2015 Goals: March Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

I sent out two more query packages. One has already responded with a rejection, while the other has not responded. It’s only been a couple of weeks, so a response of some kind is still possible. As for dealing with another rejection, I proudly added it to the others and made immediate plans to move forward.

As March comes to an end, I am busy tailoring three more query packages for the next round of agents on my list. One of them requires a synopsis, so I’ll be working hard polishing my synopsis draft.

2. Start writing Lineage.

On the shelf at the moment, as per my plan!

3. Submit poetry.

I submitted poetry to two different competitions:

  • Poetry! Goodreads Newsletter Contest – I didn’t make the finals, but it’s the first time I entered a poem in this competition. I get email notifications all the time, but never do anything about it. This month I decided to take the plunge, which means I hit a personal best!
  • Robert Spiess Memorial Competition (via Modern Haiku) – I submitted five haikus at the last minute! This competition is probably way out of my league, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try.

I also completed another month of National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. While February is the official haiku writing month, the organization offers up daily haiku writing prompts every month. I ended up writing close to 40 haikus during the the month of March.

In addition to NaHaiWriMo, I continued my involvement in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. I didn’t miss a single Wednesday Poetry Prompt.

As for my black out poetry submission, I’m still waiting on the results to this challenge: WD Poetic Forms Challenge: Erasure Poetry.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

This month brought its fair share of distractions, including the passing of my beloved grandfather. However, I still managed to stick to my writing goals. In many ways, my daily practice offered some escape from the grief.

5. Be flexible.

As always, I’m staying open to opportunities and inspiration wherever they may be hiding.

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And let’s not forget the word of the year:

Persistence

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How are you doing with your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Writing Goals

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A new year means setting new writing goals! Even though 2015 has barely begun, I’m riding a huge surge of energy and excitement. After a bit of a lull in 2014, my muse and I are more than ready to jump back into the writing game with a renewed sense of motivation and determination.

I’m keeping my list of goals relatively short and open-ended so I don’t find myself in a corner should life circumstances change. At the same time, I’m looking to push myself out of my comfort zone in order to reach a new level in my writing.

1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

This goal can work on two different levels. I’m looking to pitch The Muse to agents and small publishers. Maybe I’ll get a bite and maybe I won’t, but I’m going to try!

While my focus will be on the traditional route of publishing, I’m not closing the door on self-publishing. As I work my way through the query process, I’ll also be researching self-publishing options as Plan B.

The big picture goal is to get The Muse in print, one way or another! It’s a polished draft that’s been through the ringer thanks to beta readers and my fantastic editor. It’s about time this thing got out to readers!

2. Start writing Lineage.

As I wait for responses to my query packages, (rejections or maybe otherwise!), I’m planning to make some headway on the sequel to The Muse. In 2014, I laid out the basics for Lineage, but much more work needs to be done. I need to finish notes and create a more detailed outline, (I’m not pantser!)

Ultimately, I’m hoping to start the first draft sometime in the summer. Sooner would be better, but I’m smart enough to realize my day job (which involves going for National Board Certification) is going to be very busy during the first half of 2015.

3. Submit poetry.

Last year, poetry started to play a much larger role in my writing life. I’m writing a lot of it in a number of different forms. This is a medium I want to continue to explore so I’m narrowing my usual writing submission goal to poetry.

I plan to get more involved on Poetic Asides via Wednesday Poetry Prompts, Poetic Form Challenges, and Poem A Day Challenges when they are offered. It’s a great community of writers that both encourage and inspire.

In addition, I’m looking into joining haiku communities online. I fell in love with the traditional and modern haiku form during the 2014 November PAD Challenge and I want to continue to grow as a haiku poet.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

Sometimes I have the attention span of a gnat, so I’m setting this goal to remind myself to stay on track. Between the day job, other creative pursuits, and life in general, it’s easy to get sidetracked. If I want to see my work in print and grow as a writer I have to work at it every day.

As I set out to query agents, I have to brace myself for the inevitable onslaught of rejection. There will be days when I’ll want to give up. Rejection is tough to take, especially when it hits in large quantities. The theme of Galaxy Quest will be my mantra: Never Give Up, Never Surrender.

5. Be flexible.

I set this as a goal last year and learned quite a bit from it. I liked being reminded that creativity is a fluid process as is writing and life in general. While my goals have some wiggle room worked into them, I’m also aware that things could change. Wherever the path leads, I’ll be open to following every curve.

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In keeping with a tradition in my writer’s group, I’ve chosen a Word of the Year to guide me as I work towards my goals. I decided to go with a word that I’ve heard countless times among writers and just about anyone else going after a dream:

Persistence

The only way to get I what I want is go after it with hard work and a stubborn mindset. Thankfully, those are two things that are hardwired into my personality.

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What are your 2015 goals?

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c.b.w. 2015

2014 Goals: Year In Review

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For 2014 I set five goals plus one “invisible” goal (which turned out to be the most successful of the bunch!). I didn’t accomplish as much as I originally set out to do this year, but I ended up learning a lot about myself as a writer and my status within the publishing process. Things don’t always go as planned, but ultimately, I ended up exactly where I needed to be for the next phase of my writing life. Taking that into consideration, 2014 turned out to be a pretty great year!

1) Pitch The Muse.

This goal is probably the best example of overshooting just a little bit! I started the year thinking I had a clean manuscript, but as the rejections started rolling in, I realized there was more work to do.

Hiring an editor to clean up my manuscript turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have made. Kristen Fairgrieve whipped out that red pen and gave my writing a good polish!  It’s amazing what a fresh pair of eyes can do for a fifth draft.

Once I got the cleaned up draft back, I still had to go back in a fix a few things here and there. That process took longer than I would have liked, but sometimes life just gets in the way. I’m trying hard not to beat myself up over that fact.

