LitPark Question of the Month: 2010

by Susan Henderson on January 4, 2010

What are your writing goals for 2010?


Also, please share any of your good news, whether it’s an award, a publication, or overcoming writer’s block. Here’s to all of us having a creative year and finally reaching those milestones we’ve had our hearts set on for so long!

{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathalie January 4, 2010 at 3:07 am

Write. Get published (some of this is already planned, I am led to believe). Being nominated to some awards again would be cool too but I don’t reckon this type of luck will show up on my email every single year (besides I’d get bored with it, I suppose).
Read a lot of nice books (I am reading “Naked Lunch” right now and it’s a struggle, but I started the year with “Unsen Academicals” and Burroughs rather pales in the comparison).

Happy new year!


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 10:37 am

Maybe bigger and better awards so you don’t get bored with them. 🙂

Is Unseen Academicals really that good? My husband and my kids all love the DiscWorld series but haven’t read that one yet. It’s so sad to think that there probably won’t be any new Terry Pratchett books…


amywallen January 4, 2010 at 10:51 am

I hope to start a writing routine again. Last year it was non-existent for me, as was the writing. So, I’ve picked a time that I have to be in my chair and stay for two hours. I can’t schedule any appts nor answer the phone during this time. If I don’t have anything to write, I’m going to write about not having anything to write. I’m hoping that of the three characters that have been ping ponging inside my head that one of them will turn into a story. This isn’t big news to most of us who struggle with this, but I hope that if I post it in a public place then my commitment will have public affirmation.

I’m also going to set up a non-profit for DimeStories this year. We have a fiscal sponsor, and are signed for iTunes, and have a foot in the door for NPR. Hopefully, we’ll get a regular show in LA and San Francisco, and new and bigger things will happen.

This year, I’m hoping the focus is the literary, and not the celebrity.


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 11:14 am

I think that’s brilliant, and because you’re so specific about the hours and the no phone rule, I think it’ll work.

Fingers crossed for DimeStories! Maybe by focusing on the literary, you’ll get the celebrity, too.


Nathalie January 4, 2010 at 11:50 am

I liked it a lot, despite bursting into tears regularly when I had loved a turn of phrase too much…

(actually, getting the awards instead of being just nominated would be nice. Not much that I can control there.)


Rosie January 4, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I’d like to get my blog up and running, and use it as a portfolio for the articles I’ve had published so far. I’d also like to get paid for my writing!

Wishing all the best to the other LitParkers – here’s hoping all our dreams come true in 2010!


Rosie January 4, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I LOVED one line in particular: a wizard languorously ordering a snack with the words, “I could toy fitfully with a little fruit.” I think this will become one of our family’s in-jokes.


maryannestahl January 4, 2010 at 2:28 pm

happy 2010 to you, Susan!

my goals are simple: to set some! or, rather, just to write. it’s been a while.


notmoro January 4, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Actually I think there may well be more from Sir Terry. By all accounts he’s busy working on I Will Wear Midnight, the next in the Tiffany Aching series.


notmoro January 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Get more work out there. Stop giving up on stories without having finished them.

I applaud those Litparkers working to set a routine. It’s such a hard thing to do. I’ve found it helps to have a couple of good writer friends hold me to a regular deadline; we’ve been getting together once a month to look over each other’s work and talk about it. That monthly meeting keeps me sort of permanently terrified of wasting someone else’s time–which is invaluable given that when you have neither an agent to spur you on, nor a contractual obligation hanging over your head, the impetus to work often just isn’t there. Hopes and dreams can take one great distances, but personally I also need someone looking over my shoulder, frowning and tapping a foot. 🙂


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 3:21 pm

That’s good to hear. It’s got to be torture trying to write with Alzheimer’s, and he has such a big and beautiful brain.


Heather_Fowler January 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Hey Susan,

Okay. My writing goals for 2010–write 2 new novels. That don’t suck. Get major agent. Sell one of two said novels. Publish stories, back to back and front to front, print, online, wherever. Get the 400 poems I’m sitting on out and being submitted. Win a book-length short fiction contest and get a book of my stories out. Work on the other seven books of stories in progress.

Edit, edit, edit. Shine, shine, shine. 🙂

Rinse. Wash. Repeat. LOL!

Nothing like realistic goals, right, Susan? Sheesh. Yeah, well, that’s what I’d like to do.



SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm

My goal is to read more books that make me burst into tears because the phrasing is so brilliant.


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Wonderful. I still love Amazing Maurice the best.


