselves falling onto cement, if they do get up, it won’t be without a banged chin and a bloody lip, and they won’t be running a marathon the next day either.