2013 Goals: July Status Report

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July is one of those months that got away from me! Between working feverishly on lesson plans and taking a vacation, I fell a little short of completing my goals for this month. However, instead of beating myself up over it, I am choosing to be thankful for some much needed rest.

While some things were pushed back on the to-do list, others remained front and center. Even with so many distractions, my writing is never far from view.

1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

As of yesterday, the third draft of Novel #2 is complete! All clean up edits are done and I now have a relatively polished manuscript. YAY!

I am admittedly behind on this goal (I wanted to be done by early July), but I’ll still take the victory. Next up, I’ll be doing another read through, but I don’t anticipate many changes. I’m at the point where I’ve done all I can on my own. It’s time to put it out there and see what happens.

2) Work on converting Novel #1 into first person.

Still on the shelf (and that’s okay).

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

This goal is still technically on the shelf (to allow time for Novel #2), but as with last month, I am still writing a lot of poetry.  Photographs I took over the summer continue to be an enormous source of inspiration. Perhaps, a poetry contest or a journal submission is on the horizon.

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

My mini-goal for July was to complete the short synopsis for Novel #2, but unfortunately I only have half of a synopsis. However, I made some good headway on something I struggle with, so it’s not a complete failure!

Despite struggles with the synopsis, I am still happy with my query letter draft. During the month of August I’ll be putting it to the test. See Goal #5 for details.

5) Continue building author platform

Last month, I thought about spending more time on Twitter. Then, I realized it was more of a distraction than a pathway towards my goals. Twitter has it’s benefits, but I’m in the process of deciding how much of a role it will have in my future as a writer.

Facebook, however, has proven to be a great way to connect to other writers and promote my blog. I love reading about the successes of fellow writers and I find their stories to be very motivating. I may spend a little too much time on Facebook, but in many ways it’s time well spent!

Aside from social media, I’ve decided to participate in WriteOnCon this year. On August 13-14, WriteOnCon opens with forums, online conferences, query critiques, and advice from agents.  With a section dedicated to YA, I figure I have nothing to lose by submitting my query letter for Novel #2. Agents from well-known agencies visit the forums, while also participating in online workshops. This is a great opportunity for exposure, so I’m going to jump in with both feet.

My Facebook Page has grown from  312 to 322

On Twitter, my followers have gone from 534 to 531 (understandable, seeing as I really haven’t been tweeting)

Thanks so much to all my followers. Your support and encouragement means so much!

As with June, this month was another good one for new blog subscribers. While my daily stats are low, watching the subscription number rise is motivation enough to keep posting.

6)  Read three books on the writing/publishing process.

I’m still happily entrenched in the world of Maisie Dobbs. I’m probably going to stay there until I catch up to the latest installment!

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

As always, I can only hope I am a positive presence!

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How are you doing on your 2013 goals?

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c.b.w. 2013

2013 Goals: April Status Report

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Any regular follower of my blog knows that April was a busy month for my muse and I. The A to Z Challenge took over my writing schedule and pushed me to make deadlines without sacrificing my creativity. All in all, I consider April to be a very successful month in terms of my goals.

1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

Revisions for Draft #2 are complete. I have since uploaded my revised draft onto my Kindle Fire, so I can fine-tune things a bit more. Using this format accomplishes two things:

  • It is super exciting and encouraging to see my novel as it would appear in an e-book format.
  • After reading my draft a million times as a Word document, it really helps to see sentences and paragraphs in a different way. I’m noticing little things that I just didn’t see in the original document. It’s really helping me spot little mistakes!

2) Work on converting Novel #1 into first person.

Still on the shelf (and that’s okay).

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

I have three writing magazines queued up, so I can start searching for competition and submission opportunities.

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

I got my hands on some new resources that might help me give my query a boost. If those resources turn out to be sound, I’ll pass them along. During May, I’m hoping to dig into my query and complete some much needed revisions.

