Well, hello there.
I know it has been a while... the last thing I posted was a fairly uninteresting post about note taking, and that was in September. Oops. That's what school does, though. Blogging kind of gets bumped to the bottom of my to do list. Also I'm not quite sure where I want to go with this blogging thing anymore. For now, I think I'll just keep it as a place to discuss writing and reading like I always have, although more and more now Twitter and Tumblr are becoming those places for me.
I guess the biggest thing for me in the past four months, at least writing-wise, was entering a short story contest, which shouldn't have been a really big thing, but it was for me.
In the past, I've submitted short stories sporadically to teen writer magazines or teen writer short story contests. (I have since moved up to the "adult" age bracket unfortunately, since the competition is heavier.) I've been published once in a magazine when I was thirteen (and that magazine has since gone under), and when I was fifteen I won third place in a local writing contest, but that's it. Even then, I've only submitted stuff maybe ten or so times.
A friend of mine took a musical theatre class this summer, and one of the things she learned struck me. In the class they talked about how you should do lots and lots of auditions, no matter if you think you're going to get the part or not. It's just good practice, to do lots of auditions and get a feel for what they are like in order to become more comfortable with them. I thought that was really good advice. It also led me to think of my sorry history of submitting my writing. It's probably the perfectionist in me (actually it definitely is) but I like the idea of only submitting really great stuff that I feel is actually of worthy of winning. That kind of thinking is fine I guess, but it has not led me to take risks and submit stuff or to actually sit down and write more short stories than I otherwise would.
So, anyway, I decided to change my philosophy about writing contests and made a goal to enter more writing contests this year. I just happened to be in the library one day and saw there was a writing contest coming up. I toyed around with a few ideas, took way too long to actually sit down and write, and wrote a 6000-ish word short story, that in my opinion was mediocre at best. But the fun thing was, even though it wasn't a great story, I had actually written something (and the best way to get better at writing, I've discovered, is writing) and I actually thought a couple of the lines of the story were pretty good.
Granted, I have not written anything other than that short story (and some essays for school) in 4 months, so the way I think about writing still needs some work, but it's a start.