Writing Update Spring 2017

It’s been quite a while since I have had anything to report about my writing. There was an outburst of poetic creativity in October/November, followed by a more regular one hour a day minimum writing commitment for about 6 weeks in January/February. Then work, life, rejections and low mood got in the way and writing anything other than reviews or the occasional doggerel verse (aka poetry which is not worth submitting) became too much of an ask.

However, I firmly hope and believe that things are looking up now. I’ve found myself an accountability partner and we share writing ideas, progress, goals and rants on a daily or weekly basis. She is based in California and writes screenplays, but the time and genre difference works in our favour. Plus, we have known each other nearly all our lives, so we can be brutally honest with each other. We were at university together (she studied Mandarin, I studied Japanese) and our lives have moved, oddly enough, on parallel tracks ever since.

California beach, a picture sent by my friend.

So here are some concrete achievements I can mention:

  1. Geneva Writers’ Group literary journal Offshoots 14 will publish my poem To Love and to Cherish (Sept 2017)
  2. Alexa, What Is One Plus One? is featured on Poetry Breakfast today 24 April, 2017
  3. A Mother’s Advice will appear in The Dying Dahlia Review, 2 May, 2017
  4. Two of my poems will appear in a dVerse Poets anthology. Although I’ve had to cut back on my involvement in that poetry community over the past year or so, I have learnt so much from its dedicated, inventive, talented and generous members.
  5. My review of Katie Kitamura’s A Separation has appeared in Shiny New Books, which is one of my favourite go-to sites for reviews of a broad range of books.
  6. I wrote a feature on crime fiction from the Celtic fringe which have a link to ancient myths and legends for Crime Fiction Lover.
  7. I’m quite proud of writing some blog posts which go beyond poetry and book reviews, require quite a lot of thought and editing (even if they don’t always translate into high number of views, but you should know by now that it’s not millions of views that I am chasing): on the differences between the French and Anglo-Saxon attitudes towards creative writing courses (the very topic which was then coincidentally discussed a few days later in Ploughshares), a meditation on how to cope with being in limbo or purgatory, celebrating my 1000th blog post and what Max Weber and Emile Durkheim would have thought about our age of oversharing.

So here is an entirely gratuitous celebration gif with one of my current footballing favourites, Antoine Griezmann (because his diminutive size and cute little face reminds me of my younger son).

Finally, my new resolution is to return to my first WIP. The second WIP had ground to a standstill when life started imitating art (all except the murders, one hopes) and it became too painful to carry on. The first novel has the first draft fully written and is temporarily entitled Beyond the Woods (a translation of Trans-Sylvania, which is where most of the action takes place – NOT a vampire novel, I hasten to add). So all (all?!?) I need to do is edit.

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35 thoughts on “Writing Update Spring 2017”

  1. It’s lovely to read your list of achievements MarinaSofia, brilliant! Wishing you most well, and looking forward to reading more ‘achievements’ posts. I always enjoy your posts popping up in my reader, as they guarantee a diversity of delights, from thoughtful reflections to chew on and muse with, beautifully crafted poetry with something to say as well as a good way of saying it, interesting reviews of tempting books, or the amuse bouche of Fridays

    I’m sure your peer support partnering will be a joy and a let’s break into a spirited forward motion horse, and that returning to the WIP yields good fruit

    1. Thank you, it’s so kind of you to say so. I always feel my blog is a bit unfocussed and meandering (much like my magpie mind), but I don’t want to turn it into something slick and professional. And I think we often forget to celebrate our achievements, because we focus so much on what we haven’t achieved yet…

      1. Your last sentence is bang-on. I do believe those of us who have some kind of ‘I want to do …this…better, not satisfied with what we do, tendency, suffer from the sting in the tail of staring at the perdeived flaws we have, and only seeing those, so it is very good to force ourselves to celebrate achievements

        As far as blogs are concerned – it is, surely, the diversity of them that is the joy, for readers. I love the fact that there is no ‘should’ and that bloggers explore things differently. I would HATE it if they were all the same. As it is, I can go dip dip dipping into a plethora of different treasure chests, forever.

