Writer, wonderer, wanderer: Me in a nutshell
I create compelling fiction and non-fiction for a curious world.
If you’re new here: Hi, I’m Anthony St. Clair. I create compelling fiction and non-fiction for a curious world full of everyday discoveries, endeavors, and surprises. Since 2000 I’ve worked in online content, and I’ve been a full-time independent writer since 2011. I am the author of the ongoing Rucksack Universe series; cover craft beer, food, business, entrepreneurship, and more for various publications; and am a copywriter and content manager for select clients. When not at my desk or in my kitchen in Eugene, Oregon, I’m on an adventure with my wife, son, and daughter.
2017 saw some challenges and big changes on my overall writing. In 2015 I started tracking my writing, and it’s helped me understand how I write, how long it takes me to write, and when I’ve been consistent and inconsistent. In 2017, I started setting some bigger goals—and later in the year committed to writing every day. Here’s how that’s going so far:
- Goal: 350,000 words
- Actual words: 364,016 (yay!)
- Average words per day: 1,280
- Avg. words/month: 30,335
Not bad. Starting in November, I put into place more concrete goals for 2018. Here’s where things are right now, with numbers as of Jan. 14, 2018:
- Goal: 420,000 words for the year (plus a Stretch Goal of 500,000)
- Monthly target: 35,000 words per month
- Daily target: 1,200 words minimum per day
- January so far: 21,488 words (as of Jan. 14)
Year’s off to a good start. Articles are getting filed. New short stories are getting drafted, and I’m looking ahead to the next Rucksack Universe books to work on too. Outlines and character notes are being developed.
I’ve also been curious about how long I can hold a writing streak, where I write every day in a row. My son has been doing this with his violin practice—and he’s currently on pace for 300 days in a row. I’m at 91 days so far with my writing, and at 100 I’ll take stock.
After starting my business in 2011, I spiffed up the website, but it’s time for a refresh. With 4 books and hundreds of articles out, the site needs to better reflect what readers, editors, and such are looking for. That work is underway, and I’ll be working on it throughout the year.
Chief Reader has finished reading Wander (previously known as ROADSONG)! We have some last notes to go over this week. I have a few things to re-work, then will get MS over to my copy editor and start the cover design process with my cover designer. Wander will be out to you later this year (and I’ll let you know when a free sample will be available)!
Now that Chief Reader is done with Wander, she’s going to be turning her critical eye to some short stories and then to Cloud Fortress. She’s got a busy year ahead!
Adding more short fiction to the Rucksack Universe
For ages now I’ve been figuring out how to do more short fiction in the Rucksack Universe. It’s been really, really hard, and I have a Scrivener file littered with false starts and abandoned stories. Over the past few months I’ve finally been making some headway. Some final pieces to the puzzle included a chat with my colleague Mary Lowd, as well as this illuminating Creative Penn podcast interview with speculative fiction author Douglas Smith. I recently finished his book on the subject too, Playing the Short Game: How to Market and Sell Short Fiction.
This year I’ll be writing more short fiction in the Rucksack Universe, introducing new characters and telling some various pivotal stories about characters you’ve already met. Those abandoned stories in Scrivener? I know what to do with them now—and they’re going to get done.
Speaking about how setting brings stories alive
On Jan. 4, Mid-Valley Willamette Writers hosted me for a presentation on setting. We had a good house at Tsunami Books in Eugene. I shared my 4 principles for how setting brings a story alive and brings readers to the heart of a story, then we went into a robust Q&A session where I took people’s questions about their own thoughts on setting, or challenges they were working on in their own writing. It was a wonderful evening, and it has me thinking about doing more with my talk on setting.
Filing and publishing articles
2018 has already had a few deadlines, with more to come throughout the month. In 2017 I published 66 articles. Here are 4 recent ones:
Whenever we visit some particular friends in Portland, I always have a few goes on their Perfect Pullup Bar. So, for my birthday, my family got me one!
I’ve been following one of Perfect’s workouts, and am feeling stronger. Or, to put that another way, I started being able to do 1 pullup, and now it looks like I’m at two. Not a bad start, and I’m curious as to how far I can go with pullups (and the other ab and such workouts that you can do with the bar). Even though I have my own bar now, I’ll still have a go on our friends’ bar whenever we’re in Portland.
I’m also a big fan of Yoga With Adriene’s free yoga videos & online yoga classes, and have been working through her #YWATrue 30 Days of Yoga. A challenge from last year was working more yoga into my week—and I’m finally making headway. I’m seeing that I can do yoga every day if I commit to it and keep it top of mind, just like my writing. This year there will be lots, lots more yoga in my life—and I’m really glad. I can see and feel the benefits, and love how yoga makes me feel.
Playing more games
Over the holidays, various family helped us build out our collection of games. Previously we’d had some games tucked away in a nearby closet (in part because we were still in that period where there was a young child who decide game pieces were edible). I reorganized some shelves in the family room to make the games easier to see and get out. It’s been so fun to play games with Jodie and the kids—and I’m seriously in love with Qwirkle.
Some nearby friends recently started a winter game night and potluck. For a recent one, I whipped up this delicious King Arthur Flour Cornbread Recipe (and added some minced sage from the garden). The cornbread was moist and flavorful, with the right chew. It also baked up really well in the new 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet my wife gave me for Christmas.
What’s your story?
Always intrigued by other people’s stories, so feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I typically update what I’m doing NOW about once a month, more if merited. Most recent update: January 15, 2018.