How to optimize your Goodreads “To-Read” list

A few weeks back, I posted about how we select the books we want to read now, next and never.

On a related theme, I just spent an hour culling unwanted books from my Goodreads “To-Read” list. 

Because what good is a “To-Read” list if you don’t really want to read the books on it?

After my very well-intentioned husband took the aforementioned list to the library and returned with many of the books it contained, I discovered few were readable in the land of Mrs. Rebecca Klempner. Three offended my (admittedly rather sensitive) sensibilities so much that I immediately took them out to our van and left them there to be returned to the library. Ugh.

How do such books get on my “To-Read” list in the first place? Continue reading

I am not a blogger

I am not a blogger.

There, I said it.

I came to this realization yesterday, after the funny (as in “weird,” not in “haha”) response I had to PopChassid’s marvelous list of 7 bloggers he thinks deserve more attention. As I read about all the fabulous bloggers (Several I had heard of, and a couple I had not…my favorite post by one of the unfamiliar ones was Ruchi Koval’s interview with her yetzer hara. Just so funny and true!), I felt more and more (embarrassing to admit) jealous.

Now, I’ve blogged here before about how important it is not to envy other writers. I’m a big believer in being farginen those around me. But I sensed something unusual about the variety of jealousy I was experiencing. Continue reading

I stepped up to the challenge…but did I succeed?

Well.

A couple months ago, I challenged writers to try something new: a new genre, new POV, new publication, anything that would help us to stretch our wings.

Since I threw down the gauntlet, I had to participate in this challenge, right? So I thought about a couple possible places to sub a feature, a genre I hadn’t published in at least two years. Then I brainstormed a few feature ideas, and I sent our queries based on them.

Guess what.

I got nada.

I know that my ultimate success isn’t in my hands, so I feel like I did my share and can take no responsibility for the rest. And I plan to try for features and other new things, too. In fact, I heard about a poetry contest that sounds so interesting, I’m thinking of attempting serious poetry for the first time in many years.

So, is this a success–because I did try something new–or is this a failure–because I didn’t get responses to my queries?

What do you think? (Please post comments below.)

rocket failure

Never made it off the launch pad.

Why you should do what you love to do, even if you’re no expert (and never will be)

I am no Picasso.

I am no Michelangelo or deVinci.

And I’m never going to be.

My girlfriend at MoiMeMoi posted last week about doing things we love even when we are less than expert at them. Her words struck a chord, because recently, I’ve started drawing again after years and years of avoiding it.

For my entire grade school career, I was considered “artsy.” I drew and painted better than my peers, mostly out of a smidgen of natural talent, but also because I applied myself in art classes and loved to read art books. It was a hobby that I hoped might turn into something more.

Then I hit 12th grade and had the sudden realization that I was good, but I wasn’t great and might very well never be great. That smidgen of talent was just a smidgen. So I threw my hands up in the air and gave up drawing and painting and pottery–the whole shebang.

Occasionally, I’d startle my husband when I had to draw something to show my kids how, or my students would respond to a diagram I’d drawn with admiration. At such moments, I felt like my past was leaking out. My family knew about my “artistic” past, and even suggested I illustrate my books, but I’ve always felt like I’m not good enough to do it and never will be.

Maybe that’s true. However, lately, I’ve gone back to drawing. At times, I sketch still lives, other times, I draw my kids while they sleep, or from a photo (because they are rarely still). I’ve also drawn a couple cartoons. I mourn years of no practice–my skills could have grown, but they didn’t. Sometimes, I get very frustrated. But it’s fun. It’s a hobby, and it’ll probably stay that way.

G-d-willing, I’ll share some more about my renewed hobby soon, with the help of my handy-dandy scanner.

What skills and hobbies have you neglected over the years?  Would you ever go back to them?

Tragedy! My lonely old maid of a story has been rejected once again.

I’m sure I’ve blogged about rejection numerous times at this point, but since I continue to collect rejection letters, why not continue blogging about them?

boy with letter

Mom! I think you just got another rejection letter!

Over the summer, I wrote a story that my husband adored. He likes almost all my stories, but this one he really, really liked. He particularly enjoyed the nasty anti-hero at the center of the story and the unhappy ending.

On the other hand, I didn’t like the way I’d originally executed my idea, so I set it aside for a couple months. Eventually, I brushed it off and polished it up a bit before sharing it with my writing group. They provided extensive feedback, and I acted on it, hoping that the new, much improved story would dazzle the editors. Continue reading

Give yourself credit for the effort, not your success

Soooo…to make long story short, I did not spend my morning writing or editing today. Nope, no 1000 words for me today. Instead, I attended a workshop by Esther Simon, a well-known professional organizer. It ended up being a little bit of a wake up call. My revelation came in the middle of a discussion about how the way you spend your time should reflect your goals and values.

Am I really doing what I need to do to sell my next book? Continue reading