#LiterarySpoons: A New Twitter Hashtag Event for Spoonie Writers

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Welcome to the Q & A for #LiterarySpoons, a brand new Twitter hashtag event hosted by me and @SpoonieCult. The purpose of #LiterarySpoons is for writers who identify as spoonies – which includes those who are chronically ill, disabled, mentally ill, and/or neurodiverse – to share their writing with the community. Our first #LiterarySpoons event will take place Thursday, October 13th from 5-7PM PST / 8-10PM EST / 12AM-2AM GMT.

Question 1: How do I share my original writings?

Answer: Compose a new tweet and include a title, description, and link to each piece. They can be in the form of blog posts, articles, essays, poems, stories, screenshots, etc. They could be published on blog sites like WordPress or Tumblr, in literary magazines or journals, or in online magazines or news outlets. Make sure you include the hashtag #LiterarySpoons and specify any mature content or trigger warnings. The posts will be moderated and any offensive or copyright-infringing content will be reported.

If you need a free, fast, and safe place to post your work, I recommend creating an account on Medium and using that as a platform to host your content. With Medium, there’s no need for layout or website setup.

Question 2: Does the writing I share have to relate to being a spoonie?

Answer: Nope! Subject matter and genre is entirely open. The point of the event is for us to showcase our best work. If that involves being a spoonie, great! If it’s a story about a unicorn, that’s fine too! The material doesn’t need to be new or written specifically for this event. The only requirement is that it’s original.

Question 3: Is there a limit to how many pieces I can post?

Answer: There’s no official limit, but be mindful and considerate of the event. Don’t flood the stream with your work. I’d say five posts total would be around the maximum. That will allow others to share their work without getting lost in the feed.

Question 4: What exactly is a spoonie, anyway?

Answer: The term came from a blog post written by Christine Miserandino called “The Spoon Theory.” Those of us battling chronic illness, mental illness, and disability often have trouble keeping up with day-to-day life. Our energy has to be measured out, and Christine chose the metaphor of measuring that energy in spoons. How we feel can be unpredictable and vary from one moment to the next. That’s why many of us call ourselves “spoonies.”

The term has morphed into a wonderful and supportive online community and a shorthand way of identifying ourselves.

Question 5: What if I can’t attend the event during the date and time it’s scheduled? Can I still participate?

Answer: Absolutely! I recommend scheduling your posts in advance using a free service like HootSuite. You can hop on the thread whenever you’re able to and read other people’s posts.

Question 6: Is this just a one-time event?

Answer: We’re hoping to make #LiterarySpoons an ongoing monthly event. You can follow me, @alanasaltz, and @SpoonieCult to stay updated on future events.

If you have any questions that weren’t answered here, please leave a comment or send me a tweet. I hope to see you and your writing on the hashtag!

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I Finished My Memoir! Now What?

medium_216516964For years, I’ve dreamed about the moment when I finally finished the first complete draft of my memoir. I imagined confetti falling out of the ceiling, maybe some triumphant trumpet music playing, and a crowd of all the friends and family who have heard me complain, agonize over, and gush about the book for the past five years running into my room, cheering for me and hugging me.

Of course, what really happened is that I stopped typing and stared at the screen in silence for a few minutes.

I’m…done? I thought.

I felt a little flicker of happiness and accomplishment, sure. Throughout the years of angst and writer’s block and a frequent desire to give up, I’d wondered many times whether I’d ever actually finish the book. Just finishing it was a big deal. But then I realized that I’d still need to have a few beta readers look it over, do more edits on it, write a query letter and send it off to agents, then eventually do even more edits if/when it gets picked up by a publisher. I was far from done.

So, instead of feeling all the great feelings I thought I would – instead of confetti, trumpets, and cheers – what I experienced, instead, was panic. Finishing the manuscript, in many ways, is only the beginning of the process. I’d always known that, but for some reason, I thought getting to the next step would feel different.

I started thinking about how tough it was going to be to write the query letter. I worried about the realities of sending the memoir out into the world, wondering what people would think of it if/when someone decided to publish it, afraid of how my friends and family might feel after reading it. This idea, this story, that has been living in my head for so long, can finally take the next step forward into becoming an actual book.

Holy shit.

Am I ready to take the next step? Will I be able to get everything together? Will I have the bravery and strength needed for such a task?

Well, despite the near-paralyzing fears I’ve encountered, I’ve already started writing my query letter, checking in with beta readers, and getting feedback. I’m researching agents and publishers. I keep having to remind myself that I shouldn’t let this publication process negate what I’ve already accomplished. Although the book won’t feel 100% real until I’m holding the finished, printed copy in my hands, I’m so much closer than I’ve ever been. I’ve got the story down, which is truly the hardest part.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the process. All of this is new to me. Even though I’ve been writing for years, this is new territory. It’s terrifying, it’s overwhelming, but it’s exciting too. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I can try to feel good about how far I’ve already come, and keep taking steps to move myself, and my memoir, forward.

