2012 Writing Goals

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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

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Freshly Pressed Shock Syndrome

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This week I was afflicted by an ailment I hope every blogger will get to experience at some point.  It all began on Thursday¹ morning when I logged into WordPress and saw something very familiar on the homepage.  I blinked to make sure I wasn’t imagining it, I read the title three times just to be sure, and then my eyes bugged out of my head.  Oh. my. goodness.  I pointed at the screen and shouted, “Hey, that’s my blog on Freshly Pressed!”  That’s when I knew I had Freshly Pressed Shock Syndrome or FPSS.

The nerd in me couldn’t resist taking a screenshot to celebrate!  Congratulations to all the other Freshly Pressed bloggers who probably have FPSS as well!

Symptoms of FPSS include:

  • failure to blink
  • the inability to close a gaping mouth
  • a constant shaking of the head in disbelief
  • uncontrollable squealing
  • rapid heartbeat
  • hyperventilating
  • involuntary jumping up and down
  • immense gratitude

What followed the initial onset of FPSS was an incredible and exciting influx of traffic on my blog.  I honestly never expected or believed numbers could go that high.  Just two days before, I was ecstatic with a higher than usual double digit hit count.  My new bar graph obliterated that previous victory into a teeny tiny sliver.  The funny thing is I was a little sad to see all my previous achievements blasted into oblivion, but then I looked at the total hit count again and got excited all over again.  Hmmmm . . . . perhaps I should add emotional confusion to the list of FPSS symptoms.

Adding to the chaos of rapid traffic was e-mail overload.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many e-mail alerts in all my life!  Having everything funneled through your e-mail is fine when there’s 7 or 8 comments on a post and a couple likes, but several hundred stuffed my mailbox faster than I could process them!  It was insane, yet so much fun!

When I got around to checking out the post that caused all the commotion, (The Best Souvenirs Are Free), it was amazing to see a virtual patchwork quilt of gravatars situated under the “Like” button. Thank you to everyone who took the time to give that extra click.  It made this whole process that much more meaningful.

My sincere thanks goes to everyone who left comments.  I am in awe of how many of you shared your beautiful stories and souvenirs, (keep them coming!).  It’s such an honor to have those memories on my blog.  We may never meet, but the creation of a common thread between everyone who joined in the discussion will never be forgotten².  At the moment I’m a little overwhelmed, but in the coming days I will respond to every comment.

One of the side effects I wasn’t expecting was the massive jump in subscribers. I really appreciate that extra show of support and find it so inspiring.  I hope future posts will keep you all coming back again and again.  My blog can be a little random, but I do strive to make it as interesting and fun as possible.  Thank you so much for adding me to your reading list!

I wish I could say “The Best Souvenirs Are Free” was totally my idea, but I have to give credit to my muse.³  My incredibly fickle and random muse put the idea in my head ten minutes before I was planning to leave the house for a writing session.  My day shifted an entire hour so I could snap the picture, but I guess the rest is history.  I owe her a big one, (Greeaaat).  Extra muse juice, perhaps?

Last but certainly not least, thank you to the WordPress gods and readers for giving me the chance to feel like a real writer.  May every blogger know the thrill of FPSS.

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¹Actually, the hubbub started on Wednesday when Muse Juice was selected for The Daily Post.  Naturally, I broke out into a raging case of DPSS (Daily Post Shock Syndrome).

²Goosebumps are yet another symptom of FPSS.

³ FPSS also leads to unexpected groveling to your muse.

c.b. 2011