The last week of February, I had one of those nice “published four times in one week” moments last week. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s nice when it does. If you haven’t caught them up, I’ve got the links all lined up for you! Continue reading
Nice writerly things that have happened this week
On Sunday, we had a second ladies-only Open Mic night at my synagogue for women here in L.A. Despite it being Oscar Night, the evening of a big community bar mitzvah, and the height of cold season, we got a decent-sized crowd.
The participants were awesome. The youngest was in her twenties, I think, and the oldest was 68! The audience was just as diverse. More people I didn’t know already came this time, so I think that word-of-mouth is getting around. Continue reading
Yesterday, I had a kid home sick.
Actually, yesterday, the day before, AND today, I had a kid home sick.
The first day, I got writing done. This was pretty amazing because I usually have problems writing when someone is in the house with me. Just the sound of breathing or a page turning in a magazine is enough to snap me out of FLOW and distract me. I can usually manage to do some editing with people around, but not writing. The fact that I actually wrote a first draft with a little cutie around on Tuesday blew me away.
Yesterday, though, it wasn’t happening. Continue reading
Clean your file cabinets for Passover: Yet another piece of wacky advice from yours truly
So, in the Klempner household, preparations for Pesach — Passover — are in full swing. We’re vacuuming and scrubbing the house, the car, and the van like crazy. I’m muttering things like, “Why do I let them eat in carpool?” and “How do you get cookie crumbs in sock drawers?” under my breath.
One of my favorite parts of Pesach cleaning is finding things you’ve lost: the missing token from a game you’ve been wanting to play on rainy days, spare change, receipts for purchases you’ve been meaning to return, missing socks.
I’m not suggesting you pull out the 409 and start scrubbing down your file cabinets (although, if a toddler has access to its drawers, it might be a good idea). I’m suggesting that you flip through some old stories — ones you discarded incomplete, or complete but not yet ready for prime time viewing — and revisit them.
Thank the folks who’ve rejected you–a radical suggestion for writers this Thanksgiving
Last year’s Thanksgiving post deserves a second helping. And if you need more reasons to thank G-d for your rejection letters, check out a story by Nina Badzin here.
Thanksgiving is upon us here in the U.S., and this is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon gratitude, whether you celebrate the holiday or not. I’m a big fan of Rabbi Zelig Pliskin and also of Rabbi Shalom Arush, and I’m going to combine their approaches for this writing exercise appropriate to the Thanksgiving season and year-round. This exercise is useful whether you’re Jewish or not–please don’t get turned off to it just because it was inspired by a couple of rabbis.
Rejection is just about the hardest thing to cope with when you decide you’re going to become a writer, but it’s something that you need to learn to accept graciously. When that rejection letter first comes, you are often overwhelmed by feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration. You might lash out, calling the editors idiots or saying that the publisher doesn’t know what good writing is. You…
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Considering my last year of literary pursuit
Since there are just two weeks left of the Jewish year of 5773, I’ve been looking back at the last year and evaluating my life on every level: spiritual, physical, and even professional. And one goal still stands out at unfulfilled:
I STILL HAVEN’T PUBLISHED BOOK #2.
This issue depressed me a couple weeks ago, as I sat in front of my journal on Rosh Chodesh Elul (exactly one month before Rosh Hashanah), scribbling about the past year. I’d submitted a few picture books and two novels to multiple publishers and had zilch to show for it.
But then I counted how many times I appeared in print in the last year for pay: over two dozen times (bli ayin hara).
And then, I counted how many words I’d written. Essentially, it was the length of a novel. Wow.
I realized at that point how many more readers — potentially thousands more people — read my work in magazines this year than in my entire previous professional life.
That’s when I felt blessed.
Okay, I still have a major unfulfilled goal. It will be top of my professional goals again for this 5774. But if success is measured in progress, I made a lot of progress last year. And I could only do it with G-d’s help, which makes the year feel very sweet indeed.
How are you feeling about your last year, professionally? What is your top goal for 5774?