A Week in the Writing Life, 28 January 2023

Welcome back, everyone, to this new experiment of mine to try and have a weekly post on Liegois Media on WordPress and and The Writing Life with Jason Liegois on Substack.

It’s part of my efforts to write online on a more consistent basis than I have up to this point – at least once weekly with what I’ve been working on when it comes to writing and what I’m reading during the week or (in more than a few cases) earlier. The latter item might turn into more reading recommendations, considering how long it can be between me seeing something online and bookmarking or saving it, and me actually reading it.

I have a fairly clear idea of how I’m going to organize these posts going forward, but that could change over time. I’m also not too proud to take requests if I ever got any of those, lol.

Homefront Stuff

The photo for this entry is courtesy of my wife Laura, and it’s what my backyard in Lucas County, Iowa is looking like right now. There’s been some snow off and on for the past week or so, but not as much as the northern half of the state has been getting.

The house we share is around 100 years old. We’ve got three bedrooms and two bathrooms, which is about the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house I grew up in back in Muscatine. It was newer than this house by about 40 years, as was the four-bedroom, three bathroom home that our kids grew up in. But I do like this house – for one thing, I’m not someone who likes big, complicated houses. For one thing, unless you happen to have a lot of cash, you have to clean that house and maintain it, and smaller houses are easier to do that for rather than big homes. Whenever I see one of these McMansions in the newer suburbs around Des Moines or out by themselves in the middle of the country, all I can think about is how long does it take to clean one of those places? Anyway, I’m happy with my house.

What I’ve Been Writing

I’m now deep into putting together the rough draft of the second book of my series The Yank Striker. (More on the first book in the series in a bit.) I ended up with about a 80,000-word volume last time, and I’m thinking that part two will be close to that length or slightly less.

I’m hoping that I will be able to write regularly enough so that the rough draft will be complete by the fall. This is the first time that I am trying to write fiction on a deadline, even though my publisher (Biblio Publishing, check them out some time) hasn’t set a time limit on when they want the manuscript. For those who don’t know, the whole publishing process, from writing, to revising, to designing, and to publishing, can be a long one. My plan is to have part two ready for readers to take a look at next year, but those plans end up… stretching, when it comes to books and fiction.

As for my online writing, you’ll probably see something posted on WordPress and Substack later about my struggle to keep up with all of the great writing I keep getting emails about from Substack. If it’s not entertaining, I’ll try to keep it short, heh heh.

I’m surprised that I keep coming up with ideas for my A Writer’s Biography series, to the point where I basically have had to admit that I’m tooling around with a memoir. This work is continuing slowly, and you are seeing some of it on my sites. That might eventually get published even if I have to do that one myself.

The older than I am getting, the more my priority is to try and be as productive as possible. It would really suck for me if when my time was up, I left a lot of projects I wanted to finish as just scribbling in some notebooks or a few word document pages.

I’m continuing to experiment with fan fiction, even though it is not my main priority from a productivity standpoint. I have a lot of fun with it and it is a low-stress, low pressure way to be creative. And as I’ve mentioned before, I read a lot of other people’s work and have been inspired by it.

What I’ve Been Doing Having to do With Writing

Apparently the proof for The Yank Striker is on its way to my home in the next couple of days. I am absolutely excited to get my hands on it, review it, and continue the process of getting it published. I believe that I can say that it will be published sometime this year, but exactly when at this point I am not sure. As I keep saying, the minute I know that date, all of you here will be the first to hear of it.

I am keeping active with my Iowa Writer’s Corner group in Des Moines, of which somehow I’ve been selected club secretary. Part of the reason that I’m sharing this with everyone is that I’m trying to remind myself to get the minutes for our last meeting finished up before it’s time to have the February meeting.

I’m hoping to show them some of my work on the new Yank Striker book to get some of their feedback. That sort of advice is valuable for me, as it has been in the past. One of the most memorable bits of feedback I ever got was something that one of my writer friends Misty Urban said to me about an earlier draft of The Yank Striker. She mentioned that it seemed like my main character wasn’t having to deal with a lot of adversity and difficulty, that many things seemed easier to him. And she was absolutely right. One of the themes of this series will be about how my main character has chosen a difficult path, and there will be roadblocks and setbacks along the way. So, I’ll be interested to see what my new group of fellow writers has to say.

What I’ve Been Reading

The Iowa Writer’s Collective is an all-star collection of some of the greatest journalists in the state of Iowa, a couple of which I had the pleasure of knowing during my past career as a journalist. The fact that many of these writers used to populate the papers of this state but no longer do, as well as the growth of this group, is likely worth its own post sometime in the future. For now, check them out and get a paid subscription if you can.

Robin LeAnn is one of the first writers I encountered on WordPress and I really do need to do a deeper dive into her blog. Just recently she put out this nice review about a meta-fantasy book that sounds interesting from her description, and this series reminds me a bit of what I’m trying to do with my A Writer’s Biography. Check her out.

Did you hear that Margaret Atwood’s on Substack? She is, and her page is called In The Writing Burrow. She put out this piece about when she didn’t make the grade and this one about Ontario politicians lying about what their plans were and getting called out for it. She’s always worth a read.

Next time I’ll try and get some more recommendations, I promise.

Final Thought

Just heard Tom Verlaine, the vocalist and guitarist for the seminal band Television, just passed away. He was a great artist who always was trying something different, and I loved his work. I figured I might as well close out today with one of my favorite songs by him. Take care, everyone.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

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