2014 Writing Goals

Standard

Happy New Year!! I like to think this is the start of 365 days of magic. Good and bad days are sure to come, but how I choose to see the bigger picture is what matters most.

This year, it’s all about keeping things simple while also attempting to accomplish my dream of publication. Things got a little too complicated in 2013 and I almost gave myself a stroke trying to keep up with the nitpicky goals I set. For my own sanity, I’ve decided to  set five goals with wider parameters. However, these simple goals are also geared towards keeping me accountable and on track.

1. Pitch The Muse.

Once known as Novel #2, The Muse is the novel I’ve poured everything into for the last two years, (yes, I’ve finally chosen a title!). It’s been pitched to five agents and received one official rejection. The other four answered with silence, so that means it’s time for another round of pitching. I’m not setting a specific number of pitches, but I am holding myself accountable to the following:

  • Consistently send out query packages over the course of 2014
  • Research agents and add to the list of prospects
  • Do not give up!

2. Outline and start writing The Muse: Lineage.

The Muse is not a stand-alone novel, rather it is the first book in a planned trilogy.  The big-picture story is mapped out in my head,  (I know how it ends!), but the small details are still a work in progress.

During the summer of 2013, I began brainstorming the story layout for Lineage and piecing together a playlist. However, there is a lot more research and work to do. I’m hoping to have the outline complete by June 2014. By the end of the year, my goal is to get the first draft rolling.

3. Submit writing.

Last year, I made the mistake of trying to tell my muse exactly what we’re going to write. She retaliated by giving me tunnel vision for The Muse. This time around, I’m just going to make the broad goal of promising myself to submit any kind of work whether it be short stories, poetry, or articles.

4. Continue to build author platform.

To keep my pen name afloat, I’m setting my usual goals of maintaining an author platform via my blog and social networking. I’m also looking to expand my presence by joining at least one more network or challenge before the end of 2014. As I work on Lineage my Facebook and Twitter feeds will certainly be jumping with updates. Be sure to join me on both networks to follow my journey.

5. Inspire others.

As always, a huge goal of mine is to inspire others to write or explore their creativity. This blog is a major vehicle for that goal and I intend to offer content that both inspires and motivates your muse!

While I’ve set these five goals, I’m also adding a sixth “invisible” goal:

6. Be Flexible.

In three months I may decide to blow the dust off Novel #1 or read one or more books on writing/publishing. Maybe I’ll find a writing challenge that sparks my imagination in an unexpected way . . . the point is I’m going to keep my options open. And I will take opportunities as they come.

– – –

Every month, I’ll be self-assessing where I stand on each goal. In the past, these posts have really helped motivate others to not only make goals, but also to stick to them. We all know how easy it is to wander off when the words just won’t come. Writing is something that takes commitment and consistency. Otherwise, the stories stay inside of us or get lost along the way. Let’s pick up that pen and write in 2014!

– – –

c.b.w. 2014

Great Links for Writers

Standard

While perusing the blogosphere the last few days, I’ve stumbled upon some great links for writers that I just have to share!

One of my favorite bloggers, The Literary Mom, continues to offer up posts with useful information about the writing industry. In particular, she wrote a great piece that explores the pros and cons of hitting the “Publish” button on a blog post. There are consequences to consider on both sides of the spectrum.  Read her thoughts here: Fiction Writers: Why Hitting The Publish Button on a Post Isn’t Always a Good Thing.  While visiting, check out her recent interview with YA author Melanie Card. Both questions and answers are thoughtful and very enlightening.  Read it here.

As I continue to explore ways to build my platform, Darla McDavid, featured a great new place to extend my online presence with her very informative post on a site called About.me.  It takes self-promotion and networking to a new level as it works a bit differently from facebook and twitter.  Social networking can be a bit overwhelming and About.me seems like a nice alternative or simple addition to our already very busy online lives!  Check out her post: Build Your Writer’s Platform with About.me.

The site I’ve been perusing the most over the last week is World Literary Cafe.  I first came across it while playing on Twitter and it has turned out to be a phenomenal source of networking connections.  I’ve barely scratched the surface of all it has to offer, but it essentially brings authors, bloggers, and readers together.  There are pay it forward programs, beta reader match-ups, read/review groups and forums, promotion workshops, features on upcoming books from new writers, and loads of news and events in the writing community.  This network is amazing!

– – –

It seems I can’t even make it a week on my adjusted blog schedule.  Here we are on an “off” day and I can’t stay silent!  Hope you all enjoy the links!

