Tag Archives: goals

Writer’s Goals for New Year

New Year’s Resolutions can be double-edged swords, if you let them. The typical resolutions to lose weight, earn more, quit smoking, drinking, or whatever other vice (Diet Coke for me) seems daunting and casts negative air over what resolutions are supposed to be about.

Improvement. By either pledging to do something positive or remove something negative from your life.

Resolutions aren’t a reset, but a re-check. Make sure your headed in the right direction.

For many people, 2011 was uncharacteristically harsh. Judging by the Facebook and Twitter posts I’ve seen recently, most are happy to close the door on last year and usher in 2012 with the promise of something better. At least more hopeful.

I learned a lot from 2011. Mostly learned a lot about myself, my limitations, discovered new strengths, and new ‘areas of improvement.’ I met new people that have become invaluable to my writing endeavors- my ‘specialized supporters.’

Most importantly, I think I discovered how to let go of this illusion of control that I tried desperately to keep a grip on last year.

Things happen despite my best abilities to prevent them, other things don’t happen no matter how hard I tried to make them flourish. And other sideswipers come out of no where to make life even more chaotic.

This illusion of control stems from my ever-consistent behavior to internalize everything. And God love my husband and family for helping me to let that go.

So this year, my resolutions are aggressive, but much more forgiving if I lose track along the way. Just as I know my family and friends are. Supportive. Always trying to help me be my best, and forgiving when I lose track.

In addition to a few personal goals regarding family, and overall health and wellness (no New Year’s resolutions would be complete without them), here are my targets:

~Reduce my Diet Coke intake to 1/week (gradual, to prevent nasty withdrawals).

~Gym twice a week.

~Blog twice a week.

~Submit to other blogs I partake in at least once a month.

~Read 1 Book/month.

And for the daunting writing goals:

~Finish rough draft of WIP (Audrey’s Promise) by March. Specifically, write 5K words /week.

~Finish Audrey’s Promise revisions by November. Meaning, 15 pages/week.

~Finish my previous manuscript’s revisions (Rip It) by May. 20 pages/week.

~Submit either of these manuscripts to Golden Heart contest in December.

~Query Rip It to agencies/publishers starting in June. Specifically, 4 queries a week.

~Finally, plot my next novel (middle grade) by December.

These goals are evenly spaced out over the year, so I’m constantly busy with writing, but not overloaded. I think that’s my husband’s Project Management job rubbing off on me. Leave it to him to create a timeline spreadsheet for me, to help track my goals every week down to the individual word and page count. Goal tracking on steroids!

As always, love more, laugh more, and keep writing forward.

Writer’s Reflection of the Year

Christmas lights are up both inside and outside my house, decorations surround me as I type, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is playing the in background on iTunes. My son is asleep in his crib while my husband studies in his office. For once in our household, it’s quiet. And since it’s been so long since I’ve blogged (for several reasons), I thought this was the most opportune and rare moment to reflect.

It’s been a whirlwind year, to say the very least.

Great highs as we watch our son grow, a billion little challenges and a few big ones thrown in there. Same as my writing ‘career.’ Great highs as I improve my skills and learn new techniques, a billion little challenges (mostly just to find the time to write), and a few big road-bumps. Most of my writing goals I set at the beginning of the year I achieved, which I’m very proud with. I set a few stretch goals (NaNoWriMo), and didn’t quite complete those, but I was so close. Again, I’m proud I got that far.

I’ve helped my writers group expand its membership (nearly doubling in size) and learned so much from everyone, I’m so thankful for their help and support. I couldn’t have gotten through my writing goals this year without them. Well, maybe I could have, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun or interesting.

I’m hoping to pick my manuscripts back up in the next coming weeks, after I finish my Christmas shopping and overcome consistent sickness, and finally be in a position to query my 2nd one, and revise the 3rd. Along the way, I greatly hope not to stress out the loved ones around me.

I’ll post my goals for 2012 as soon as I have them created. I strongly advise every writer to have goals for the year, and non-writers as well. Gives you something to strive for every day, week, month.

In the meantime, keep writing forward. And reflecting in the rare quiet moments in between.

Fall Season Means Reviewing My Goals

For many people, fall season means taking kids back to school, football games, World Series, changing out your wardrobe, and winterizing your lawn. For me, it means reviewing the goals I made in January. Writing goals, specifically. And determining how I’ve done so far, and if I’m on track to complete those goals in the last 3 months of the year.

My most challenging goal for the year is participating in NaNoWriMo. This starts in November, but I’m definitely prepared. Everything is plotted, the characters are completely mapped out. The word count per week goal is lofty, and makes me nervous.

But I finished the first draft of my last manuscript, I’ve averaged 2 blog posts per week, and I’m on track to have revisions completed by the end of the year.  Hopefully to start submissions by January.

Overall, it was a great year of learning and getting used to a lifestyle change. For the first time since I was 16, I don’t have a paycheck in my name. All so I can focus on writing and trying to make my first published debut. Reading blogs, receiving critiques, and reading a bajillion books all helped me improve my style. All necessary to help find your own voice.

So for the start of fall season for me, yes it means taking my son to school and enjoying college football with my hubby, it also means the continuation of a very fun and challenging time in my life.

Can’t Wait to Plot

So, I’ve only gone through the first round of revisions on my manuscript and have sent it out to my critique group. And I’m not stopping there.

I’ve already started plotting and creating the character sketches for the next book that’s twirling around in my head.

Some could call me a glutton for punishment, since I have at least 2 more rounds of revisions on this thing. But I’d rather get these ideas on paper than let them continue to torment me in my head. I’ve had this story idea for a little over a year, but didn’t have enough of a concrete plan to bash it out on paper.

But this time around, I’m paying more attention to the character development than before. Because in this particular story, their personalities are going to be a lot more center-stage. So for the first time in my life, I’m focusing on the characters first, and not the plot.

Even searching several screenshots of people online (Yahoo Images) to see if I can find anyone that closely resembles the image I have in my brain of my characters. I can’t draw for crap, so literally sketching them isn’t gonna work. I’m much more visual.

But I can sketch the rest of them on paper. Their goals, motivations, conflicts (GMC to any of you writers out there). What makes them tick, sing, cringe, and I can find all their buttons (and push them relentlessly!)

A writer friend of mine gave me what she uses for Character ‘Interviews,’ where she gets to know them more by playing the role of a therapist while her MC’s sit on a couch and dish out their lives and inner most thoughts. Creative!

If you peruse around on the web, you’ll find a whole bunch of different resources to help you create your characters. Character Development, character sketches, character questions… type in anything for ‘character’ and you’ll find umpteen-million.

The one I’ve used before I found here.

But clearly that’s not the only thing I’m going to use to know every inch and cranny of my characters for this iota of an idea. But you need to start somewhere.