January Status Report: 2012 Goals

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To keep myself accountable for the goals I set for 2012, I’ve decided to keep track of my progress with a post at the end of each month.  Goals have a funny way of falling by the wayside due to everyday life and that pesky habit of procrastination that stymies even the best of us.  While my dream board helps me stay focused, an extra insurance policy of accountability will ensure I don’t wander off!

Here’s where I stand for each goal:

1) Submit five pieces of writing. 

I haven’t submitted anything, but I have been doing a lot of research on literary magazines where I can send my work.  I created a folder on my desktop to store links and submission guidelines.  At the moment, I have three strong contenders for a short story I feel is good enough to submit.

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

At the moment, my novel is resting comfortably on a shelf.  However, it’s not in the name of procrastination but rather a much needed bit of distance.  I’m at the point where I’m way too attached and involved.  I need a fresh pair of eyes before I start completing any structural changes, (no matter how small).  At the same time, I am happy to report that the first five chapters have been fully edited in terms of grammar and spelling.

3) Work on my second novel.

My muse and I have been very active on this front.  Over the course of January, I’ve written 3,654 words, reworked multiple plot points, and created two new characters.  This is my central project at the moment and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.

I’m relatively happy with my query letter after making a few minor adjustments, but I still want to tinker with it a little more.  I added four more agents to my list of possibilities and I continue to do more research via directories and agent websites.  The synopsis, however, is still nonexistent as I continue to  struggle with the format.

5) Keep up with my blog.

So far, so good!  Despite staying busy with so many other things, I’ve been able to consistently post three or four times a week.

6) Network more with other writers.

Surprisingly, I’ve made some decent headway on this goal!  Socializing is not my forté (I take on the role of a reclusive writer with much more ease), but I realize the only way to get my writing out there is to get myself out there.  The extension of my social network is evident on my sidebar:

  • I’ve added a new twitter button and now share my tweets.
  • Over on facebook, I created a Writer Page for my pen name.  I update the page daily with blog information and musings of a writer.  Click “Like” to follow along!
  • I joined goodreads to be part of the reading community as well as the writing community.  Eventually, I plan on creating a goodreads author page.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

This one is hard to gauge, but I hope I’m a positive influence and inspiration for those around me.

Hopefully, I can keep the momentum going in February!

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c.b. 2012

Snappy Blog Awards

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Earlier this week, I was lucky enough to receive two blog awards from a couple of bloggers I really admire.  I’m always so honored when fellow bloggers are kind enough to recognize my blog.  Thank you to The Flying Yenta for the 7×7 Link Award and redjim99 of notyetthere for The Versatile Blogger Award.  I would highly recommend visiting both sites, for they are wholly unique and always offer an interesting read.  The Flying Yenta is a talented writer who just had one of her stories accepted for publication, (Congratulations!) and over on notyetthere, you’ll find  wonderful recent post that documents a climb up the Manchester Clock Tower.

  

This is my third time receiving The Versatile Blogger Award, (it never gets old!), so I’m going to combine the requirements of acceptance with the 7×7.  However, you can see my Versatile Blogger acceptance requirements by reading, A Nice Surprise.

Share something about yourself that others don’t know.

I drive a stick shift and I’m proud of the fact that I can.  It’s a dying art.

Link seven posts from your blog that you think are worthy.

It was tough trying to figure out which seven posts are worthy, so I decided to go with the posts that triggered the biggest conversations among readers.  These are the Top Seven most commented posts on my blog and therefore the most worthy:

The Best Souvenirs Are Free

Wreck This Journal: Letting Go

Project Art Journal

Freshly Pressed Shocked Syndrome

I Write Like . . .

Wreck This Journal: Be Unpredictable

Wreck This Journal: Freedom

Bonus: Let Me Live is a story I posted last week and the reader response was well beyond what I expected, so to me that makes it worthy of a bonus slot.

Nominate seven other bloggers that deserve the award and haven’t received it yet.

The Literary Mom

I just recently stumbled upon this blog and every time I visit, I think to myself, “Why couldn’t I have found this months ago?”  She is currently writing a fantastic series of posts about the fine art of query letters and crafting that pesky synopsis.  Her advice offers simple, common sense solutions to the slew of problems we all face when trying land an agent.

Sky Diaries

My day isn’t complete until I’ve read a post on Sky Diaries.  This honest and inspiring blog documents the ups and downs of what it is to be a writer.  She isn’t afraid to admit the defeats and she celebrates the victories with the brightest light imaginable.

Once Upon A Grain of Sand

This delightful blog has some of the best inspiration when it comes to craft projects and life in general.  The atmosphere is bright with whimsical paintings, home decor projects, and most recently a beautiful bead and wire pendant.  I love her spirit of experimenting without fear of failure.