    1. Yes, I’ve tried to find a local writing group, but it’s not easy to organise times, meetings and interests, so I think one to one (even virtually) works better at the moment.

    1. I’ve been trying hard to find a writing group locally, and although there is one, I cannot always go there, there are sometimes too many at the feedback sessions, so it helps to have this additional one to one focus. It’s more of a kick-your-butt type of relationship rather than feedback, for the time being, but it works!

  2. I am so happy to read this long list of accomplishments. I have always enjoyed when you show up at dVerse. Your writing is above excellent. I always enjoy your blog as well although I do not always comment. You make me feel rather ordinary eith all you do. Congratulations!

    1. Toni, I always am in awe of you and all that you write and study, especially with so many emotional and practical demands on your time. And you are always welcome, with or without comments!

  3. I am so happy for you, Marina Sofia, that you’re returning to your writing with some focus and plans. And I am absolutely delighted that your work is getting some notice and being published in some places. There’s nothing quite like that feeling, is there? It’s wonderful! I wish you well as you keep tapping your creativity.

    1. Ah, the proportion of rejections to acceptances is still very skewed, but that’s all right. Someone asked me why I keep track of all my rejections, that I shouldn’t count them, but it makes the victory all the sweeter when it does come.

    1. Well, I know others have been going through much worse than me and are still producing sterling work. I get far too easily discouraged, but am determined to do better. Eternal optimist about my writing!

  4. Congrats on this list of success! I’d love to read a Transsylvanian novel one day. It’s great that you found an accountability partner, I know that it really does help!

    1. Well, I also have you and Michelle and the other L’Atelier writers to check in with too… It would be nice to have someone locally, but you can’t have it all, right?

  5. Great list of achievements – well done! And really encouraging for others too – well, me specifically: you’ve included such a range of writing progress and achievements. Your references to those blog posts that took time and effort, thought and editing, struck a chord: I love writing my own posts but there’s a lot of thought and editing involved! Those of yours that you mention, Marina – I remember every one of them. Even if I may not have commented on them, they hit home. Good luck with editing the WIP. Hopefully we’ll hear about it being sent out into the world very soon!

    1. Yes, it can sometimes be frustrating when the blog posts you have dedicated most thought and time to pass almost unperceived, while the short, effortless, fun ones have great viewing rates (even though I don’t really judge by number of views). I wish I could be as observant of nature as you are – I just love your posts and find they soothe me tremendously.

  6. Just keeping up with your blogposts would seem to be pretty much of an achievement! You’ve given me a good idea to follow up: the writing partner. Very very interesting….

    1. To be honest, I probably spend too much time on my own and other people’s blogs: it’s an excellent way of procrastinating or feeling that I am writing, but not getting on with the WIP. But yes, I heartily recommend an accountability partner, it really spurs you on.

    1. Thank you, my dear, I should learn from you to focus a bit more on the real writing work instead of using my energies everywhere else… Hope your writing is going well, by the way!

  7. Well done, that’s a healthy list of achievements and brilliant that you have a writing partner to keep each other motivated. I’m feeling its time to get back to the WIP also, I have feedback from a developmental edit and need to commit to re-immersing in the world I created, terrifying thought, but so want to be doing it. I really admire your perseverance.

  8. Well, I’ll let you off with the second book so long as you get a move on with the first one! 😉 Congrats on all the poetry stuff, though – and on finding someone to mutually support!

  9. You’ve got LOTS out or coming out and I’m delighted to see you’re writing for Shiny. Yay! How great to find a partner to write alongside (however virtually!). I find nothing helps me more than a really good beta reader. It’s incredibly hard to get anything done with a young family, though, so I’m very impressed by all you’ve managed to achieve.

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