Welcome to the Beach House AiR blog!
In celebration of Marion Davies’ support of artists, and to further the work of artists in all disciplines, the City of Santa Monica created the Annenberg Community Beach House Artist Residency program. Several times a year a local artist works out of an office at the Marion Davies Guest House, sharing their progress with the public both in person and online. Visit http://annenbergbeachhouse.com/cultural-programs for more information. #ArtSaMo
Monday, February 8, 2016
week #5 - What's in My Toolbox?
like to think of myself as having a metaphorical writer’s toolbox I carry
around with me at all times.
My toolbox is an amalgam of all of the wisdom, both
theoretical and practical, that I have amassed regarding the writing process
over the course of my life.
I wanted to talk about a few of the practical tools in my toolbox that help
keep me organized and productive.
I recently shared on Instagram
(find me as JenniferCaloyeras) a photo of the six projects I’m working on all
in various stages of revision.
It can be hard to keep track of the
various stages of revision for each project.
I keep them organized in a labeled
file folder on my desk.
At the front of each folder, I
stick a post it that labels what needs to be done next. For example: “Print and edit
pages 1 – 50” or “Start typing edit on page 75”.
Excel has become my very best friend for keeping track of
submissions. Each project I complete has its own excel spreadsheet in order to
keep track of query letters I send out, what the response was, if there’s any
follow up, dates and any notes the reader might have added (sometime even with
a rejection will come a note saying, “it wasn’t right for this issue, but
please send more!”
Because I have a short fiction collection, it can get
complicated sending out thirteen different stories to different literary magazines
and anthologies, but with the excel spreadsheet I can keep track of them all as
well as view them by date or by story.
I like to keep information regarding different genres I
write in front of me. Sometimes, those will include important due dates for
submissions, research I’m conducting or even photos for inspiration.
A little notebook:
I am the queen of collecting little writing journals.
Sometimes I’ll use a new journal to start a new project. Often in the beginning
stages of a writing project I prefer writing ideas out by hand.
Currently, I’m using this plain moleskin, given to me
years ago by my sister in law, to keep track of all things writing including
ideas, appearances and to do lists.
A filing system:
Until something appears in book or journal form, I like to
hold on to all drafts. What if I cut something that I need later on? This way,
I have it. I keep my files alphabetized by title and all my creative writing
folders are purple so they don’t get mixed in with health care or other files.
A lined notepad
Whenever I start revising a book-length piece of work, it
gets assigned a lined notepad. As I read through the work I’ll do line edits on
the manuscript, but I’ll use the notepad to keep track of more global changes
or questions. I usually allot about two pages per chapter. When I go to revise,
I do so chapter by chapter, starting with the line edits and then moving on to
the bigger, more global aspects that need to be changed.
Programs that prevent you from going on the Internet:
There are a few ways in which technology can keep you from
being distracted by technology:
Anti-Social: this app lets you set the time you want to
write and during this time you are blocked from all social media on your
Write or Die: this program allows you to set writing goals
and then should you stop writing, the app will wither gently remind you with a
pop up window (gentle mode), play an unpleasant sound until you continue
writing (normal mode), or your writing will begin to unwrite itself (kamikaze
Coffitivity: for those of you that work better in a coffee
shop vibe rather than in silence, Coffitivity will create background coffee
shop ambient noise.
On Tuesday, February 9th at 6:30 - we will be discussing our strategies for creative
writing and revision – come join us and add more ideas to your toolbox!
Join authors Zsuzsi
Gartner, Matthew Specktor, Andrea Quaid and Jennifer Caloyeras as discuss and
take questions about their various writing strategies. On the page how do we
get from A to Z? How do different mediums and platforms affect the writing
process? Do different projects merit different approaches? Can the process of
writing be taught?
Zsuzsi Gartner is the author of All the Anxious Girls on Earth, and
editor of Darwin’s Bastards: Astounding Tales from Tomorrow. Her most
recent book, Better Living through Plastic Explosives, was a 2011
Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist. She is the founding director of Writers
Adventure Camp at The Point in Whistler, B.C. She’s at work on a novel.
Matthew Specktor is the author of the novels American Dream Machine and That
Summertime Sound, as well as a nonfiction book about the motion picture The
Sting. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paris Review,
The Believer, Tin House, Black Clock, and Salon.com, among other
publications. He was a senior editor and founding member of the Los Angeles
Review of Books.
Andrea Quaid is co-editor of Acts + Encounters, a collection of works
about experimental writing and community. Recent critical and creative
publications include the American Book Review, BOMBlog, Jacket2, Lana
Turner, LIT and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She teaches in Bard
College’s MAT Program (Los Angeles) and Language and Thinking Program (New
York) as well as California Institute of the Arts. Currently, she is writing a
book on contemporary experimental women’s writing and the literary epic.
Jennifer Caloyeras is the 2016 Writer-in-Residence at the Beach House, and will be
working on a novel in the Marion Davies Guest House from 1/12/16-3/15/16.
Her most recent novel, Strays, is for young
adults and explores an incarcerated teen's relationship with a pit bull. Caloyeras'
short fiction has appeared in Booth, Storm Cellar and other literary
magazines. She holds a M.A. in English from Cal State Los Angeles and a M.F.A.
in creative writing from the University of British Columbia. Jennifer’s current
project is her first adult novel – a mixture of humor and pathos – that
explores a mother’s journey with her transgendered six-year-old daughter, and
the weight of expectations parents place on their children. She will share her work with three public events, a weekly blog,
and open office hours throughout her tenure (schedule below). Her website: jennifercaloyeras.com.
Mondays January 25 – March 7, 11am-2pm: Open Office Hours – come
by Jennifer’s office at the Beach House with any literary questions
Follow her weekly updates to the Resident
in January 2016.
Stop by early to save your seat and check out the historic
Tickets are free but space is limited and reservations
are required. Arrive by 15 min before start time to retain your reservation.
Late seating, even for reservation-holders, is not guaranteed. To adjust or
cancel your reservation for this event, email firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate
your keeping in touch!
Getting Here: The Beach House is located at 415 Pacific Coast Highway,
Santa Monica, CA 90402 on the west side of Pacific Coast Highway. Enter off PCH
at the Beach House Way traffic light.
Parking: The parking rate is Nov - Mar: $8/day or $3/hour, Apr -
Oct: $12/day or $3/hour, payable at the park and pay machines in three
areas of the ACBH parking lot. Credit cards or exact change only. Handicapped
placards and Senior Beach Permits are accepted. For other parking info and lot
hours, please check the website for details.
General Info: For hours, events and more, visit annenbergbeachhouse.com, or call (310)
458-4904. Back on the Beach Café hours are subject to change but
are generally through 3pm in the off season & 8pm in the summer, call (310)
393-8282 to confirm.