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Rosie, link your blog once you’ve got it running so we can all have a look.


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 3:27 pm

When I had the goal to “just write,” I bought special tea and candles so writing became the event I looked forward to.


notmoro January 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm

My understanding from Guardian interviews I’ve read is that he’s mainly suffering difficulty with motor skills–which obviously makes typing difficult. That certainly must be frustrating enough.


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Oh, yeah, I know all about the unfinished stories! And the terror of wasting someone’s time!


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 3:31 pm

We must be the same zodiac sign or something. 🙂


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I’m glad he’s still in there. I was absolutely devastated when I found out what he was going through.


notmoro January 4, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Me too. I don’t like to think of a world without him. However, as he said: he aint’nt dead. I’m cheered and greatful for the fact that he means to carry on for as long as he may. 🙂


notmoro January 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Buh. Way to spell “grateful”, Jess. And they let me have my MFA?! 😀


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 4:35 pm

I like greatful better.


SusanHenderson January 4, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Some great reading over at The Writer’s Inner Journey:


Renee Moffett Thompson January 4, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Goals for 2010 (thanks for asking, Susan):

1. Suck it up and practice being bold. Graciously.
2. Ask anyone and everyone for help.

I’m nervous about all of this, but I understand that it’s up to me to ensure my first novel, THE BRIDGE AT VALENTINE, is a success. My publisher’s press, Tres Picos, is small, and has limited funds, so the onus is on me to tour, sell, interview, sell, blog, sell…and did I mention sell? And this is crazy (!), but I’ve never read my work aloud in front of a crowd, and the prospect scares me s***less. So I’ve got to get over that, too.

My book is due in August 2010, and in the words of Rich Ferguson, I’d be honored if you’d give it a read.


lance_reynald January 4, 2010 at 11:59 pm

the next one… though I often find myself lost with it.

make this one stronger, better than the debut.

stop letting the weakness of the first one bother me so much (it does, often to the point of paralysis)

a writing retreat or two, three, four… whoever will have me.

an agent, a great one that will steer me well and do their damndest to make it easier for me to think only of the work and not the rest of it.


Nathalie January 5, 2010 at 6:34 am

Oooh. That would be good. I like Tiffany (and the wee free men).


SusanHenderson January 5, 2010 at 7:40 am

Love that book. And Rob Anybody.


SusanHenderson January 5, 2010 at 7:47 am

I hear this so often, the writers who write glorious books, but start to hate them on the book tour because they see things they want to change, or because they’re no longer the same person who wrote the book. Just know it’s wonderful, and whatever is eating at you, pour it into the new one. Strangely, the fact that you’re lost with it makes me sure you’re trying to uncover something very important.

Here’s a list of writer retreats: Any one of them would be lucky to have you. xo


SusanHenderson January 5, 2010 at 7:51 am

Renee, I’m getting your book the day it goes on sale. I can’t even tell you how often I think of the story you brought to Squaw. And I love your idea of being bold. Gracious is easier, but combining that with fearlessness is something I’ve never really considered. Powerful.


eileen_rita January 6, 2010 at 1:14 am

Happy New Year Susan and to all the writers/readers here!
My main goals for 2010 would be:
1) Finish draft two of the screenplay by the end of April
2) Work on learning more of the proper protocols and formatting of a functioning screenplay
3) Learn to be more patient with myself and the story – both will evolve at the right pace
4) Don’t be shy


SusanHenderson January 6, 2010 at 7:50 am

I have a feeling this second draft will be worth submitting!


Jimnichols January 6, 2010 at 9:40 am

Hi Susan!

Two goals in 2010: to finalize publication of my novel (still hung up at the prospective, poor-communicating publisher), and to get enough short stories into print to drive a new collection to worthiness.

Happy New Year and good luck to us all!


5speener0 January 6, 2010 at 9:54 am

To find my way back to writing.

I’ve allowed too many things to distract me, so now I feel weak, without purpose and lost. Some distractions were important (like getting paid for work that didn’t include writing, spending more time with my husband because he had a greater emotional need), and some were not.

Writing is a big part of who I am, and I do it for me, regardless of who appreciates it or not; regardless of who buys it or not; and regardless of what else is going on in my life.

I am working my way back to being true to who I am.


mauryfeinsilber January 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Entering LitPark is like coming into a perfectly lit (no pun intended) room; a place where the gloom of everyday reality can at times cast shadows on what’s really most important with writing: caring about it and loving it and even struggling with it because it’s worthwhile and, to paraphrase you, Susan, something created with the intention to share. So visiting here is certainly a goal.