– – –

c.b. 2012

February Status Report: 2012 Goals

Standard

The second month of 2012 has gone by so fast, I can hardly believe its time again to check in on my 2012 goals. February is typically one of the busiest for my day job, so I didn’t get quite as far on some of my goals as I would have liked, but I’m still very happy at the progress I’ve made this month.

1) Submit five pieces of writing.

I’ve done a bit more research on literary magazines both in print and online that might fit my writing style.  It’s a slow process and I have to keep telling myself that I am accomplishing something by doing painstaking research, even though I haven’t sent anything in just yet.

Research aside, I’ve written a new short story that might have some potential for submission.  I’m in the final stages of revision and should have a final draft in the next two weeks or so. I may post it to see if its working, so stay tuned!

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

I got as far as yanking out a previous hard copy draft and opening it up to the section I need to reinsert into the current draft.  After reading through it, I’m contemplating whether it should go back into the same place or if moving it somewhere else would better serve the story. It’ll work either way, but I remain in a quandary. The perfectionist in me is hesitant to do anything until that little knot in my stomach unties itself.  Believe me, I know I need to bite the bullet and just do it.

3) Work on my second novel.

The word count for this month stands at 857. While the word count isn’t nearly as high as it was for January, progress behind the scenes has been monumental.  Much of the work took place in my novel notebook, where I created two new characters and constructed a new development in the plot line.  For a while, I found myself battling between the original plan and a new idea that came to me during the writing process.  The word count should actually be around 1600, but I deleted the other half once I made the decision to work with the new scene. I’m really excited about this turn of events and I can’t wait to see where it takes the rest of the story.

Currently, the total word count for Novel #2 stands at 49,561.  The goal of reaching 60,000 by the end of the year is well within reach!

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

Developments on this goal have only recently materialized.  I’m starting to feel the burn to get moving on this, thanks in large part to an e-mail I received from a friend.  Not only did she dream about the main character in my novel, (which is really amazing), but she had some ideas on what to include in the synopsis and how to structure it.  When I combined her ideas with mine, something finally clicked and I think I have a place to begin.  I’ve set a deadline of March 15 to have a rough draft for the synopsis completed.

5) Keep up with my blog.

Anyone who is a regular reader knows this goal has not been a problem at all!  In terms of posting, February has been my busiest month with 21 posts.  Thank you to all my readers for continuing to stop by to read and leave comments.  Your support is so encouraging and greatly appreciated!

6) Network more with other writers.

I’ve always viewed this goal as the most difficult as it pulls me the furthest out of my comfort zone, but I did make some gains this month:

  • I joined the Fourth Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign via Rach Writes . . . . So far, I’ve networked with 30 new bloggers and completed the first challenge, (see The Call).  The process has been tough for me, but on the whole its been a fun experience.  I’m grateful for the chance to connect to so many wonderful new people and fantastic writers!
  • I joined Pinterest as a means to network with people beyond the blogging world.  If you enjoy crafts and travel pictures, click the red Pinterest button on my sidebar and follow me!  I should warn you, however, that Pinterest is very addictive!
  • My Facebook page continues to grow as I’ve gone from 20 followers to 32.  If you’re on Facebook and would like a direct line to new blog posts, musings of a writer, and cool links, click the like button on my sidebar and follow along.  Feel free to post on the wall!
  • Over on Twitter, I watched my list of followers go from 65 to 81.  I’m hoping to hit 100 by the end of March.  If you’re on Twitter, you can follow me by visiting my sidebar and clicking on the Twitter button.

7) Inspire others to keep writing.

All I can do is hope that I’ve encouraged others to write by visiting and commenting on blogs whenever possible.  They say writing is a solitary act, but the longer I stay in the game, the more I realize this is a team sport!

– – –

c.b. 2012

Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign

Standard

One of my 2012 goals is to network more with other writers and I have to admit this has caused more than few knots in my stomach.  No one has ever used the phrase “social butterfly” as an adjective to describe me!  However, the small steps I took last month (see January Status Report) has given me a little more courage to step out of my shell.  Thanks to The Literary Mom for spreading the word about The Fourth Writers’ Platform-Building Campaign.  I’ll be joining her along with hundreds of others for a campaign that involves blogging challenges, connecting with other writers, and expanding my pen name’s online presence.

If you are a writer looking for a both a challenge and a chance to meet other writers, you may want to consider joining in the fun!  The door is open until February 15th.  Hope to see you there!

c.b. 2012

2012 Writing Goals

Standard

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