Re-Reading Doesn’t Count??

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After watching ABC Family’s Harry Potter Weekend earlier this summer, I decided to re-read every Harry Potter book. Normally, this would be an easy goal, but because I’m wrapped up in Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge it’s not that simple.

I challenged myself to read 35 books in 2015 and it stands to reason that any book I read should count towards that total. It shouldn’t matter if I’ve never read the book or if I’m choosing to re-read a book I read five years ago. However, Goodreads is currently unable to assign more than one date to a finished book. That means, once I read a book it only counts one time towards my “Read Shelf.” That also means a previously read book will not apply towards the reading challenge.

On the surface, the one time read date sounds reasonable. Most people read a book once and they’re done, right? Wrong! Most readers I know have favorite books they love to revisit. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read Jane Eyre, the entire Twilight series, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, and so many others. Yet, every time I re-read them, I can’t log the additional read in Goodreads. Not cool! Especially since each new read brings new insight and therefore new perspectives for a review and discussion.

When it comes to the Harry Potter situation, I rated all six books as a means to build my account and foster recommendations when I first signed up on goodreads four years ago. In doing so, I made it impossible to count any Harry Potter re-reads on this year’s goals.

To solve this problem, I had to do the unthinkable – I deleted every Harry Potter book off my shelves and hoped it would wipe my reading history for each volume. It worked for all of them except HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone. While this solves the problem, I’m mad I had to do it in the first place! I’m still reading Harry Potter in tandem with other books, but at least they will now count towards my challenge total.

Despite finding a solution for the Harry Potter Situation, the fact remains that I’ve re-read more than few books this year and those efforts will remain under the radar. I love Goodreads, but the lack of a re-read feature definitely needs to be fixed!

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Where do you stand on the re-read issue?

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c.b.w. 2015

2015 Goals: June Status Report

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1. Work towards getting The Muse published.

Chapter 1 has officially been deleted! I am now in the final stage of restructuring Chapter 2 as the new beginning. The trick was keeping in mind the list of things agents hate to see in an opening chapter, (see Killing Chapter 1). The more I mulled over this list, the more I realized it applies not only to agents, but readers as well.

Gone are all the references to weather descriptions, the sky, and a main character waking up. With the new beginning, the reader is dropped right in the middle of the main character’s life. Bit by bit, her story comes into focus without any sort of an information dump. I’m liking the breadcrumb approach a lot more and I think this set up allows my main character’s personality to take center stage.

Next on the agenda is doing another read through to make sure the rest of the novel is not impacted by the deletion of Chapter 1. I’ve got to dig through each section to ensure there are no references to anything that was mentioned in the old beginning. There are a few things I’m already aware of from memory and I’m sure I’ll find more!

A writer’s work is never done!

2. Start writing Lineage.

My muse is starting to talk for this project. I’m anxious to see where she takes me.

3. Submit poetry.

Once again, I participated in the Poetic Asides community via Writer’s Digest. As always, I find the prompts challenging and the community inspiring.

I also completed another month of National Haiku Writing Month’s daily prompts via NaHaiWriMo’s Facebook Page. June prompts all started with the letter R and were quite challenging. Still, I managed to write one or two haikus each day.

4. Don’t give up or get distracted.

Free time in the summer can be a blessing for a writer, but also an invitation to distraction. There are always so many things I want to do! Luckily, I was able to find a nice balance between writing and other projects each day.

5. Be flexible.

My journal is coming with me to the wilds of Oregon this week. I’m anxious to see what will inspire me.

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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 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