As for the less easy goals: revising the 500+ page manuscript of my second novel, an endeavor I began in earnest this past September when lo and behold a disc in my spine became herniated, pressing on my sciatic nerve and quite literally knocking me on my ass for months. The pain was too great to tackle the manuscript beast, but I did, I’m proud to say, continue writing short fiction, right through the damn pain and even, in an oblique way, having it influence the story. If I did not write, I knew, the pain would be not just in my body, but in my spirit. So now the other goal is to enter what’s become a long-short story (three months and forty handwritten pages, so far) from my notebook and into the computer, which is in the doing one of my methods of revision.

Otherwise, the goals are the same as always: struggle and hopefully grow; submit and get rejected and submit again; read and read and read.


Anonymous January 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm

To finish a draft of my novel fit for my agent to read by my son’s 2nd birthday in June 🙂

To sell another writing book

To enjoy the writing process!

To visit Litpark more frequently


SusanHenderson January 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Jordan, hey! I had to click on your link to know it was you.

Love your goal of having something for your agent to read by your son’s birthday! If karma and talent have a say, you’re due for a very good year!


SusanHenderson January 8, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Well, that is so awfully nice – thank you!

As for your novel, break it into sections so it feels doable and you can see the progress you make. And what I’ve encouraged others to do – because it worked for me: have some ritual that begins your writing day and makes you look forward to it. Whether that’s a fancy protein shake or a cigar or candles or watching a movie the night before that gets you in the mood for your next scene. But it really does help to make writing an event. A celebration even.


SusanHenderson January 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I know that feeling, Despina. Maybe the next thing you write will be about someone who strayed too far from their nature or their passion?


SusanHenderson January 8, 2010 at 10:12 pm

Jim, I am so very ready to read your next book! While things are hung up, you can always look around a little – no?


mauryfeinsilber January 9, 2010 at 12:59 am

Thank you so much for the sage advice, Sue. I actually do have some “mnemonics” that help me to begin the process every day; rituals I didn’t even realize were so until I noticed the pattern.

As for breaking it into sections, I not only think that’ll help matters, but think, too, that you must’ve been peeking over my should as I wrote that first draft, for I did so without breaking the monster into chapters! (By a combination of will and inspiration, I managed to get all 500+ pages down on paper in exactly one year to the day). My first novel, however, was composed more traditionally, and I think this was an aid in all its many revisions. Interestingly, however, its first draft took much, much longer to compose.


Jimnichols January 9, 2010 at 7:39 am

I guess I should just go ahead and damn the torpedoes. It’s such a perfect fit, in my view, with these guys, though. (BIggest regional press, Midcoast Maine book).

Thanks for the link, Sue. How’s the title search going? Can’t wait to read YOUR book.


Kirk_Farber January 9, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Happy New Year, Susan and Litparkers.

My writing goals for 2010 are to keep up work on the second novel as I embark on the promotional adventure of my first novel. I really want to stay in the moment during this whole process and enjoy it since I tend to time-travel with my thoughts, be it forward or back. So for 2010 I resolve to stay in 2010.

Hope you all have a productive, creative year!


SusanHenderson January 10, 2010 at 5:13 pm

A few links you might want to check out:

Meredith Resnick interviews Ellen Meister at The Writer’s Inner Journey:;

All about Glue here:

And for those of you who need work:

Publicity Manager
Brooklyn Academy of Music;
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Salary: The salary for this position is commensurate with experience.

HR Generalist
Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation;
Woodside, New York, United States


SusanHenderson January 10, 2010 at 5:24 pm

You will find your book’s home, I’m not worried.


SusanHenderson January 10, 2010 at 5:27 pm

When I was editing my book, I tried to read of from the perspective of a really tired, overworked person who didn’t have time to pick up a book. It helps you find your chapter length and helps to remind you to put something at the end of every chapter that makes them think, Okay, maybe I’ll just read one more.

Isn’t it funny how no one story or novel seems to be composed in the same way. Some want outlines, some have their own ideas, some seems to come out in code and ask you to unpack them…


SusanHenderson January 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Um. Kirk. Aren’t you forgetting to mention something? Okay, let me do it….

ANNOUNCING Kirk Farber’s debut novel, POSTCARDS FROM A DEAD GIRL, now available for pre-order!!! At least take a look at the cover!