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

All the extra and unexpected editing on The Muse downgraded this goal to a lower priority. However, the work I did on The Muse gave me a clearer sense of where I want to go with Lineage. The basic storyline is constructed, but I still have to fill in some of the smaller events on the timeline.

While it may not seem significant, the playlist for Lineage is largely completed. Music plays a huge role in my novel writing process, so this is a big deal! I have tracks that inspire arcs both main characters and help with plot development.

3) Submit writing.

I walked into this goal knowing my focus wasn’t on submitting as much writing as possible. With so much of my attention on The Muse, this was a goal to keep me going on my poetry. And it worked! I participated in two poetry challenges and submitted my work to both.

In April, I participated and submitted work in  April Poem A Day Challenge (on Poetic Asides via Writer’s Digest). I didn’t win on any level, but I enjoyed the process.

The latter part of 2014 was devoted to the 2014 November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge over on Poetic Asides (via Writer’s Digest). For this challenge, I went with a goal of writing 30 Haikus in 30 Days. This was no easy feat as many of the prompts had no relationship with nature (the traditional theme of haiku). Nonetheless, my muse enjoyed the double challenge. I learned it’s a lot easier to jump into the PAD Challenge with a theme and form to guide the writing process. Shortly after writing this post, I submitted my manuscript of 20 poems to the end of challenge competition.

4) Continue to build author platform.

Overall, my year in social media went pretty well. Facebook continues to be my favorite platform as the interaction is much easier for me to manage. As for Twitter, I’ve got a lot to learn!

Facebook likes went from 350 to 386

Twitter followers went from 542 to 549

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

I hope I was a positive presence in 2014!

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

Keeping myself open to opportunities and inspiration turned out to be my best kept goal of 2014. Having an open mind is what paved the way to hiring an editor (and learning a lot from that experience). Sure, it meant having to rethink Goal #1, but I ended up with a much better finished product.

The willingness to try new forms of poetry has opened up an entirely new side to my muse. The idea that haiku can be so much more than 5-7-5 has me creating and experimenting in ways I never thought possible. The same can be said of black out poetry, which has my muse working overtime (and going through Sharpies at an alarming rate).

Of course, the bigger outcome is the fact that I don’t feel limited by my goals. I like and need the organizational aspect of setting goals, but I also need the flexibility that creativity requires.

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How did you do with your 2014 goals?

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c.b.w. 2014

2014 Goals: October Status Report

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1) Pitch The Muse.

I’m still working on final edits, but the good news is I’m down to the last three edits on my list. I have one description to tinker with and two issues with plot consistency to work out before I can call it a day on editing! All in all, I’m pretty happy with my progress considering a rather rough month at the day job.

I sent my new query letter to a beta reader and got some great feedback. After a few little changes, it’ll be ready to send off to my list of prospective agents.

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

Time constraints this month left this goal wondering where I went. :-(

3) Submit writing.

I made the decision to participate in the 2014 November Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge over on Poetic Asides (via Writer’s Digest). I had so much fun with last year, it only made sense to jump in again this year! To make it even more fun, I decided to add an extra element. Every poem I write for the PAD Challenge will be in the haiku format. This can get tricky because haikus are traditionally focused on nature. Not all the PAD prompts can easily be translated into nature, so I may have to get very creative!

4) Continue to build author platform.

Once again, I’m having too much fun on Facebook! Traffic continues to flow as do engagements with my posts. I even gained new followers this month!

Twitter continues to be a struggle, but I’m trying to get back into the conversation. Followers held relatively steady.

Facebook likes went from 374 to 378

Twitter followers went from 549 to 548

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence.

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

Life has been a little crazy lately and it has admittedly caused some distraction. I haven’t been able to focus enough to work on some of my larger projects, but I still write every day. Perhaps that’s why haikus have been such an inspiration and comfort to me lately. Who knew 17 syllables could mean so much?

 

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c.b.w. 2014

2014 Goals: August Status Report

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I’m a little late with this update, because I was way too excited about finishing the read-through of my edited manuscript. Priorities mandated writing about that accomplishment first!

1) Pitch The Muse.

August was all about finishing up the monumental task of reading through the edited manuscript of The Muse, (see The Last Line). Thanks to work and a nasty cold that task took a little longer than I would have liked, but ultimately the goal was achieved.

As I wrote last week, I am immensely happy with the work my editor has done. I have a small list of changes (about 30) to make and I’ll be working my way through that list during September.

In addition, I’m close to finalizing my query letter. Once changes are made in the manuscript, I plan on starting the pitching process once again. The most recent issue of Writer’s Digest has a list of agents looking for writers and a few of them might be a good fit for my novel. Here I come!

2) Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage

As I wrote last week, the epilogue for The Muse is causing a few problems.  Therefore, most of my focus for the sequel has been on figuring out how to get out of the corner I’ve created. The good news is I’m starting to make some headway.

3) Submit writing.

Tunnel vision regarding The Muse keeps this goal on the shelf.

4) Continue to build author platform.

Facebook continues to be my favorite hangout. This month saw more growth in traffic and Likes. Hope you’re all enjoying the quotes, images, and random quips!

Twitter, however, continues to be my weak spot. Once again, my total followers dropped despite acquiring several new followers. One of these days I’ll figure out why Twitter is fun.

Facebook likes grew from 373 to 375

Twitter followers dropped from 551 to 544

Thanks so much to everyone for clicking those follow and like buttons! Your support is greatly appreciated.

5) Inspire others.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence.

The invisible goal:

6) Be flexible.

My eyes are open and so is my mind. As I start to see out agents, I’m also seeking out other modes of publication. One way or another The Muse will be in print.

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c.b.w. 2014