The Obligatory New Years Post


Happy New Year!

Hope you all had an excellent 2012 and are looking forward to 2013.  I know I am.
Of course, at this time of year every blog and every writer is thinking about goals – those set for the previous year and the ones we’ll focus on now.  In fact, I’m pretty sure goals are on most people’s minds.  So I’m here to join the party!
I’m still not a big New Year’s Resolution person, at least not for my personal life, but it is a convenient marker to look at what I hoped to accomplish and what I actually did.
So, first off, let’s look at the passing year.  If you want to see a complete explanation of what I wanted for last year, you can read my first post of 2012.  But essentially, it breaks down like this:
1. Submit King’s Mark to agents.
Done.  I haven’t submitted to all, but I’ve submitted to enough.  My story didn’t sell, but that wasn’t the goal – the goal was to submit.  Yay for success!
2. Submit completed stories to available markets.
Done-ish.  I have done a decent job keeping my stories on rotation, but I haven’t been quite as snappy at keeping them out there (there were multiple week stretches where I let stories languish in the stables).
3. Write and revise my second novel.
Almost done.  Still not ready for beta readers, but it is so close I can taste it.
4. Read through my shelf of writing books, don’t buy any more until I’ve completed the ones I have.
Fail!  I did read about 60% of them, but it is kind of hard to tell… I didn’t stop buying them.  Oops.
5. Complete half-finished stories on my hard drive.
Mostly fail.  I did 2 of them, and I am quite happy with them, but I left many behind.
6. Avoid burning out by maintaining a life beyond work and writing.
Done.  I’m still a pretty insular and solitary person, but I’ve got a life and friends, and I have not become a complete hermit.  And I even read some books for pleasure and went outside.
So, not 100%, but I’m happy with it.  75% is pretty decent, especially since I honestly attempted all of them..  Not only that, but I’m incredibly encouraged by the successes of my friends and associates in the Wordslingers – everyone’s hard work is slowly beginning to pay off, and it makes me proud and confident about my own future.
On to 2013.  I have big plans for this year!
First off, the repeats:
1. Finish up and ship Cliff with no Edge to agents, start the next book in the trilogy.
2. Keep my completed stories out on rotation, finish at least 4 more (new or from the vault).
3. Finish the rest of my writing books, don’t buy more until this is done.
4. Avoid burning out and continue to maintain (or hopefully expand) my life beyond work and writing.
And now the new ones.
5. Research, develop a marketing plan, and independently publish King’s Mark.
I put it away for a year, pulled it back out, and discovered I still believe in it.  I am confident that it is worth putting out there, and that making it available to people can only help my career, not hurt it.  I have a lot to learn before I’m ready to do this, but I intend to get it done this year.
6. Become a slush reader for a magazine.
Apart from learning from other people’s writing, I quite like critiquing and have discovered an interest in editing in general.  The bottom of that ladder is slush reading – usually a volunteer position with a magazine where I would help to sort submitted pieces into might-be-what-they-want and definitely-not-what-they-want.  So I’ll search out and apply to positions in the kind of magazines I enjoy, and if possible, try out this slush reading thing.
7. Save up to attend World Fantasy Convention in 2014
It’s a big convention.  And with my life, I have to plan this far in advance.  But if I can make it there, I think it will be extremely worthwhile.
And that’s my list.  See you all soon!

Short Update


NaNoWriMo Day 10:

A tiny bit behind, but I’m celebrating what I can…

I am 70% through the Thieves first draft! Just under 3/4 of the scenes I planned are written!

My wordcount is a little low (about 40,000 right now), which means I’ll have to go back and add a bunch in, but regardless! Yay!

And that’s literally all I have to talk about today. I’ve got to get back into it, and try to catch up with my goal schedule. Right now I’m about a day’s worth of work behind.

The Official November Plan


Since I’m not following wordcount goals this NaNoWriMo, I thought I should explain what my goals are. That way you can all keep me honest!

Essentially, I have 16 major scenes/plot points to hit before Thieves is done. Therefore, I must complete one scene/plot point every 2 days (at least). Since earlier means fresher, I’ve got 2 that I have to finish in the first 3 days so I can fit them all in.