And what a novel idea to savor the moment!


mauryfeinsilber January 11, 2010 at 12:46 am

You’re a gem, Sue. I appreciate your advice, which makes so much common sense and yet is too easy to forget in the heat of composition or fog of revision. It’s funny (or sad), but lately I really appreciate novels, and even stories, that have a good amount of breaks within — I suppose that’s the nature of life these days, only having time or energy for just so much. (There’s nothing so wonderful, though, as those authors who compel us to read “just one more;” those who make us not mind just missing a train so we have time to sit and read until the next one arrives; those who keep up awake long after we know we should be going to sleep).


SusanHenderson January 11, 2010 at 7:45 am

I’m writing today for two hours before I take a break of any kind. You, too – okay? Go!


mauryfeinsilber January 11, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I have accepted your challenge, madam, and just completed said two hours. (I did, however, get up once to pee — next time you throw down one of these challenges, I’m going to invest in some of those astronaut diapers).


SusanHenderson January 12, 2010 at 7:41 am

Get your astronaut diaper on and get ready for 2 more hours of uninterrupted writing….


SusanHenderson January 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm

More jobs:

Senior Grant Writer and Manager
Grand Street Settlement
New York, New York, United States
Salary: low to mid 50’s (based on experience) plus benefits

RFP – Development of Online Questionnaire Instrument and Data Management System
EmcArts Inc.
New York, New York, United States
Salary: fixed cost contract

Special Events Coordinator
City Parks Foundation
New York, New York, United States
Salary: $3,300 per month; May 15 – October 15 (5 months)

Project Coordinator
Children of Armenia Fund
New York, New York, United States
Salary: $40K – $45K


mauryfeinsilber January 12, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Have diaper, will travel.


Juliet January 12, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Rather than try to make myself live up to a writing standard that will just stress me out in the end, I think my resolution would be to encourage my writer friends when they feel like they’ve set the bar too high—reminding them to live, or bringing them a coffee or even cleaning up the mess of dishes around their desk.
I’m trying, in general, to live my resolutions about doing for others and not trying to build myself anymore.
I’m too bulky and weighed down with self anyhow.



Juliet January 12, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Congratulations, Kirk. FANTASTIC cover!


Eric Rickstad January 13, 2010 at 6:16 am

Finish my novel FOUND, and an unnamed novel I started in late December. I have the rights back from my novel REAP by Viking Penguin, so I hope to get that backlisted elsewhere. Get the two novels, Speak! and A Killing in the Kingdom, I wrote in 2009, placed with good publishers. Finish several feature scripts. Work on some short stories. Mostly just get up at 5AM, have some strong coffee, write till 8. Come home from work at 5. Write till 9. Write all weekend. Be ready with pencil in hand.


SusanHenderson January 13, 2010 at 7:42 am

Yeah, remembering to live is a big one. And to enjoy the process of writing more. xo


SusanHenderson January 13, 2010 at 7:47 am
Ric January 13, 2010 at 8:46 am

Writing goals? Finish cozy mystery which seems to have mesmerized my writing group (when I finish reading a chapter, there is a blank look, no criticism, more like “why isn’t this guy published?), finish my little story about the young wife who disappears (been blocked on this one, trying to figure out if making the husband’s psychological reactions the focus or not – the fear being whether I can stretch the episodic narrative to 350 pages)

Getting back into the routine of writing a weekly column – waiting on the newspaper to finalize budget (ah, always important, budgets, indicates monetary exchange) This will get me noticed on the street (big picture printed each and every week), which, in turn, feeds my ego and makes me think I am a real writer.


SusanHenderson January 13, 2010 at 1:16 pm

What great news to hear your writing group loves your mystery!

About that one you’re blocked on, sometimes the story belongs to a different character. See where the heat is and which character has the most to lose/gain…might get you unblocked.


SusanHenderson January 13, 2010 at 1:19 pm

More jobs:

Executive Assistant
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc.
New York, New York, United States

Programs and Exhibitions Manager
New York, New York, United States


Ric January 14, 2010 at 8:30 am

Interesting concept, Susan, thanks.

btw, how is the title search coming?


Aurelio January 14, 2010 at 10:46 am

My goal is not to lose faith or conviction in my goal of releasing my current novel this year on my own and in my own weird way. It means risking a monetary investment in myself, and a massive amount of work.

But, if it all works, it’ll be a gas.

And if it doesn’t, at least I’ll have tried, no???


SusanHenderson January 14, 2010 at 11:28 am

I’m turning in final-final edits tomorrow, and there will be a title on top. I’ll let you guys know how it’s received.


