Writing Goals for 2015

I know that there are a couple of days left in this year, but I felt like the beginning of the week would be just as good a place to put this post as any.

Looking back at the goals that I made for 2014, the only thing off of that list that I actually accomplished was finishing the novel I started for NaNoWriMo 2013. As you know, I did this by completely rewriting it for NaNoWriMo 2014. And, while I’m disappointed in myself for not having completed any of the other goals, I do think that the fact that I completed the big one, so to speak, is pretty exciting.

So, here are some of the writing goals that I have for myself for this upcoming year.

  1. This year’s “big” goal is that I want to finish editing my novel, Collecting Humanity.
  2. Another main goal for me is that I want to try my hand at freelance writing again.
  3. I’m also planning on blogging regularly both here and at No Penny Required. I made a commitment to both these blogs when I decided to purchase their domain names. I’m also playing with the idea of once again trying to create some sort of author website using Wix.
  4. You may have noticed in the sidebar that I’m going to give myself the poem a day challenge again as well. Even if it’s winds up being something I can’t use, I want to get something down.
  5. The same applies to short stories. I want to try to write as many of those as I can during the year as well, and the Story Pieces series that I’ve started doing here should help.
  6. I would also like to submit my work to different literary magazines,
  7. attempt to find a literary agent once my novel is complete,
  8. and get some professional head shots made for the web and also for, one day, the inside cover of my novels.

There are so many things to see and do and learn in 2015. What are some of your life and writing goals?

Citations

I know, I can’t bring another Story Piece today, but I can find time to give you two posts in one day instead? We already knew that I was strange.

I recently realized that I haven’t been citing from the book that I’ve been using to find quotes from. And, because I think it’s important for you to use citations in work, it must also be important for me to use citations in my work. This posts is simply giving you a head up that whenever you see some words in magenta at the end of one of my posts, that is a citation from Son of Citation Machine.

ExampleofMagentaCitation

Above is a better example of the magenta that will be happening. I know that it looks pink, but if you have a WordPress account, you can look at your color options and this one is, in fact, known as magenta.

Anyways, I’m going to go through the other few Weekly Quotes that I have and make sure that I have MLA citations for each of them.

QuotationaryThe book that I was referring to is the Quotationary put together by Leonard Roy Frank. This is a wonderful book that I’m pretty sure my grandma found for me somewhere at some point some years ago–it’s been a while. It’s also a book that I think you should make a part of your collection because it is wonderful and also because it is apparently only $0.98 on Amazon.

I’ve always found quotes to be fun to look at it and they can also be an inspiration for your writing. I find that it’s a great way to spark poetry, in particular.

And this book is designed wonderfully. For one thing, it’s huge! It’s filled to the brim with so many wonderfully easy to read and find quotes.

Frank did a great job when he decided to separate the quotes by subject, making it easy to flip through your ABCs until you find the type of quote you might be looking for. The index is also broken up into topic and author, making it even easier to find what you’re looking for. Each quote has the speaker of said quote along with what they might have said it in, be it a novel or speech or letter. There are even some classic, anonymous quotes at the end of each section.

New Things

New Posts

In my last post, I mentioned a new serial post that I was seriously considering starting. Well, I’m trying to make that happen.

Starting this Friday, you’re going to get scenes from a work of fiction that I literally just started working on.

Since I’m going to be posting them pretty much as I write them each week (on Fridays), there’s going to be minimal editing, so there’s a chance that the flow might be off or that I might forget Bob’s name in one scene and change it to Fred. But, really, who could possibly forget about Bob?

I would love to tell you all about the story, give you a little teaser to make you want to read it, but all I know so far is that it’s about some fairies and a young woman who didn’t know that she could talk to them or that they even existed.

I’m thinking about calling these weekly posts Story Pieces and there will, of course, be a page that helps you to keep track of them. Until I come up with proper titles, the stories will be referred to as things like “Bob’s story” or “The Fairies”. On the page, I’ll have the scenes links to each scene in the proper order. This means that, if I somehow manage to write some scenes out of order, they will be in the correct order on this page.

Pages

Speaking of pages, I very much need to edit these. Besides pages that don’t quite make sense to me anymore, there are things that need to be updated and a picture that’s no longer available and…it’s simply a work in progress.

I’ve already taken down the “What I’m Reading” page. This is because I don’t update it regularly enough. Also, I have the GoodReads widget installed and I seem to update that more frequently than the page I had set up here. It isn’t a perfect list, but the fact that I can update it on my phone seems to make it more likely that I will, in fact, update it at all.

If you would like to find me on GoodReads, my name there is Seannalyn.

Widgets

Now that I think of it, the widgets need to be edited too.

There’s going to be some deleting, rewording, rearranging, and possibly the addition of new widgets if any look applicable. So, consider this a work in progress as well.

The part that talks about when IBW is updated needs to be changed after some consideration, and I failed my personal poem a day challenge. I’m not going to be able to create 300 something poems in the past three weeks or so of the year. Although, I might try to do that again in 2015, hopefully with better luck.

Site Specific

As you may remember from earlier this year, I decided to splurge and buy a bundle off of WordPress. I bought the Premium Plan.

WordPress_Bundles

As you can see, this includes, among other things, a free domain name and that’s the main reason that I bought it. I’m fairly certain that I didn’t use any of the other features besides enjoying the lack of ads here. That, paired with the fact that it costs $99 every year, caused me to cancel the bundle.

When I canceled the bundle, a break down of all of these features that I had purchased, along with their individual prices appeared. I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I want to spend $30 a year for the domain name.

So, we may or may not be returning to http://www.ibreathewords.wordpress.com and you will start seeing ads on this site again starting in early January. I am sorry about the later and will get back to you about the whole reason that I went premium in the first place.

