Somewhat inadvertently I spent the last few hours organizing myself. I have been reading the various news articles on internet privacy issues - mostly related to Google and Facebook - and I decided to take action. I really like the integration features of Google as they relate to my writing/social networking agendas, but there are those random times when I want to do things that don't relate and I would rather not have to worry about where that info is going to get lodged.
Internet privacy is an interesting thing - particularly as it relates to people's perception of privacy. I have mostly taken the position that once something is posted anywhere it is essentially public - I mean, even if it is shared with only specific people it still exists as an electronic record somewhere. There's a reason the spy burns the coded letter after reading it - as long as the physical (or virtual) record of the information exists it might be found and read by someone other than for whom it was intended. That being said, I don't flatter myself that anything I say or do online is of enough interest for someone nefarious to bother with it. My vices are very bland when you get right down to it. However, I understand that there are a lot of people who are (or have been) much more comfortable opening up to an online community with things that could hurt them if they got out. Just because I'm not worried personally, doesn't mean I don't understand why someone else might be.
Anyhow, in my quest for organization and privacy protection, I have moved all my "logged in" information and activities to Google Chrome and will keep Firefox for my personal activities that I am not interested in having Facebook, etc. track. In the meantime I have deleted and reorganized bookmarks, iGoogle tabs, and other links. I also switched to Facebook timeline. I actually like the layout of it, however I can understand that people who have a lot more information up there might be alarmed/overwhelmed at having to go back through and decide what should be shared with whom.
Having organized my virtual space, it's probably time to go finish putting away the laundry...
Oh, and then to writing which it what this is all supposed to support.
I have decided that I need to find a writing group that is interested in my kind of writing. The two main review groups I have are a very close group of friends and family and the somewhat random group that I have encountered through the Meetup website. While the first group likes the style I write in and is infinitely supportive, none of them are fiction writers who are seriously pursuing the improvement of the craft of writing fiction. While they are all avid readers, and that is a good thing, they don’t necessarily read and critique from the point of view of craftsmen.
On the other hand, the Meetup is a very mixed bag with some excellent writers mixed in with some neophytes. I have found all their perspectives to be helpful in different respects. The main problem I have with that group is that I don’t seem to be writing the kind of fantasy that they are interested in reading. When someone begins their critique with “I don’t like songs or poetry in my stories so I suggested you cut that out,” or “I don’t really get into that mythic, epic stuff...” it becomes difficult to decide how to take their critiques. Certainly, they make some very good points, but I feel like there as many critiques which are trying to change the way I write, as there are trying to take the way I write and make it better. If my only goal was to write things and get them published according to the taste of the moment, I would be writing different stuff entirely. But most of the reason that I am writing is to write the stories that appear in my head in the more epic, mythic, old-fashioned, poetic way that they appear there.
I am not bitter about this or trying to say that I have no intention of responding to the world’s response to my work. It’s simply that if you want a good critique for – say – your Italian cookbook, you have to ask other cooks as well as other lovers of Italian food. Comments from people who hate tomatoes and basil will not serve you very well, just as only asking those who frequent Italian restaurants, but don’t cook, won’t give you a good idea of the quality of your recipes.
I want to find other writers who are also, potentially, within the audience I believe I am aiming for in what I write. People who like what I write, and have the experience and skill to make suggestions to improve my writing. Additionally, I’d like to really be able to be invested in what they write and so do the same thing for them. Some of the work I have been critiquing is so far out of my interests or desire to read, that I really don’t feel like I can offer all that much to its authors – just as they don’t have all that much to offer to me.
I don’t know how to get this writing group, but, obviously, the starting place is to want it. I think the first step is to really define what I am looking for, so that prospective members will be drawn to the important elements. Like a crowd in an art gallery – I need to find the room that fits my work best so that I can look among those lingering in that room for companions.
After spending most of the week flailing around trying to come up with an idea for my next short story, I just managed to write 2000 words in two hours. I had the idea on Wednesday at work, let it marinate yesterday and it’s been bubbling out this morning. What’s it about? The Forest, young love, old love, summer time, an enchanted valley. I wasn’t consciously thinking of the Blackmore’s Night song “Ghost of a Rose,” when I scribbled the outline at work, but it is surprisingly appropriate. Since E was the one who gave me that song years ago, this one will be for you, my fellow Philomythus.
Inspired by Rachel Stark at Trak Changes my first post of the New Year is going to be a list of goals for 2012. However, I want to begin by briefly looking back over 2011.
Last year, I completed four short stories and got one of them to the point where I am submitting it to online and print markets. I held three launch parties for Fjallind, Eonia and Tav’uran, as well as working on the Idhuan religion. In April, I attended Norwescon and starting in September I began attending the North Seattle Science Fiction and Fantasy Meetup group. My fellow editors and I published the second issue of the Amber Grimoire in November. I am amazed and pleased by the amount I have accomplished last year and am excited for the coming year.
My writing goals for 2012 are as follows:
Write 4+ short stories
Edit 4+ short stories to the point where I am submitting them
Have 2+ short stories published, at least 1 in a qualifying market for SWFA
Hold 4 launch parties, get 2+ new guests at one or more of the parties
Publish The Amber Grimoire twice as was our original intent
Attend at least 2 fantasy/writing conventions
Improve my networking skills by:
Read 1+ good books on online/otherwise networking
Hand out business cards at conventions, etc.
Add people to my Facebook and Google+ circles
Find ways to promote my blog
I am excited about the coming year – I feel that it will be a good one.
What do you think? What are your goals for 2012?