Kate’s Bookshelf

Kate has it all – books, haikus, photography, and flash fiction!  Her love of books and the beauty of her writing makes her blog one of my favorites.  In particular, her haikus offer a unique perspective on the world around us as do her amazing photographs.

Stir

Every day brings a beautiful photograph and a lingering thought that stays with me throughout the day.  Visit this artistic blog for amazing moments of color, nature, inspiration, and wordsmithing.

The Gratitude Garden

This is probably the most positive blog out there!  Each day there is something to be thankful for and this fantastic blogger lists her daily moments of gratitude.  In turn, she encourages others to leave reasons to be thankful.  I love the reminder to see my day through the lens of gratitude.

Peach Farm Studio

Ever wonder what a typewriter is thinking?  A series of delightful typewriter messages is what first brought me to this creative blog.  When the typewriter isn’t dispensing wisdom, Peach Farm always reminds me that inspiration is everywhere.

To accept your 7×7 Link Award:

  • Thank who nominated you and include a link
  • List something others don’t know about you
  • Choose seven links on your blog that you think are worthy
  • Nominate 7 bloggers who have not received the award and include links
  • Notify the bloggers you have nominated

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c.b. 2012

Wonder Lines

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A good friend recently gave me a wonderful book called Rip the Page by Karen Benke.  It’s filled with interesting writing exercises that encourage a writer to play with words and experiment with style.  Much like Wreck This Journal forced me to jump out of my comfort zone, Rip the Page challenges me to write with an entirely different perspective.  My muse is in an uproar, but I’m making her play along anyway.

In “Questions Without Answers,” Benke encourages the creation of wondering lines that start with: who, what, where, why, how, whendo, is, if, would, and could.  The idea is to write whatever question comes to mind without worrying about the answer or whether it makes sense. There’s nothing quite like a free write to loosen up the inner voice of my muse!

My questions came out of nowhere, but I was surprised at how they all seemed to link despite my random train of thought.  Even though I wasn’t supposed to answer each question, I couldn’t help but respond to my own inquiries.  In a sense, I ended up having a conversation with myself that lead to more than one epiphany.  A new short story is hiding somewhere in my Wonder Lines . . .

Who really knows the truth?

Everyone and no one. You decide.

What is reality without boundaries?

The life I wish to live.

Where would treasure hide if given the choice of anywhere in the world?

It already hides inside of each and every person.  Whether its found depends on whether we are willing to look.

Why is fear the one thing that always holds us back?

It has so much power because we fool ourselves into thinking we are weaker than some abstract “thing.”

How do dreams falter even as passion thrives?

Fear and doubt override passion every time when they are allowed free rein.

When does fate decide what will be and what will not?

Somewhere between always and never.

Do you believe?

Yes. There is always something to believe in, no matter the circumstance.

Is there a way to break free of all that binds?

Yes.  If you are brave enough to recognize that which binds.

If the sky fell, would I still be able to see the stars?

I hope so.

Would light exist without the dark?

They are one in the same.

Could this all be a figment of my imagination?

Possibly and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

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c.b. 2012

Wreck This Journal: Innovation

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I smile every time I work on my Wreck This Journal pages because they always put me in a situation where I never imagined myself.  Or have me doing something I never thought myself capable of completing.  For instance, who would have thought a book lover would fling a book across the room? When we challenge ourselves to do the unexpected, we open ourselves up to a world where anything is possible.  This is where innovation lives, just waiting for us to break free and find it.

This week’s page was a golden ticket to innovation in that it asked me to do something so ridiculous I was wondering if there was a punch line hiding on the next page.  I had to find a way to wear my journal! The most obvious idea was to wear it as a hat, but I can’t balance a book on my head to save my life. My pockets weren’t big enough to hold the journal and I didn’t have any yarn handy to tie it to my foot as a shoe.  There was only one option left:

    

My hoodie saves the day!

I should preface this by mentioning, I have a “thing” for hoodies.  My closet is full of them, in almost every color, weight, fit/cut, and fabric.  As far as I’m concerned there’s a hoodie for every occasion, so I usually wear them every day.  A fashionista I am not, but I am a sucker for comfort. As luck would have it, I was wearing a zip up hoodie that had some room where I could tuck my journal. One quick yank of the zipper pull and my journal was secure and visible as part of my outfit.  I wore it for a good hour while I memorialized my hoodie accessory with a drawing on my journal page.

This very simple exercise had me considering options that were really quite nonsensical, but the point is it got me thinking about those possibilities in the first place. The ability to break out of what’s considered normal or expected is what allows for creativity.  As a writer, this skill is critical if I want to write original stories.  I can’t be afraid to try something weird or consider an option that makes no sense.  Even if an idea doesn’t work,  I still consider it a stepping stone to one that will.

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

c.b. 2012