First, I am a third of the way done with my current round of HCG injections... It hasn't been as easy this time in many ways but I'm still seeing fabulous results and sticking to the protocol like glue. Day 16 and as of this morning I've lost 14 lbs. I had a couple of days where I didn't drink enough water and ate the exact same thing for both meals which, I found out the hard way, will both stall the process. So, two days of zero weight loss that I cannot get back but still pretty amazing. I've never felt better and the smallest size pants in the closet are beginning to hang on me. By this time next week I'll need a belt to keep them from falling off and by the end of the 40 days I'll need a new closet full of clothes. (Didn't really think THAT through as I don't have the cash for an entirely new wardrobe but it's a problem I won't mind having!)
Second, I just took my writing to the next level by attending my first ever writer's conference. It was a two-day event but I was only able to spend the entire day there on Friday. One of the add-on options was a program called 'Boot Camp' where you take a sample of your writing and you're paired up with either a published author, an agent or an editor who specializes in your genre plus four other writers. You read aloud to the group and they all give you feedback. A very frightening prospect on it's own to have someone else read your work before you've edited the shit out of it and think it is the absolute very best. But to have to read it - aloud! - to strangers? Bordering on the terrifying. A fellow member of my writing group (which I found out should be referred to as a Critique Group in industry-speak but hey, we didn't know!) both signed up and were there at 7:00 AM on Friday morning. It was amazing the insight I got out of what Dan Wells (my assigned author) focused on and picked up on to comment about in my writing sample. The morning itself was worth the price of admission for the entire day and I came away with fresh ideas for a chapter I hadn't thought about since writing it at the beginning of NaNoWriMo back in November. After boot camp, we had a full day of conference sessions where we learned how to pitch our work to an agent, address pacing of a story and add emotion to our writing. They were all very informative but I have to be honest... I walked away Friday night thinking I didn't really get much out of it and was glad I had done boot camp since THAT was where the real learning had happened.
At least I thought that until I went back for the second session of boot camp on Saturday morning. Boy was I wrong...
Just reading the next section of my own - in my mind very polished - manuscript, I found tons of holes and examples of amateur writing I had smugly thought didn't exist in MY work the day before. There they were... had been there the entire time and I hadn't even seen them. All in the course of 24 hours I became a better writer. Maybe it was rubbing shoulders with real live published authors (I sound like such a geek, I know it but this is my life and maybe I am a geek. After all, who else besides a geek dreams of writing a book that one day gets published and spends her days interacting more with a computer than people? I'm bound to come off sounding geek-ish!) Or maybe it was the energy of the space and me making the declaration that I am taking myself seriously about this writing business enough to shell out a hundred or so clams of my own money and a weekend of my time. Whatever it was, I am so excited about the possibilities!
I entered a short-story contest NPR was hosting a couple of weeks ago, I have pretty much figured out how all the story threads tie together so I can finish my first novel, and I have committed to another short story contest with a submission due by May 15th. Look out, world, I'm a writer! And one giant leap closer to being a published one at that!