SusanHenderson January 14, 2010 at 11:29 am

Love that. If you don’t see an open door, open a window and climb through!


Aurelio January 15, 2010 at 9:20 am

It’s easier to see where I’m going using the window. 😉


SusanHenderson January 15, 2010 at 9:32 pm

For the poets here:

The Vernice Quebodeaux “Pathways” Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline Extended to March 31
The Vernice Quebodeaux Prize, sponsored by Little Red Tree Publishing, includes a $1,000 cash award, publication of a full-length collection of poetry, and a generous royalty contract. All forms and styles are welcome.

The late Vernice Quebodeaux, born in Egan, LA (on the banks of the Bayou Plaquemine Brûlé), was a poet who spent a lifetime struggling with the demands of raising children, family feuds, bigotry, apathy, and indifference to her writing aspirations. On her death the beginnings of a book of poetry called Pathways was found by her daughter, Tamara Martin, and incorporated into a book, Sunday’s in the South. We are honoring her life and cherished goals by creating this competition to recognize the specific unique voices of women poets.

All finalists will be considered for publication, with one selected as the prizewinner with a book published in 2010. Download our complete guidelines (PDF), then send your 60-100 page manuscript with a $20 reading fee to: Little Red Tree Publishing, LLC, Attn: The Vernice Quebodeaux Prize, 635 Ocean Avenue, New London, CT 06320.

Little Red Tree Publishing
The Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize
Postmark Deadline Extended to March 31
The International Poetry Prize, sponsored by Little Red Tree Publishing, includes a first prize of $1,000. The runner-up will receive $250 and five finalists will receive $50 each.

This prize is offered in response to demand for an opportunity to be associated with Little Red Tree by poets who have yet to develop a full collection. It is also an opportunity for Little Red Tree to extend its search and engage with quality poets from around the world who wish to be published.

The prizewinner, runner-up and other honorees will feature prominently, with full biographies, in a special collection called Little Red Tree International Poetry Book 2010. The book will also include a wide selection of poetry from those submitted that did not make the final selection but were considered worthy of publication. We anticipate the book will contain as many as 80 poems, with a free copy to each poet published, and be published in 2010 with a book launch in New London, CT.

All winners and published poets will be invited to read their poems. Download our complete guidelines (PDF), then send your poem(s) with a reading fee of $5 each to: Little Red Tree Publishing, LLC, Attn: The International Poetry Prize, 635 Ocean Avenue, New London, CT 06320.

Little Red Tree Publishing
Little Red Tree Publishing

Little Red Tree Publishing was established in 2006 and is based in New London, CT. Our mantra is simply to produce books that: Delight, entertain and educate.

We have doubled the number of books produced each year and plan to publish 12 full books of poetry in 2010. Part of that plan is the incorporation of a full book of poetry from the Vernice Quebodeaux “Pathways” Poetry Prize and an anthology from the Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize.

From humble beginnings, Little Red Tree has always seen its role, consistent with the finest traditions of small independent publishing, as preserving and expanding the dwindling opportunities for previously unpublished poets and established poets to publish a full collection of poetry. It is our aim that each book attains the highest standards both aesthetically and artistically. Our aesthetic stance is one of quality in all aspects of the content and the physical appearance of our books. We feel passionately that well-crafted and accessible poetry should be celebrated and presented as such with conviction and confidence. Therefore, all our books are coffee-table size, 7″ by 10″—an emphatic statement of intent and a celebration of the poetry.

Our commitment to the individual poet and their work is undivided, and they are involved in every decision until their collection is complete, the book is finished and ready for printing.

We look forward to reading your wonderful poetry.



Tom Howard/John H. Reid Short Story Contest
Postmark Deadline: March 31
Now in its 18th year. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. Submit any type of short story, essay or other work of prose, up to 5,000 words. You may submit work that has been published or won prizes elsewhere, as long as you own the online publication rights. $15 entry fee. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest – No Fee
Online Submission Deadline: April 1
Winning Writers invites you to enter the ninth annual Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. We’ve simplified the entry process and increased the prize pool to $3,600, including a top prize of $1,500. There’s still no fee to enter. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

War Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: May 31
We seek 1-3 original, unpublished poems on the theme of war for our ninth annual contest, up to 500 lines in total. We will award $5,000, including a top prize of $2,000. Submit online or by mail. The entry fee is $15. Final judge: Jendi Reiter. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
Postmark Deadline: June 30
Now in its seventh year, this contest seeks poetry in traditional verse forms such as sonnets and free verse. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. The entry fee is $7 for every 25 lines you submit. See the complete guidelines and past winners.

