Cheers to the My 500 Words Group!
We did it! It’s the last day of January, and I have been a part of something I don’t want to end. Jeff Goins and Christine Royse Niles, you are awesome people. All the rest of the people in this group are awesome people, too.
We live where we can’t see any other houses, and we feed deer under the oak and ash trees in the front yard every afternoon – though they sometimes stop by at other times, too. Our farm is six miles from the nearest town, Fouke, which has about 800 residents. On up the road, about a forty minute drive for us, is Texarkana, Arkansas/Texas, with a population of about 60,000. To the south there’s the Shreveport/Bossier City metroplex with about 300,000 people.
As you can see, I’m pretty well isolated as a writer, except for the people I make contact with online. Over the past year I’ve “met” some neat folks online: Janie Sullivan at the Center for Writing Excellence; Linda Yezak, a wonderful author from Nacogdoches, TX; C. Hope Clark, author of the Carolina Slade mysteries, and many others.
I was able to go to Eureka Springs, Arkansas (4-5 hour drive) in October to attend the Ozark Creative Writers Conference, where I met some excellent writers, editors, publishers, and agents. Yes, it was overflowing with talent. Sessions were fantastic, with faculty inspiring and challenging us to continue to improve our craft. Guest speakers entertained and enlightened us. On Saturday night I found myself rubbing elbows at dinner with Jim Pearson, a literary agent who shared many things he’s learned in more than twenty years working with New York publishers.
For me, the year 2013 was a year of wonder, as I leapt with both feet into my writing career: entering contests, creating a website, beginning work on my World War II novel I’ve been planning for twenty years or so, going on a blog tour! November brought a new challenge, as I joined NaNoWriMo for the first time. At the end of the month I had 53,000 words toward a novel that had only been floating around in my brain occasionally before that. A funny thing happened, though. I fell in love with my characters and their story, and so pressed on through December, adding 30,000 more words.
Then came January – and Jeff Goins with his challenge. What better way to keep myself active with the new novel? At that rate, I should be able to finish the first draft by mid-February, I reasoned. And so I will. I have 93,000 words on this 31st day of January 2014. I have perhaps fifteen to twenty more pages to finish Murder by Any Other Name. That feels really good.
What feels even better, though, is the newfound camaraderie here in the My 500 Words group. Awesome writers. Hilariously funny people. Supportive to the max people. Spiritualists, atheists, and everything in between. People from around the world. I would never have predicted, thirty-one days ago, that I would have found such a group.
Please let’s keep it going, whether we come up with a specific target or just continue to share with and be supportive of each other. I know my life has been blessed by my interactions with all of you, and if it ends here, we will all have lost something special.
So let’s hold on to each other. See you in February. Best regards to all of you! YOU are the best.