Writing Plan and Goals for the New Year

I’ve been thinking about what I want to accomplish with my writing in the coming year.  To put it succinctly, I want to sell a book as well as several articles and stories.  I started listing out some steps that I hope will help me get there.  It looks small on paper but I know the time commitment, along with my job and home life, is huge.  I’m sure I could break it down into smaller steps but I think I’ll leave it a little more fluid.  I’ll have to figure out when I’m actually going to do these things.  I’m thinking I’ll have to find a place to work on my lunch hour and commit to some time at the end each day, but here it is for now.

  1. Read Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass and use ideas in writing and editing.
  2. Edit middle grade mystery novel.
  3. Write more and edit mainstream novel.
  4. Show both books to writer’s group for feedback.
  5. Choose agents and editors to submit to.
  6. Keep track of expenses. (Treat writing as a business.)
  7. Write an essay monthly and submit it to the Yahoo Contributor Network.
  8. Write an entry weekly for Melora Johnson’s Muse.
  9. Write an entry weekly for Story Musing.
  10. Write short stories as ideas come up.
  11. Read, read, read
  12. Consider paying for a professional copy editor to give me feedback
  13. Keep submitting.
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Writing through the holidays

While I wouldn’t say writing is the furthest thing from my mind right now, it is definitely on the back burner.  Other creative pursuits have taken its place in the week leading up to Christmas.  I have been busily crocheting gifts for family and doing a little cooking for friends.  I do still have two essays that I want to get out soon, one I’m hoping to post before the end of the weekend, but I won’t beat myself up if it doesn’t happen until closer to the new year.  Then it will be time to do a little journaling, take stock of what I’ve done this past year and think about what I want to accomplish in the year to come.  I’d like to have a real plan of the steps I will take to make those goals happen.  I think specificity in planning can be key in making things happen instead of just hoping that they will.  I’ll let you know next week what my goals are and how I’ll get there.  (Though, of course, I will remain flexible because the best laid plans of mice and men… you know the rest.  *wink*)

Motivations

I’ve always said that you can ascribe motivations for what people do but you can never really know for sure if you are correct.  You could be wrong.  You can talk to the person about it but they could lie to you, they could be in denial, or they could be totally unaware of their own real motivations about something. 

Which makes it all the more interesting to me as inspiration for my writing.  Something occurs and I begin to wonder.  Why?  Why did they do it?  Is it why I think?  Or is there another reason?  A story begins to form.

Painfully Honest

Well, I started off the month with the idea that I wanted to enter a short story in a contest, complete two essays to post and apply for a NYFA Artists’ Fellowship before the end of the year.  It’s the ninth of December.  I have given up on the short story.  Really, I set it aside.  I’ll come back to it at some point.  There was just no reasonable way for me to make the deadline.  Now I am focused on the NYFA application but thinking about the essays too.

I’ve shared one of the essays with my writer’s group and will continue editing that to submit.  The main thing on my mind is how much to put in and how much to leave out?  I had written it one way, then took out some information before sharing it with the group.  I struggle with this because there is some information that feels too personal to share, but it is integral to the story I am telling in the essay.  I think it would make it a stronger essay and reach more people that need it.

How honest do I need to be?  How much should I share?  How much is too much information?  Some essays that I have posted in the past have been painfully honest but I also know, from feedback, that they have touched and helped people who were truly in despair.  It’s one reason I use a pen name, to give myself a little greater level of comfort.  At this point, I am inclined to put the information back in, publish and be damned.  Will I cringe and take that bit back out before publishing?  Only time will tell.

Post Nano Let Down?

Hmmm, I think I was supposed to take a break after National Novel Writing Month but there just doesn’t seem to be time when you only get a little bit of it every day to write.  (Okay, and a self driven agenda of what you want to accomplish.) 

I won, with about 50, 038 words, but the book doesn’t feel remotely done.  I think it could take me quite a few more months of editing and adding to what I wrote in November to make this into something that remotely feels like a finished draft.  Right now it feels more like a giant outline.  There were some interesting developments as I worked, subplots and even a romance.  I was pleasantly surprised to read back over a section and think, Boy, that doesn’t sound half bad.  Huh

I did take a break, about a day and a half.  I celebrated the night of November thirtieth by eating Tiramisu, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and crocheting.  It was nice.  The next day I opened up my documents and looked at where I stand on what I want to accomplish in December.

I have a short story for a contest due in a few days that needs finishing, two essays I want to get in this month and my application for a 2012 Artists’ Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts.  (They are doing Fiction this year!)  I’m hoping to use an excerpt from what I wrote in November as my writing sample, but that will require some intense concentration.

So, no rest for the weary.  At least it’s all about doing something I love.