Around the Horn and An Update

Good Morning! (or Afternoon, or Evening, or Night)

Today, I’d like to say something about blog writing contests, alert you to upcoming conventions, and provide a brief update of my writing efforts.

Blog Contests

I don’t usually do these contest things. Seems…plebeian or something. (Actually, I’m just scared poopless to enter.) I will, however, occasionally enter blog contests because I know, from experience over on SFFWorld.com, how hard it is to attract writers’ attention. To help my blog friends, I’ll enter their contest.

That seems odd, doesn’t it? I mean, are not writers dying to get their stuff read? Aren’t they falling over each other trying to get their stuff out to readers?

Well, that’s the key right there, isn’t it? Readers. Unless that contest will 1) be read by a boatload of people, or 2) be read by influential editors, most writers will just pass on by. Or, they might be like me and just be terribly embarrassed about presenting their work to random internet-yahoos.

Regardless of why most writers pass up smaller, less known (or unknown) writing contests, there is an argument to enter these contests. Here are some you might want to ponder:

  • Practice. There’s nothing like a real deadline to make you go through all the steps of drafting a story, editing it, reading it a thousand times in a thousand different ways to get those typos, and then presenting your short masterpiece to a critical, though small, audience.
  • Learn to get over it. Nothing like seeing your baby shredded to pieces in public. Seriously, it will rip your heart out, but it will also make you stronger. And, more importantly, if you live through it, you’ll realize that you can move on and your next piece will be (infinitely) better. It will, I promise you.
  • Exposure. Yeah, your friend’s blog and that obscure ezine might only get a few hits a day, but those are hits from potential readers that don’t know you. Fresh meat! Always make sure to include your blog address in any bio-blurb submitted and/or ensure that there’s a trackback to your blog. You have to grow that audience one reader at a time.
  • Free! Best of all, they are free. Most contests, even all of these writer-friendly contests, require a fee to enter. Sometimes it is hard to justify money going out to writing contests. But with blog-contests, you don’t have to worry about that.

So, where are these blog writing contests? Well, I don’t actually know of any going on just now… I just missed Literature and Libations‘ first blog contest and here’s a unique one that will expose all you genre-loving writing/readers to a new audience.

Conventions

Conventions have gotten a lot of well-deserved flack in the past year. From inadequate responses to sexual harassment complaints to fan burnout of wannabe writers, it seems that conventions are unpopular at the moment. Where ever your position on conventions stand, here’s a website that keeps track of them all: UpcomingCon.com. You’re bound to find one there that suits your genre, sensibilities, and budget.

Update

We’ve made it past the half way mark of the year, and I thought it would be a good idea to review my goals. I actually wrote them out, but I don’t think I blogged about them. At least, I can’t find it so you all can pretend to not remember reading it.

Here’s what I wrote down for my 2013 goals:

  1. Write Dragon’s Jewel
  2. Lose Weight
  3. Run Faster
  4. Publish Another Anthology

Hmmm, that’s not what I’ve done…

Revamped goals to reflect reality:

  1. Write several short stories, submit to magazines or self-publish
  2. Don’t gain weight
  3. Keep running
  4. Publish another anthology

That’s better.

I haven’t abandoned my third novel attempt. Rather, I’ve put it off until next year. This year, I wanted to tackle the short story form to hone my skills at writing ‘in character’. I’ve managed to write one story, titled Sky (and available on Smashwords right now! for free!) that reflects my current ability. I think it is okay. I’ve also written another short about a princess and a dragon that I rather like. It is very close to a “submittable” stage. I plan on shopping it around to all the usual genre magazines. Once it gets enough rejections, I’ll self-publish and move on to the next story (already writing the first draft on that one).

I’ve managed to keep my weight from ballooning past (mumble, mumble) pounds. No, I’m not losing weight, but at least I’m not gaining.

During a training run with my running group, I pulled a calf muscle. After that unfortunate event, my running schedule got all wonky. I’m only just now able to get back to my previous schedule. It will be some time before I can get back up to the 10+ miles I had achieved. I will tread lightly.

I’m happy to announce that the second anthology for SFFWorld.com is moving along!

One last announcement, I lost my job. Like many across this nation, I will soon join the ranks of the unemployed. I know I’ll be in good company and I look forward to change. Don’t worry, I won’t be abandoning this blog. As a matter of fact, I’ll probably blog more often.

Until next time, write to win.

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9 thoughts on “Around the Horn and An Update

  1. My heartfelt sympathy on the job loss – it knocked me for a loop when it happened to me in March, and I’m still climbing back to my feet. And starting to watch the calendar with dread … but that’s my problem. YOU will find something terrific very soon!

    1. You will find something, too. Just got to keep trying. And keep our hopes up.

      And if not, well, we’ll just have to make lemonade, won’t we? 🙂

  2. Sorry to hear about the job. Hope you land on your feet. Writing and drawing has been a challenge for me lately with my blog suffering the most. I do have to thank you for tossing me a reader the other day though.

    1. Thanks, Robert. I’m sure I’ll land on something!

      Seriously, I’m not too worried (yet). Ask me again in six months, then we’ll see how zen I can be (not).

      Challenges can be good. They take you places that will move you forward – hopefully. Good luck.

    1. Okay, I’ll post an update on that soon. I ride my bike as well, but only to work and back. Sadly, I have become a bike commuter in the worse way. I can’t seem to muster the enthusiasm to ride my bike on weekends or after work. But, since 1987, I’ve done my part to lessen my carbon footprint. 🙂

      1. I’m just doing it in reverse. I cycled for years, then moved over to running (continuing to commute by bike) about 10 years ago. But, after 10 years of running, I’m beginning to get injuries, too. It helps heaps to run with the Vibram five-finger shoe-glove things, though. I think I’ll get another 10 years out of my knees now that I’m running “barefoot”.

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