2012 Writing Goals

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With the new year approaching, my writer’s group is getting ready to revisit our writing goals from last year and create new goals for 2012.  I only made three writing resolutions last year because they were big goals and frankly, a bit overwhelming.  I’m happy to report that I met all of them: 1) Submit three pieces of work for publication. 2) Finish the final draft of my novel and be happy with it. 3) Let someone other than myself and my best friend read the finished manuscript.

For 2012, I’m setting the bar much higher as a way to silence my inner critic.  I always work better with a deadline and keeping busy will ensure there’s no time for my inner critic to spout her poison. I set the following goals to push myself harder than I ever have before, while also making sure I don’t burn out my muse.

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.  I have a number of short stories, essays, and poems stored on my hard drive.  In addition, I have loads of ideas for new pieces.  It’s time to start polishing, writing, and sending them to prospective publications.

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.  When I got my manuscript back from four beta readers, they all found the same glaring flaw.  While its basically finished, I want to go back in and fix the flaw.  I know what to do and it should be an easy edit.

3) Work on my second novel.  At the moment, the first draft is approaching the halfway mark. Ideally, I’d like to finish it before the year is out, but I’m going to be more realistic and shoot for reaching a benchmark of 60,000 words total. I’m at 42,000 now and I think I can punch out 18,000 words by next December.

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.  I set this goal a little prematurely back in October and I realized very quickly I bit off more than I could chew.  The perfectionist in me needs a little more time to make both my query and synopsis the best they can be.  I may have failed at sending out queries by the end of 2011, but the lessons I learned from not reaching that goal will push me to try harder in 2012.

5) Keep up with my blog.  This should be an easy one!  My muse and I are always inspired to write for all my wonderful readers!

6) Network more with other writers.  I’ve never been an overly social person, so this will be a challenge.  I began this process a little bit this year by connecting with other writers via wordpress.  The experience has been wonderful and that encourages me to reach out a little more.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.  As a writer and a teacher, I love helping people find their words.  Whether it be with an encouraging comment or a full-scale critique, I’ll do whatever I can to keep writer’s writing.

What are your writing goals?

c.b. 2011

The Bright Side of Losing

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No one ever said writing would be easy.  It’s a blood sport and you have to be willing to take a number of brutal blows to your confidence.  First, there’s the inner critic who always has a nasty word on the tip of her tongue.  Then, there’s a reader who doesn’t get it.  And don’t forget the agent who isn’t interested or the editor who thinks your short story isn’t good enough.  The list goes on and on.

At the moment, my inner critic is basking in the fact that I’ve lost yet another writing contest.  She’s quick to point out that this is the fourth one where I haven’t impressed anyone.  It feels a lot like sipping lemonade with a fat lip.   A year ago, a blow like this would have sent me slouching in a corner for a month.  Not now.  If anything, I’m determined to come back swinging.  Four is a little number and I’ve come to look at it like a rite of passage. Every writer with a published book has been rejected more than once and it just so happens to be my turn to pay those dues.

Instead of focusing on the loss, I’m going to focus on my victories over the last few months.  My dream of becoming a writer is slowly coming true one little step at a time.  The victories are small, but they all lead towards the larger goal of finding a publisher.

1. In April, I launched a blog that people actually read.  After much trepidation, I started this blog as a way to motivate my muse.  It’s been an amazing experience and I couldn’t be more grateful for each person who stops by to read my work.

2. In June, I finished the final draft of my novel.  After three years of toil, my first novel can be classified as edited and revised.  To make the journey even more fulfilling, I found the courage to share my work with four beta readers.  The response was overwhelmingly positive, which makes the next step of querying agents so much easier to take.

3. On August 10, 2011 The Daily Post chose to feature Muse Juice.  This was the first time something I’ve written showed up on a site other than my own.  Very exciting, indeed.

4. On August 11, 2011, I got the shock of my life when The Best Souvenirs Are Free was Freshly Pressed.  For a writer who has never been published, this was absolutely amazing.  I’m still giddy.

5. On Thanksgiving Day my letter about a random act of kindness was published in The Arizona Republic.  For the first time, I saw my pen name in print.  My muse and I celebrated with a happy dance.  This victory means the world to me as its the first time an editor chose to publish my work.

The process has only just begun and I can’t wait to see what happens next.  Yes, the rejections are plentiful and always forthcoming, but the victories (no matter how small) outweigh every “no” I receive.

c.b. 2011

Wreck This Journal: Stay Positive

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Christmas may be over, but I’m one of those people that wishes the spirit of the season could last all year long.  I thrive on the kindness, the love, and most of all the positive atmosphere that always surrounds Christmas and Hanukkah.  With all that warm “goo” oozing out of my attitude, I couldn’t help but play with a page in my Wreck This Journal entitled “Page of good thoughts.”

I pulled out my trusty quote journal and picked out a few of my favorite phrases that truly embody the notion of positive thinking.  They always pull me out of the doldrums and inspire me to make the best of each day.

As usual, black and white wasn’t enough for me so I pulled some cheerful hues out of my crayon box and gave each quote a splash of color.  I keep this page marked for when gray clouds threaten to block the sun.  This is especially fitting seeing as New Year’s Eve is just around the corner.  Every year, I renew my goal of living by a simple philosophy that states:  Happiness is a choice.  This belief is rooted in my core and I intend to embrace joy as much as possible in the coming year.

Note:  Its funny that I didn’t notice I spelled Thomas Mann’s name wrong until I started tagging this post.  I’ll be fixing that!  Sorry about that, Mr. Mann.

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For previous Wreck This Journal posts, please visit my sidebar or tag cloud.

c.b. 2011

A Letter To Santa

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Dear Santa,

I don’t want much this year.  Life is good.  I’m happy and my loved ones are safe and cared for.  Everything else is just icing on an otherwise very good cake.  Presents are fun on Christmas, but they are usually forgotten by the next Christmas.  Memories, however, tend to stick around a while longer.  Come Christmas Eve the best gifts I could receive would be laughter in my home from every member of my family and a moment that reminds me what I love about each person.  With life moving forward and constantly changing, who knows how many more Christmases we will have together before someone passes on or moves away.  The time we have is precious and does my heart good.  My wants are few, but here’s my list of Christmas wishes:

  • Mom, I’m waiting for you to feed one of my dogs when you think I’m not looking.
  • Sister, I’m hoping you find the Christmas pickle as you do every single year.
  • Dan, I’m curious of what pearl of wisdom you’ll dispense.
  • Husband, I’m anxious to hear you call Bingo numbers and cook an amazing dinner.
  • Grandpa, I can’t wait to sit you down in front of the TV with a good movie.
  • Grandma, you probably won’t remember, but I pray you will.
  • Dad and Sophie, I’m always thinking of you and hope one day you’ll be able to come to our party.
  • Jan and Jerry, you really don’t have to bring any food, (but you probably will anyway).
  • Mike, you seemed to have fun last year and I hope you do again.
  • Baxter, I’m sure your tail will “break” again from wagging too much.
  • Winston, I’m sorry for dressing you in a Santa suit, again.  You hate it, but you still do it for your mother.
  • Peanut and Bunny, we love you but cats do not belong at a party with Bingo balls and game pieces.
  • As for me, I hope I don’t eat all the fudge again.

Christmas Tree - 2011

May the evening be merry, the food delicious, and the memories unforgettable.

c.b.

p.s. A Pink & Pretty Barbie would be nice, too.  I know you wish I’d grow up and let her go, but she’s the one that got away.  I’m still waiting . . .

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my readers. May the joy of the season find its way to all of you.

c.b. 2011