I bought a big(ish) whiteboard/corkboard to keep track of all of this, and make sure my goals are right in front of my face.

Here it is: (btw, don’t try to read the cards if you don’t want spoilers!)

So far, I’m on track! Yay! And incidentally, just under the Nano official wordcount goal, so who knows – maybe I will hit 50,000!

In other news, this has been a week of organization. There are whiteboards everywhere :). I even got a little crafty and did my jewelry too:

They’re just wooden cross-stitch frames, with lace pulled over the inner hoop. That way I could hang my earrings and pins directly on the lace. I had to glue cork to the inner hoop in order to attach my bracelets and necklaces with pushpins. Simple, and hopefully more usable than my previous stack of little cases.

And last, in case you see me around in the next month, I’ve got a walking boot on.

Turns out I’ve been walking on my feet too much. Or something. So now I’ve got to wear this boot thing and not walk around so much, at least until it heals. Ugh. Though on the good side, maybe boredom will force me to be more productive on the Nano front… especially since I’ve also canceled my Netflix for the month.

This NaNo


I have officially decided that I will be participating in NaNoWriMothis year! And I’ve also decided exactly what I’ll be writing.

If you’ve been around since last year, you’ll know that last November I won NaNoWriMo (wrote a 50000 word novel in a month). As I mentioned in my Post-NaNo Report, I learned a few things, primarily that the crazy, slapdash, get-the-words-out pace of NaNo is not the most effective writing method for me. All I did was create 50,000 words of incomprehensible disaster. I wasn’t certain at the time that I would be participating again.

But there are some reasons that draw me back to NaNo this year. It is fun to be part of such an effort along with so many other amazing people. And there is something about a crazy public goal that brings out my competitive determined side. And let’s face it – writing is usually a pretty lonely endeavor. NaNo is anything but.

So I’m going for it again this year, though I’m not starting an entirely new story. My goal is to finish Thieves. Whether it takes 50,000 words or 20,000 words, if I finish the story I will consider this year’s NaNo a success.

My problem with writing too fast is that it takes me a while to develop a story to the point I can write it. Without the percolating time, anything I try to do turns into more of a hot mess than usual. The benefit of finishing Thieves is that I’ve been developing it for nearly a year. This past weekend I finished developing and outlining the second half of the story. I’ll be able to focus on just writing it from here on. Or that’s the plan. We’ll see how it turns out 🙂

If you write, have written, or want to write “someday,” then I hope you’ll pick up your pen this November and join in. It’s a super fun and super valuable effort. And there’s never going to be a better or worse time than right now.

A Week of Goal-Meeting


Well, today will be a light post, I think. I originally had some thoughts on how I use writing advice, because I feel like I use it a little differently than tradition dictates. But I’ve been sick this weekend, so my brain is fuzzy with meds and sleep and IT Crowd. Besides, I don’t have a lot of energy to be thoughtful.

It’s been a good week, despite ending in sick. I set myself some goals, and I’m proud to report I managed to meet them. Mostly.

I like visual/physical demonstrations of goal completion, so I decided that this week, I would put a sticker on my calendar each day I met my goals. Why should kindergarteners be the only ones that get to use stickers for personal fulfillment?

Here’s a pic of my week:

Isn’t it shiny colorful wonderful?

The stars stand for food goals (I am trying to change some of my eating habits) and the smiley faces are for writing goals. I still believe that writing every day may not be for me, but I’m going to try it for a while. You’ll probably notice that not every day has a pair of stickers, but overall I’m quite pleased. Improvement isn’t black and white; I didn’t fail just because I didn’t succeed 100%.

I hear it is always easier when you first start, and it takes like 40 days to embed a new habit. But I’m just going to take it a little at a time. Plus, it helps that the goals themselves are relatively small (write something, period. Even a sentence, and I get a sticker. Realistically though, who can write just a sentence and walk away?).

Once these get easier, I’ll add others. Soon, I’m going to take on my caffeine habit – that will be pawprint stickers, I already have them picked out. But I’m only going to go through withdrawal once, so when that happens, that HAPPENS.