5) Continue building author platform

The bulk of April was devoted to completing the  A to Z Challenge. I’m proud to report I completed the challenge on time and without missing a single letter. Yay! Thanks to all my old and new readers for stopping by throughout the challenge.

As for social media, I spent more time in the blogosphere than I did Facebooking or Tweeting. With the challenge complete, I’m hoping to jump right back into the social networking scene.

My Facebook Page has grown from  284 to 291

On Twitter, my followers went from 528 to 525

Thanks so much to all my followers. Your support and encouragement means so much!

6)  Read three books on the writing/publishing process.

April was a good month for this goal, as well. I read How I Got Published Ed. by Ray White and Duane Lindsay. A full review is on the way, but in short I found this book to be very helpful and encouraging.

One down, two to go!

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

As always, I can only hope I am a positive presence!

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How are you doing on your 2013 goals?

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c.b.w. 2013

2013 Goals: March Status Report

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It was a big month for the first goal I set for 2013. After five months of intense work, revisions are complete on Novel #2! Maybe now the rest of my goals will get some attention!

Special Note: My blog schedule will change during the month of April. Please see notes on Goal #5 for more details!

1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

Start Word Count: 55,440
End Word Count: 75,808
Total: 20,368

As of three days, ago revisions on Novel #2 are complete! WOO-HOO! I am doubly proud of the fact that I set a personal best word count total for a month’s worth of work. Novel #2 is now in the hands of my beta reader and so far, the response has been great!

2) Work on converting Novel #1 into first person.

I’ve decided to let Novel #1 sit until the summer when I have more time to devote to a total re-write. Part of me still wonders if I should jump into this or just let it go. My muse still pulls me towards Novel #2 and it’s sequel, so it’s become a game of wait and see.

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

With revisions complete on Novel #2, I’ll have a lot more time to write entries and research submission opportunities. I plan on using that time!

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

Once my beta reader finishes reading Draft 2, I’m going to make a few adjustments and then jump back into my query letter. After spending so much time on revisions, I’m hoping the same gumption will benefit my query draft.

5) Continue building author platform

 Stay tuned to my blog during the month of April for the A to Z Challenge. I will be featuring posts with photography and writing devoted to travel in a series titled, A to Z Abroad.  Essentially, I will be sharing pictures from my global travels and pairing them with historical trivia and creative writing. These posts will start tomorrow, so stay tuned!

As for social media, a busy few weeks at work and a nasty sinus infection meant I didn’t spend as much time as I would have like online. Thank you to my new Facebook followers for giving my numbers a little jump. As for Twitter, I lost a few along the way, but I hope to make up for that in April.

My Facebook Page has grown from 276 Likes to 284

On Twitter, my followers went from 523 to 528

Thanks so much to all my followers. Your support and encouragement means so much!

6)  Read three books on the writing/publishing process.

I’m still (happily) lost in YA urban fantasy. Currently, I am glued to Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess. If anything, I am reading like a writer and learning from the best!

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

As always, I can only hope I am a positive presence!

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Happy Easter!! Enjoy those chocolate bunnies and hardboiled eggs!

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c.b.w. 2013

2013 Goals: February Status Report

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Even though I have seven goals on my list for this year, it seems my muse only has eyes for one. Novel #2 continues to be at the forefront of my efforts and I’m thrilled to report I am heading rapidly towards the finish line of a second draft. While it bothers me that some of my goals have seen little or no movement, I’m trying to remind myself that I gave myself permission to make Novel #2 a priority. So far, my muse agrees with that move and I’m not about to argue with her.

1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

Sticking to a writing schedule helped me finish another month with a five digit word count total. The more I work on Novel #2, the more excited I get about it. Every day I literally cannot wait to get home and jump into Amanda’s world. That obsession paid off with great stats for the month of February:

Start Word Count: 40,103
End Word Count: 55,440
Total: 15,337

73% Completion

Every Monday, I post updates on the status of Novel #2. Follow along for tidbits on my writing process and a sneak peek into different elements of the story.

