A friend of mine, who also happens to be a journalism professor at Western Washington University, Carolyn Nielsen, loaned me an anthology that contains an essay by one of my neighbors, who also happens to be a writer, Colleen Haggerty. The anthology of personal essays, The Spirit of a Woman: Stories to Empower and Inspire, includes stories of survival and strength by women from wide-ranging backgrounds.
Colleen’s essay recounts how she lost her leg in an auto accident at the age of 17 and how she came to forgive, some 15 years later, the man who did it. Her story was very well written and vivid without being gruesome.
I met Colleen some years ago but we haven’t talked in a long time. She probably doesn’t even remember me. Our town is small though, and I see her occasionally at our neighborhood school. Reading her story about her most intimate feelings around such a difficult subject has made me want to reconnect with her, to tell her everything I liked about her essay.
To me, the feeling that I’m getting to know the writer behind the story is part of the appeal of reading memoir and personal essay, and maybe even reality TV.
I’m going to make the effort to reintroduce myself to Colleen when I get the chance again soon. One of my own essays will appear in an anthology in October 2011, Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories. I’m eager to pick her brain about the process. I will be writing about my learning process as an author in an anthology here on this blog as we go along so check back often. I’m excited for the opportunity to learn more about its marketing and promotion, an area I’m just delving into.
Have you ever been in an anthology? What wisdom can you share?
Have a safe and wonderful New Year’s holiday.
One of my writing mentors, Christina Katz suggests cataloging your accomplishments before setting goals for the new year. Give this a try before setting your New Year’s Resolutions.
Here are my writing-related accomplishments during 2010:
- I published 10 articles in local and regional publications
- I have 12 articles already written that can be circulated as reprints and published elsewhere
- I took two classes: Writing & Publihing the Short Stuff and the Dream Team
- I completed edits for a personal essay, Finding My Way, that will be published in the anthology, Bless Your Heart, due out in Fall 2011
- I wrote ~70,000 words of my memoir, and polished about 10,000 more
- I blogged at least 3 times a month right here on my own blog all year long and converted my old blog to WordPress (highly recommend it)
- I joined my county writers and publishers group, Whatcom Writers and Publishers, and attended two meetings
- I joined a critique group and connected with at least 4 other writers in my town. Some of them are in my blog roll to the right.
- I opened a separate bank account to hold earnings from writing
- I started telling people that I’m a writer when they ask what I do
- I narrowed down the kind of writing I’d like to do in the future to two niches: assisted reproduction and environmental conservation & toxicology
I’m sure there are a couple that I missed but that feels like a lot of success for one year.
Looking ahead, I came up with these goals for 2011. Please let me know if you would like to help me acheive any of these aspirations.
- Publish more than ten articles this year, hopefully at least one will be in a national publication
- Finish the draft of my memoir and revise it until I am satisfied, and then submit my proposal to at least 10 more agents
- Earn some money writing this year
- Increase my blog readership, and explore blogging strategies, such as guest blogging
- Consider taking a personal essay class and/or a class on platform development
- Start publishing small stuff in my newer niche: environmental conservation & toxicology
- Attend two conferences this year, Pacific Northwest Writers Association meeting and Chuckanut Writer’s Conference
- Meet and get to know the owners of my local book store, Chuck and Dee Robinson at Village Books
- Publish a personal essay or short story in an anthology—I’ll check out Chicken Soup for the Soul, Cup of Comfort through Adams Media, and Seal Press
I hope that your year has been as productive and rewarding as mine and that you will achieve any goal you attack in 2011.
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Tagged adams media, agents, anthology, assisted reproduction, bless your heart, blog, blogging strategies, chicken soup for the soul, Christina Katz, chuck robinson, chuckanut writers conference, critique group, cup of comfort, dee robinson, dream team, environmental conservation, finding my way, guest blogging, holidays, income, memoir, new years resolutions, pacific northwest wirters association, personal essay, platform development, seal press, short stuff, toxicology, village books, whatcom writers and publishers, wordpress, writing