Tom Howard/John H. Reid Poetry Contest
Postmark Deadline: September 30
Now in its eighth year, this contest seeks poems in any style, theme or genre. Both published and unpublished poems are welcome. Prizes of $3,000, $1,000, $400 and $250 will be awarded, plus six Most Highly Commended Awards of $150 each. The entry fee is $7 for every 25 lines you submit. See the complete guidelines and past winners. The winners of the seventh contest will be announced in this newsletter on February 15.


SusanHenderson January 18, 2010 at 8:59 am
michaelmcintyre January 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

I agree. Really good cover!


SusanHenderson January 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Lit mag job in Oregon (thanks for passing it along, Lance!):

“After five years of operation and the publication of 10 issues, High Desert Journal has a sophisticated editorial and artistic vision. To further its potential, High Desert Journal is seeking a person with a strong entrepreneurial spirit who has a high regard for arts and literature, plus a skill set for developing and executing a sales and fundraising strategy to make the publication self-sustaining.

This position can be based anywhere in the West. For more information, please contact Elizabeth Quinn at 541-419-9836 or Or submit cover letter and resume to email address or mail to High Desert Journal, P.O. Box 7647, Bend, OR, 97708.”


mikelk February 4, 2010 at 6:12 am

Hey Susan, It is my last night here on The Rehab Unit. I have spent three weeks here learning how to live with my new hip! I am so glad to see that you are still doing this, and I hope that your writing is going well, just as I hope that your family is happy and healthy. I have finished a new memoir called, “Did you write the book of love,” and I am fifty pages into another one called, “Baking Bread From Scratch,” and I would love for them to see the light of day via agent and publisher. I am also continuing to sell my first memoir, “The Delivery Guy,” via Lulu. Another goal of mine is to keep cranking out my poems at a rate of about 300 a month. Below is a link to a bit that I have been working on about my last three weeks

God Bless You


SusanHenderson February 4, 2010 at 7:39 am

Mikel, how great to hear from you. And happy BIONIC new year! I’m always shocked how productive you are… you were born to write. For you, and for anyone else here looking for an agent or publisher, this is a great resource for publications and contests that may help you to attract attention:

I’m a great believer in stirring several pots at once. So once you send out some query letters to agents (, also enter your work into contests or try to publish portions of it here and there.


mikelk February 11, 2010 at 11:50 am

My first goal is to get a national column.
I have been writing at


fora couple of years, and on my FaceBook page,

and I would like to expand on those, audience wise.

My second goal is to find an agent for my recently completed memoir,
“Did You Write The Book of Love?”


and to complete my next memoir, “Baking Bread From Scratch,”
which I am about 75 pages into.

I also want to continue writing 3 to 10 poems a day.

Thanks for asking!
Best to all of you,
Mikel K Poet


SusanHenderson February 11, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Really powerful, concrete goals. Please tell us as you check them off.

The best advice I ever got, and it was from my first agent, was to stop writing short stories. I’m only saying this because she said, what’s your goal, and I said, I want to sell this novel and then write more of them. So she said, why are you writing short stories (knowing practically no one buys short story collections) and I answered because I’m good at them and I can publish them throughout the year and make my resume look better… in order to sell my novel. And she told me the only publication that would give her any leverage in the business was if I got a story into the New Yorker. And then she said, just please stop writing short stories. Put all that extra energy into your novel writing. And everything, EVERYTHING changed from then on. I’m only saying that, if your goal is to write and sell a novel this year, then maybe you can put the poems on hold for a year. And I’d say this to my friend who writes a haiku every day, too. And feel free to ignore my advice, always, but it was life-changing for me, and so I’m going to pass along the tip.


mikelk February 11, 2010 at 2:09 pm

Thank you Susan, I appreciate your advice. What would you say is the best way to find an agent. I got 65 cold call rejections when I was trying to find one for my first memoir, “The Delivery Guy.” Did I quit too soon. What can a person with no contacts in “The Biz,” do to get an agent…keep trying I know, but any other tips?!!


SusanHenderson February 11, 2010 at 2:47 pm

I’m a huge believer in chemistry. Go where agents are and see who you click with. In NY, it’s easier because agents and editors and publishers go to local readings and parties. Probably that way in L.A., too. But for the rest, the best place to meet agents face to face is to go here:

Here’s more detail about it:


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