July Status Report: 2012 Goals

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July was an odd month where I felt like I wasn’t doing enough towards my goals, but when I sat down this weekend and assessed my status I was pleasantly surprised. ¬†It turns out doing even the smallest thing each day really does make a difference!

At the same time, I did go on vacation for a week and I decided to make it a real vacation. ¬†I didn’t write a thing and I barely got online, which gave me a lot of extra time to simply be. Time with family and green trees gave my muse and I a much needed breath of fresh air.

As I move into August, the school year is starting even earlier than the last. I’ll once again be busy with a day job, but I’ve got a schedule worked out to make sure I stay on track with my 2012 goals.

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.

So far this year, I’ve submitted three pieces which means I’ve over halfway done with this goal!

Earlier this month, I submitted a story entitled Blueberry Hunt to the¬†Write It Your Way (Writer‚Äôs Digest ‚Äď Summer Stories)¬†contest. ¬†Its the longest piece I’ve submitted all year and I’m proud of how it turned out. Finalists will be announced in August. Wish me luck!

The Poetry Poll series I’ve been posting over the last couple of weeks will come to an end this Friday. This is pretty exciting because the top three poems selected by my readers will be submitted to¬†¬†Wordrunner eChapbooks‘ call for poetry relating to the theme of “found.” ¬†All polls remain open until the finalists are announced on Friday, August 3. ¬†If you haven’t voted yet, I would really appreciate your input. Go here, to catch up on any poll you might have missed.

Finally, I’ve still got my eye on these little gems:

Sixteenth Annual Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction Contest

Your Story #44 (Deadline: August 27th)

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

The first-person conversion experiment is going extremely well. I sent the first chapter to a beta reader who thought the change makes the character’s voice stronger, helps the story move faster, and changes the overall tone for the better. ¬†After completing the second chapter, I have to say I totally agree!

With such positive results, I’ve decided to go ahead with a full manuscript overhaul. Sadly, this sets me back on a couple of goals this year, but I honestly think this is for the best. ¬†Just as I keep track of word count for Novel #2, I will now be tracking converted word count for Novel #1 as a means to assess progress.

Converted word count:  7,657

3) Work on my second novel.

This has been another amazing month for Novel #2. At the beginning of the year, I set a mini-goal of reaching a total word count of 60,000 and I’m thrilled to say I have met that goal. However, the most exciting development is the fact that I am approaching the final two chapters in the book. ¬†I am beyond excited to be so close to the end as these final scenes are the ones that inspired the entire story in the first place.

I am anticipating steady progress over the next month, but the last scenes are where I intend to take my time. The story has changed organically several times, which means I need to dig through my notebook more than usual in order to line up character arcs and story details.

Starting word count: 59,596
End word count: 64,427
Total word count: 4,831

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

Considering the status of Goal #2, this goal has been put on hold.

5) Keep up with my blog.

As usual this has been no problem!  This month I posted 28 times and I am so thankful for every reader who decided to come for visit. Your clicks, comments, and Likes mean the world to me. Thank you so much!

Its been a busy blogging summer, but my posting schedule will change in August as I am heading back to work. I’m looking to stick to a consistent schedule of Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. ¬†This way I have time to work on both novels and other creative pursuits, while also squeezing in that day job!

6) Network more with other writers.

I’ll admit I was a little lazy on this front and I wish I had better excuse than “I was knitting.” I learned how to knit this month and I’m having so much fun with it Facebook and Twitter have taken a back seat. Come August, I’m looking to get back in the social network game!

Thanks so much to those who did hit the Like and Follow button this month. ¬†I promise I’ll be around a little more frequently!

My Facebook Page has grown from 165 to  178Likes.

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 265 to 283.

To follow me on either network, please visit my sidebar.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence!

– ‚Äď –

c.b.w. 2012

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June Status Report: 2012 Goals

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June turned out to be a month of realizations and adjustments. As a result, some of my goals have to change in order to compensate for what I’ve learned. ¬†I don’t see this as a setback, but rather a reassessment of where I stand and where I need to go next.

While some projects have changed drastically, others continue to tick along at a rapid pace.  A month without a day job does wonders for the muse!

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.

I made some headway on this goal by submitting The Expanding Pear to the Your Story¬†#42¬†competition in Writer’s Digest. ¬†I didn’t make the final cut, but I’m still proud of the piece and myself for finally gathering the courage to submit something this year.

In addition, I entered Your Story #43. ¬†The competition only calls for a single sentence of 25 or fewer words, but sometimes that’s more difficult than a short story. ¬†So, I’ve decided it counts as my second submission this year.

In the coming month, I’ve got my eye on three more opportunities for submission:

Sixteenth Annual Zoetrope: All Story Short Fiction Contest (Opens July 1st)

Write It Your Way (Writer’s Digest – Summer Stories)¬†(Deadline July 15). I’ve got a story started and I think I can finish it in time!

Wordrunner eChapbooks (July 1 – August 26). Starting next week, I’ll be setting up a few polls where my wonderful readers will have a hand in helping me decide which three poems will be submitted.

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

After receiving an amazing and constructive critique of my first chapter, I embarked on a little experiment. ¬†In the critique I was asked if I’d ever considered switching the point of view from third person to first person. ¬†I was so happy to see that question as its something I’ve kicked around in my head for a while now.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been re-writing my first novel in first person to get a sense of whether its the right to do for the character and the story. ¬†The first chapter is fully converted and I’m halfway through the second. ¬†Should this work out, this means my goal of finishing minor changes goes right out the window and I’ll be taking on the workload of converting the entire manuscript.

3) Work on my second novel.

My second novel dominates most of my days. ¬†If I’m not typing out a scene, I’m outlining, brainstorming, or listening to characters speak in my head. ¬†Last week I punched out a huge turning point scene and I’m in the process of planning the climax. ¬†I love this story!!

Starting word count: 53,695
End word count: 59,596
Total word count:  5,901

That 60,000 word count goal I set for the year is so close I can taste it!

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

With Goal #2 in the midst of a possibly drastic change, I am putting this goal on hold.

5) Keep up with my blog.

June has the distinction of being the first month where I’ve posted every single day! ¬†That being said, I’ve made the decision that I have to cut back if my workload increases for Novel #1.

Thank you so much to everyone who continues to stop by.  Your support is so inspiring as are your comments!  I will still be posting several days a week, so be sure to stay tuned!

6) Network more with other writers.

This month, I was better at networking with other writers in person rather than online. ¬†This is a strange departure for me as I’ve never been known as a social butterfly. ¬†I’ve really enjoyed the inspiration that comes from hanging out with other writers and enjoying a cup of coffee.

However, I managed to gain some increases in the online world as well.

My Facebook Page has grown from 140 to 165 Likes.

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 237 to 265.

Thank you so much to everyone who has clicked those ‚ÄúLike‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúFollow‚ÄĚ buttons!¬† I appreciate all of you so much!

To follow me on either network, please visit my sidebar.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence!

– – –

c.b.w. 2012