Friday, June 2, 2017

Minding My Muse 11: Do You Have an Inventory?

I recently realized that while I read Priscilla Long’s Minding the Muse from cover-to-cover, I failed to complete the writing prompts at the end of the last few chapters. I stopped at the organizing and cataloging of works. Creating an inventory or list of works is a time-consuming, challenging feat of organization that will require me to sort desk files, computer files, and notebooks. My goal is to set aside a week in late summer to do this project, and I suggest you consider doing the same. Wanna race?!
Thursday, September 22, 2016 Journal Entry
“Have you inventoried your work? If not, consider doing it.” (Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 81)

I did this some years back, but the list is out of date as is the collection of hard copies. I should list and print everything I consider a prose “piece.” I don’t think blog announcements and thank yous and wedding photos really count. I should inventory those pieces I might consider submitting elsewhere beyond the limits of my own blog.

“What person or institution will receive this body of work when you have to leave this world?” (Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 81)
Tom? Erin? Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it needs to be a body of work with an audience, or a potential audience, or at least something my daughter would want to pass down to future children. Right now it’s just a disorganized mess.

Friday, June 02, 2017 Journal Entry
“What did you learn about your body of work after making or updating your inventory? Do you see directions and tendencies you were unaware of? Does a clearer notion of where you’ve been help to sharpen your vision of where to go?” (Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 81)

Since I haven’t done it yet, I can’t respond! However, I do remember the feeling of accomplishment I experienced when I did an inventory some years back. It also helped to clarify the areas of interest I wanted to explore in my writing. I look forward to going through the process again.

Sunday, May 7, 2017 Journal Entry
“Write a vision statement laying out what you see as your next year of work. Your next five years of work.” (Priscilla Long, Minding the Muse, p. 81)

I still need to inventory my work and respond to P. Long’s self-assessment question: “What did you learn about your body of work?” I need to sort and purge and organize my home office just as I was forced to do with my work office. And just as the process of deciding what I value in terms of teaching materials and books clarified my instructional focus, sorting and organizing my writing world will not only better preserve my body of work, but will also guide future writing.

My next year of work? First and foremost, I will get my books republished. One way or another three novels and two memoirs will be on Amazon by summer’s end. I will also submit my recent memoir essay, Memoir & Why I Do It, until it finds a home. In fact, I may submit more short pieces. I’ve always been so focused on book length projects, I’ve ignored essay submissions. Just not enough time for everything.

As to new writing, The Ex-Mexican Wives Club is on the move. I’ve written about 45,000 very rough words, a skeletal structure from beginning to end, a structure that includes journal entries from the 1980s. I’ve put together a scene chart—3x5” color coded cards on a bulletin board—to guide me. Now I will read and plug in letters where appropriate. Then I will re-write chapter by chapter to complete the story. I’m also in the process of locating the women I knew in Mexico. I'm reaching out and reconnecting with friends from almost forty years ago. I am taking my time on this project. I have no desire to rush it. I hope to create something different, perhaps intriguing. I'll have a first draft, a draft I will share with those I once knew so well, by summer 2018. Who knows, maybe sharing the draft will involve some traveling!


Prior posts in this series:

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