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The slush, it never ends.  Now that I've been at it for awhile, I find I have something to say about cover letters.  Not that any of my flist is guilty of any of this, I'm sure.  But people sure are interesting, aren't they?

I'm amazed at how many authors send in stories without a cover letter.  Nothing, just a blank email with an attachment. It blows me away.  How rude.  I'm taking precious moments out of my busy day to read your story and you can't bother to at least greet me and then say thank you?  Then there are the bare-bones cover letters that I can tell are generic, as in, Dear Editor, please consider this story.  No story title.  No word count.  Pretty much garners the same feeling from me.  If you don't have time to write up a cover letter for your story, why should I take time to read it?  But I do.  And then the other extreme:  the letters with TMI, Too Much Information.  Every single publication they've ever made, an autobiography, and then the dreaded story behind the story.  I received one the other day that had no information about the story they were sending (besides, please consider this story), and then 4 pages of biography, background, publication listings, and I don't know what else.  I didn't read it.  Nor did I do more than glance at the story.  Sorry, but I had visions of someone very difficult to work with. 

My biggest pet peeve is no word count in the cover letter.  Why?  Because I'm lazy.  Sometimes I only have a short time to read one more story, and I know I can read a 2k story pretty quickly, but a 4-5k story is going to take longer.  I don't want to have to open the document to find out how many words the story is.  Please, be kind.  Let your slush reader know how many words your story is.

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I have a few minutes free time and then that will be it.  So this will be quick.  First, we have the grandkiddies until Sunday evening, which means no free time at all.  Maybe an hour today during naps later on.  I'm trying to do a daily word goal again, but the last few days, life has intervened.  Thursday, I woke up sickly and pukey and ended up sleeping half the day away.  Yesterday, I had to catch up on the house chores because it truly was a disaster and tomorrow after Mother's Day Brunch, the family is coming over (14 or so!), and the minute that was all done, it was time to pick up the grandkiddies. 

So regarding the daily word goal, [livejournal.com profile] kara_gnome challenged me the other day to write 500 words.  Sadly, neither one of us made it.  LOL!  But I did win, with 345 words.  So, yay for me!  I decided then that a 100 word goal wasn't good for me, because usually I end up putting it off until 9 pm at night and then trying to push out words and stop when I get right at 100.  But 500 is too much for me to accomplish every single day, so I decided that a monthly average of 500 words a day could work.  I'll really have to push to make that this month, though. 

Because now the Shimmer slush is growing ever bigger.  I made a commitment to read slush, and I feel a lot of pressure when I have as many stories in my inbox as there are right now.  I want to get them done RIGHT now, which is never a good thing.  Too much pressure, I try to read to fast and then have to re-read.  It's not a good scenario for anyone.  I need to find my way to feeling okay with having stories piling up, because the reality is, they're always going to pile up, it's a never-ending process, and I need to process my own way through that.  My normal process is when things are piled up to soldier on and get them done, but in this case, it's not like this job will ever get done, there's only more stories waiting. 

Which is all to say, I'm trying to find a way to balance reading slush with taking time to write, because what I'm doing right now is reading slush instead of writing.  I need to do my own stuff first and fit slush in later, instead of the other way around. 

Cat-less

Mar. 8th, 2012 09:02 am
musingaloud: (Default)
This is the first time--except for a few months when I first lived on my own in an apartment--that I haven't had a cat.  I'm at a point in my life where I don't miss it at the moment, which surprises me no end.  I think I had prepared myself during the last year or so of Crooked Cat's life to losing him.  We're gone so much, it's rather nice to not have to worry about someone coming over to make sure he had fresh water (he was a nut for fresh water, and wouldn't drink if the water was stale), especially as I no longer could count on my mother to do it.  It's funny the things you miss the most, though.  It still shocks me when I walk into the laundry room and see the empty spots where his litter box and feeding station was, and in the bathroom where his water bowl was -- I don't know why I kept his water bowl in the bathroom, it somehow evolved into that.  I was mostly used to it, though, until we returned from Reno, and then when I walked inside, the house seemed so empty, and I was shocked again that his stuff wasn't there.  I have the grandboys now to get my cuddles with, but I think as they grow older, I'll get that longing for a cat again.  But for now, I shall remain cat-less. 

I've been here, reading the flist, but have been so behind on things, I haven't posted or commented much.  Have been gone more than I've been home the last 3 weeks, plus the grandkids and my mother have kept me hopping or tied up doin Other Things.  And slushing. Seems everyone's been busy lately, though.  I will join the ranks of those promising to blog more when they can.  I do have good intentions, and then a week or more goes by.

Urk.

Feb. 23rd, 2012 11:57 am
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I've been expecting a headache today.  Sometime early this morning in a still sleep-induced fog, I dreamed or awoke partly or something, to a weird vision disturbance of rings of rainbow dazzles.  I hoped I was dreaming.  But I was doing ok until I ate and sat down with the computer and found the half-eaten bag of Skittles and couldn't resist finishing them off.  So maybe it's a sugar-induced headache.  Not quite a migraine-level, so I don't want to take a migraine pill, but the ibuprofen hasn't even touched it.  I'm here at the coast after a busy morning/travel day afternoon/last online class yesterday and have caught up on my flist.  The sun is sparkling off the water like a gazillion-trillion diamonds, and all it does it make my eyes hurt.  My headaches seem to be migrating from my right temple into my forehead, which is weird because they don't throb there and it feels like sinus, but what do you do except get through it.  Caffeine isn't helping either, dammit.

Now I must go slushing because I'm behind because of yesterday.  *resolves to not take headache out on Innocent Authors*
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Since today is a holiday, and my daughter-in-law is a public servant, I do not have my grandbaby today.  Which is kind of sad, because Monday is the day I have him all alone, and it's a special day of bonding for us, without him having to fight his older brother for my attention.  We have a nice, calm, day.  And then Tuesday arrives and he turns into a screamer and demander and obstinate 2 yr old.  LOL. 

So I have the whole, delicious day all to myself.  I plan to get a submission in the mail if I can talk my wireless printer into printing without knocking it against the wall a time or two (Ok, so no I'm not violent.  It really just involves having to walk back to the bedroom to turn the printer off.  And then on.  And trying again.  And then restarting the laptop.  And walking back to the .... yes, see how boring that is?), do a read-through of another story to see if it's ready to sub.  Finish reading and critting a story for homework on the Odyssety Online Class, make about 3 or 4 phone calls (ACK!  PHONE CALLS!  MUST HIDE and PROCRASTINATE!), some more desk work, maybe vacuum, go to yoga, and read slush. 

What slush you ask?  Yes, I am now slush reader at Shimmer.  I've been doing it about a week and think I may have a few thoughts now and then on the process.  I've heard it suggested every writer should try their hand at slushing at some point, so I thought, hmmm, maybe I'll give it a try and see what I learn. 

So my free day won't be so free after all, but full of Stuff.  But that's life, right? 

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