2) Work on converting Novel #1 into first person.

Novel #2 continues to occupy my attention, so this remains shelved until revisions are complete.

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

I have my eye on two competitions and I’m currently brainstorming ideas for a short story or two.

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

By sheer luck, I came across two agents who are currently looking for submissions that fit the specific genre in which Novel #2 fits. I’m taking this as a good sign that I’m on the right track. I saved their information so I can query them when Novel #2 is a polished manuscript.

5) Continue building author platform

The A to Z Blog Challenge looked like so much fun last year, but I was too busy with other things to join. This year, however, is different. I signed up and I’m already starting to come up with ideas to cover every letter of the alphabet. Stop by the A to Z Challenge website to check out the details and join in the fun!

As for social media, Facebook and Goodreads have been my main hangouts, but I managed to gain followers across the board:

My Facebook Page has grown from 262 Likes to 276

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 504 to 523

Thanks so much to all my new followers. Your support means so much!

To be part of the fun, see my sidebar.

6)  Read three books on the writing/publishing process.

Recently, I went to a used book sale where I loaded up on some great fiction. It’s also not helping that I have my nose stuck in some great YA novels (the Beautiful Creatures series and Sever from the Chemical Garden series). Seeing as it’s only February, I’m not worried, yet.

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

As always, I can only hope I am a positive presence!

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c.b.w. 2013

2013 Goals: January Status Report

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1) Complete final draft of Novel #2.

This month, I continued the revision process and I’m on track to achieve my sub-goal of completing revisions within the next 2½ months. In the middle of January, I crossed the halfway mark!  I expected to hit this milestone at the end of January, so this is a major victory on multiple fronts.

Overall, revisions are going really well. Those who have kept up with my Novel #2 Progress posts know my beta reader has given me some great feedback. I am so encouraged to keep plugging along on this project!

Lastly, in conjunction with another sub-goal, I am keeping track of progress via a bar graph on my sidebar. This widget tracks my progress as I work my way through Draft #1. As I work through each section, I keep track of how many words have gone through my radar.

Start Word Count: 27,507
End Word Count: 40,103
Total: 12,596

2) Work on converting Novel #1 into first person.

Novel #2 continues to occupy my attention, so this remains shelved until revisions are complete.

3) Submit 5 pieces of writing.

I love it when an opportunity presents itself in the most unexpected of places. While perusing Facebook I came across a post from Simon’s Cat announcing a poetry competition. I jumped at the chance to enter because it sounded like so much fun, but also because it would hit two of my 2013 goals at once:

  • Submit one series or piece of poetry
  • Submit one item out of my element

Earlier this week, I submitted a poem that my readers voted as their top choice. While this is a small competition, I think its a nice place to start the year.

4) Submit three query letters for Novel #2

I made a few more adjustments to my query letter, but I’m hesitant to do much more until revisions are complete on the manuscript. Then, I can devote my full attention to polishing the query.

5) Continue building author platform

While I was very present on Facebook, I spent the majority of my time exploring Goodreads. I’ve joined two groups, one focused on reading and another focused on writing. The writing group offers multiple opportunities to submit poetry to the Goodreads monthly newsletter, so I’m looking at that as another possible submission outlet. In addition, I’m making it a point to write reviews for the books I read and join in conversations.

Overall, it was a good month for growth in followers:

My Facebook Page has grown from 241 Likes to 262

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 462 to 504

As I revise, my musings often end up on either venue of social media. There’s nothing more entertaining than a writer who’s had waaaaay too much caffeine. See my sidebar to join in the fun!

6)  Read three books on the writing/publishing process.

For Christmas, I got The Writer’s Compass by Nancy Ellen Dodd. It’s nearing the top of my “to read” pile.

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

As always, I can only hope I am a positive presence!

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c.b.w. 2013