Pitch Madness

At the beginning of the month, I entered a contest called Pitch Madness, organized by the lovely Brenda Drake. Writers sent in a 35-word pitch, and the first 250 lines of their manuscript. This year, there were something like 520+ entries, and slush readers went through to choose the top 60 as finalists. Tomorrow, these finalists will have their entries posted on host blogs where participating agents will stop by and “bid” against each other to see pages.

I’m going to be honest. I thought I didn’t have a chance. I love my little book, but it’s a little weird. I have two POVs, and the one who opens the book isn’t the cheeriest person on the planet. And 520 entries is a lot. That meant only about 11% of the entries would final.

Still, when they announced the finalists one by one last night on Twitter, I was on the edge of my seat. And then my title popped up: The Madmen’s City. Much excitement commenced.

So, tomorrow my excerpt and pitch will go up on Team Library’s blog, and I’m both nervous and excited that tons of random people on the internet as well as some wonderful agents are going to be reading my work. Eep. But no matter what happens in the agent round, I’m so incredibly happy that my pitch got chosen to final. Fingers crossed.

2014 Goals

Yeah, I realize I’m a few weeks behind on this, but better late than never, right? And at least I’m not doing this in March. My overall goal/resolution/whatever-you-want-to-call-it is to try my hardest to make this year the best year it can be. 2013 was a nice, solid year. Good things happened. I started data collection for my thesis, I visited my family and went to NYC. But I also felt a little bit in limbo. My fiction writing struggled, and I didn’t complete a new project. I took up running and promptly injured myself the day before my very first 10k race.

Writing Goals

Things I can control:

1. Write regularly. I say this all the time, but writing is just like exercise. If I do it regularly, every day (even if I only manage 100 words), it’s so easy to keep at it the next day and the next and the next. But if I step away from it for a few days, it’s so hard to get my head back into it.

2. Finish, revise and submit the manuscript I’m currently working on.

3. Focus on craft. Even though I struggled this past year, I learned a lot more about craft. I see the flaws in my past work, and I’m working hard to improve. Keep at this and don’t let it slide.

4. Finish writing and revising the manuscript mentioned above as the absolute best book that I can write, something I can be proud of and something I totally love, even if it doesn’t sell. Write with the door closed, so to speak.

Things I can’t control:

1. Sell a book.

Other Life goals

1. Stick to my running training plan.

2. Run a 10k race and don’t walk a step of it.

3. Finish the first draft of my thesis.

4. Present my research at a conference.

5. Travel somewhere new.

First Organized Run

Because I don’t have enough on my plate (*cue crazy laughter*), I’ve gone and signed up for my very first organized run, the Aberystwyth Charity 10k. I have never done something like this before, and I’m not sure if it’s a brilliant idea or an insane one (maybe both?). Now, I know people do stuff like this all the time, and marathon runners are doing more than 4 times the distance, so 10k (a little over 6 miles) isn’t that massive of an undertaking…in theory.

But, you know, you’ve got to start somewhere.

Since this is a charity race, I’ve decided to do this in hopes of raising some money for the British Heart Foundation, a wonderful organization that undertakes important research into heart conditions, in memory of my grandmother.

It’s a big goal (for me), and I’ve got about 6 weeks to go. Bring on December!

Fresh (school) year, fresh start

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – The Great Gatsby

Here in Wales, the university school year starts fairly late, and it was only a couple weeks ago that I arrived back for the academic year and moved into my student accommodation. Since I’ve been in education in one form or another almost my entire life, a new school year always feels like the start of something new, much more so than New Years Day.

So, on that note, I decided to start my blog over, all fresh and shiny and new. I’d had a complicated, expensive website hosting plan for several years, but I’m not doing much other than posting blog updates here and there, so I decided to keep my domain and move to this simple WordPress blog. It’s all I really need.

And as with every “new year” there comes some resolutions, or goals. Here are mine:

1. Write Every Day

This is for fiction, specifically, because I’ve got plenty of academic writing to keep me busy forever. It doesn’t have to be a massive amount, just get something down every day. 100 words is better than zero.

2. Treat my PhD like a full-time job

This is important and something I’ve already started doing. I have no more traditional classes to attend. I don’t have a “schedule” at all. It’s just me and my thesis, stumbling around trying to make progress. In order to avoid the pitfalls of just staying in my pajamas in my room all day, I’ve made a goal to go into my department’s PhD office Monday through Friday and sit at my desk during regular working hours.

3. Exercise at least three times a week

Again, something I was doing already (until recently). It’s something I need to make a conscious effort to maintain.

4. Travel

I want to see the entire world, and while I’m over here, I want to see more of this part of it. I already have a trip planned to London next week for data collection, and hopefully Dublin in November, and possibly Scotland. Next year, I’m hoping to finally, finally, finally go to Paris. Maybe Rome.

5. Make the most of every day

This is a really general goal, but it’s probably the most important. What I want more than to specifically write every day and exercise at least three times a week is to look back in a year on the twelve months that have passed and know that I lived life to the fullest.