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My Short Story eBook Publishing Experiment

medium_9469185471On June 26th, I unveiled my free short story eBook, “Some Kind of Moment.” I got the idea to make this eBook from other authors and entrepreneurs I’d seen around the internet who were giving out eBooks for free when readers subscribed to their email lists.

However, I noticed that all of their eBooks were informational, not creative. They gave tips on being a writer, shared advice on making money online, etc. I decided to test the waters with the idea of doing the same thing, but with creative work.

While one of my motivations was to get people to sign up for my email list to form a network of readers interested in me and my work, I also felt that it was time to share a longer piece of mine that wouldn’t fit the length constraints of a literary magazine. “Some Kind of Moment” was a compromise between a super long work that will take years to publish (which makes up the majority of my projects) and something short I’d submit out. Plus I’d get to see what this whole eBook/self-publishing thing was about.

The actual process of making the book was time-consuming, but valuable. I decided to format the story for PDF, ePub, and MOBI so it could be read easily on any computer or device. While the formatting process was tedious and required a good deal of research and trial and error, I was ultimately glad I did it. I’ve seen some poorly formatted eBooks that are simply unreadable, and I didn’t want mine, despite being free, to be one of them.

I’m so happy with how the eBook turned out visually. Much of that credit also goes to my designer, Pj Kneisel, for making such a fantastic cover. He used a photo I took of the Santa Monica Pier and transformed it into something amazing that completely fit the tone of the work.

So what were the actual results of this experiment? I got a good response on Facebook when I released my eBook. A lot of friends and acquaintances shared the announcement and downloaded the work. So far, I’ve received very positive feedback from several people about the story itself. Although the numbers around this experiment aren’t super impressive, the story will be available for new subscribers indefinitely, so that could always change. Plus, just being able to share some of my writing with the world this way was a great experience in itself, regardless of numbers.

The eBook still isn’t on Amazon. That process is more complicated, and I’ve been waffling about even putting it there. There’s a chance I’ll keep it as an exclusive bonus to people who are interested in my writing. Now that this experiment is done, it’s time for me to go back to toiling away on my current book-length projects and taking a shot at the intimidating world of personal essay.

To those who have already downloaded my eBook: Thank you so much! To those who haven’t yet: What are you waiting for? It’s free!

 
photo credit: melenita2012 via photopin cc

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Some Kind of Moment: A Short Story eBook

SKoM final paperback (layers)Today marks the release of my new short story ebook, “Some Kind of Moment.” Here’s the synopsis:

Friendship can be confusing. 20-year-old Izzy Desmond likes killing time with Luke, an endearingly eccentric slacker, and feels herself drifting apart from Mandy, the Beverly Hills party girl she befriended freshman year. When the three mismatched friends spend a day together at the Santa Monica Pier, Izzy tries to figure out what Luke and Mandy really mean to her, and whether the connections she has with them can last.

To get your free copy, enter your email address in the box below. After you confirm the subscription, you’ll automatically receive links to the PDF, ePub, and MOBI files. There’s also an option to read the story right in your browser.

With the subscription, you’ll also be getting my newsletter with blog posts, occasional updates, and any future exclusive content. I promise I won’t spam you or sell your information. My newsletter helps me stay in touch with all of you, my readers. I’m going to have some exciting projects coming up.

 

Get Your Free Copy of “Some Kind of Moment”


 

I really hope you enjoy the story! A special thank you to Pj Kneisel for designing my beautiful cover and helping me edit the book. I couldn’t have done this without you.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

I can’t believe it’s been an entire year since I posted here. So much has happened in my life since then.

I’ve thought about revisiting this blog many times, but I always get tripped up on the “what the hell should I write about?” challenge. In my creative work, I spend a lot of time exploring my life and my past. The first draft of my memoir is almost finished, which is a pretty big accomplishment on its own, considering I decided I wanted to write it when I was 12 years old and have been actively working on the manuscript since 2009. I’ll be finishing up my MFA in Writing from Antioch University, Los Angeles in a matter of months. I’m set to graduate in June.

My personal life has also taken some turns, and most are definitely for the better. I’m still figuring out this whole being a writer/adult/human thing. I’ve been coming up against some physical challenges, and the occasional emotional one thrown in. And even though I struggle with confidence and fears, I know I’ve progressed as both a writer and a person. Maybe I don’t always see it, but it’s there.

So, where do we go from here?

I know I’m big on talking about how I’m not sure what to write. It’s what I do instead of actually writing and creating. For now, I will leave you with some new projects I’m involved with. But I haven’t forgotten about this blog, and someday (hopefully soon) I will figure out what to use it for.

babysun-logoIntroducing: THE BABY SUNS

The Baby Suns is an art collective I started a few months ago with my partner-in-crime, the talented artist, Pj Kneisel. We have a webcomic in the works and a zine called Burpy Lovebirds. Issue 1 is now available online, and the comic will be launching soon.

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