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When in doubt, volunteer
August 9th, 2009 by Christie

Just don’t volunteer too much at any given time. That tends to be my problem.

One of the cool things I was doing for a while was helping out with the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America move to their new website, which has since gone live and is so far getting a lot of positive comments from those who were familiar with the old one.

What was cool about this, for me, was that I got to be a part of the move even though I can’t be a member (being as yet unpublished.) I have learned a lot from the articles SFWA has made available over the years, most notably Myrtle the Manuscript, which I’ve mentioned here before.

What Myrtle did for me was demystify the editorial process. It took the sting (though not the disappointment) out of rejection. I am so grateful to have had that information, and I credit Tappan King, the author of that article (and once-editor of Twilight Zone Magazine,) with the fact that I did not give up.

In fact, I got so attached to Myrtle that I asked to be the one to move her, even though she wasn’t in the content that I was assigned. It was a weird sort of thrill for me to get to post her adventures on the new site.

Anyway, it felt great to get involved. I got to interact a bit with Nancy Fulda and Mary Robinette Kowal, who were both exceedingly kind and patient. I hope that I will get to meet them both in person at the World Fantasy Convention in October.

I also volunteered to narrate someone else’s story for a Podcast Which Shall Not Be Named Until I Finish the Damned Recording. That ended up being a much steeper learning curve than I anticipated, but the guy who runs the show has been cheerful, helpful, patient, and encouraging. More news as it happens.

And somewhere in there I’ve fit some writing. Not a lot, but enough to keep me from going crazy. So far I really like the short story I’m working on, and I have a fair amount of hope that the end result will be pretty close to what is in my head. I have scheduled a Writing Day Lock-Down to get it polished and ready for submission – it worked very well the last time I tried it. I ride along with my boyfriend for his commute to work, and am therefore without a car; I spend the day in a Starbucks with NO free wifi, and so I don’t have the internet as a distraction; I take my netbook, being both more portable and having less fun/distracting software on it than my laptop. It is amazing how effective it is at forcing me to focus on the task at hand.

With that, I’ll leave you with a very funny article on how writing a novel is like falling in love, (hat tip to Booklorn via her Twitter feed.)


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