Finding Time

Noveling

This past year has been a big one for me and it’s almost gone. Looking back, I regret not completing more writing projects and not using the gym membership that I pay for every month whether or not I go.

The excuse that I’ve used, mainly to myself when I questWinner-2014-Facebook-Profileion these things, is that I don’t have enough time. But, after once again tackling NaNoWriMo this year, I know in reality that I’m just lazy most of the time. How could that be a wake up call for me, you might ask.

This year, I am among the proud winners of National Novel Writing Month.

The novel that I created is probably the only writing project that I finished this year, and it is also the biggest writing project that I have ever completed. Somehow, I managed to slay the beast that is 50,000 words.

Somehow, this project became a lot less harder and unattainable as the month went on. I’m not saying it was easy–far from it–but it was no longer impossible. When you think about it in the short term, you only have to write 1,1667 words a day.

When tackling a huge project like this or setting a huge goal for yourself, it’s easier to look at it day by day.

Can I get 1,667 words, go to the gym, write that one poem, finish that one book report today? Don’t think about what you’re going to do tomorrow or about how daunting the end goal is, think about what little pieces you can get done now, in the moment rather than stressing about what has to be done.

During November, I made sure to set aside at least an hour a day, most of the time multiple hours a day, to work on my novel. Sometimes, I would write more than I needed, and sometimes I would write less than was needed. But I always seemed managed to somehow manage to get caught up. I even finished the 50,000 words during the afternoon of November 29 when it wasn’t “due” until November 30.

NaNoWriMo_Word_Graph_2

 

I almost cried when I saw that word document hit page 100. And then I actually cried when I verified my word count and the video of some of NaNoWriMo’s staff cheered for my victory.

It’s such a glorious feeling to have completed a novel.

And now I’ve started the editing process, which I have a feeling is going to take me a long time considering the fact that it is rather long and also a shitty first draft. I did finally come up with a title that I just might keep–Collecting Humanity. Thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

Blogging

Once again, I haven’t done very much blogging. At all.

I now have plans to blog here at least once a week. I don’t really have a game plan as of yet for what I’ll be discussing, but it’ll be fun as usual!

One idea that I’m thinking about trying out is a series of weekly posts that give you a scene or chapter in a work of fiction that I’m working on. I think that this would be great because it would both keep me accountable and give me the opportunity to share my work.

I’m also going to be blogging a couple of times a week on No Penny Required. This is where I review a number of different things.

Experimenting

It seems that most writers pick a particular outlet–fiction, poetry, non-fiction, script writing–and stick with it like a jealous lover. And that’s easy to do once you’ve found what you love and/or are good at writing. But, I think it’s a good exploration to experiment with writing that you haven’t tried before.

I’ve spent most of my writing career flip flopping between being a poet and a fiction writer. This year, I discovered that I don’t have to be mainly one or the other; I can embrace my love for both. It’s more fun that way anyways.

I’ve only dabbled in creative non-fiction a little, and I regret never having taken that class while in college but I will try to experiment with it some more this coming year. And I have discovered that I love non-fiction in the blogging world, so why not in the creative realm? Play or screen writing is something that I’ve never really tackled, but I think I’ll make that another writing goal for next year.

What are your 2014 writing goals? The new year is fast approaching.

Dr. Jeff Rice

1. Do you write with your legal name, or a pen name? Why/why not? Have you ever considered creating a pen name?

I write under my real name. I’m a professional & technical writing specialist, so most of my writing is written for a particular industry/workplace purpose and audience. I might, for example, write a white paper suggesting that local restaurants use my client’s inventory software to solve their inventory problems. As you can imagine, using anything but your real name in these workplace situations could be quite the legal disaster.

That said, I do publish under a variation of my name: J. A. Rice. I use this variation because there’s another Jeff Rice who studies and writes about what I do. He also went to the same PhD program as I did. And he teaches at UK. Confused yet? I know I am.

2. Where/how did you study writing?

I received my BA (x2) in English and Philosophy at The Ohio State University, my MA in English at the University of Vermont, and my PhD in Professional & Technical Writing and New Media Studies at the University of Florida.

3. What all have you had published?

Not counting Internet publications, white papers, or formal reports, I’ve published a handful of articles on the philosophical and rhetorical relationships between new media technology, globalization, and workplace writing. I most recently published Beyond Postprocess, a co-edited collection that reevaluates what it means to write and to study writing in the digital age.

I had some fiction published a while back, but let’s forget about that. It’s not a productive area of discussion.

4. What’s your favorite piece of writing that you’ve created?

Well, that last sentence wasn’t too shabby.

5. Tell us a little about the publication process.

Industry and workplace writing varies by document, purpose, and culture. Technical documents like manuals or webpages are usually written and published in house, so they could take days or weeks to produce. It really depends on what the organization wants to accomplish (and how big & rich they are).

Academic writing—the obverse underside of professional & technical writing—can take years. For article and book publications, you usually first submit your essay or manuscript to a journal/press editor. They read it, and if they believe it has an audience, send it out to a blind peer review (a panel of other academics who read, comment, and judge your submission as acceptable, in need of serious revision, or unacceptable). Depending on what peer reviewers said, the editor contacts you and gives you a deadline to resubmit your work (obviously, if the peer reviewers judged your work as unacceptable, you don’t resubmit anything). Once you resubmit your essay or manuscript, the editor either sends it out again for further peer review or reviews it him/herself. With luck, the editor will accept your work and explain the journal’s/press’s publishing procedures.  It’s a long, stressful, and sometimes demoralizing process.

6. What advice would you give to beginning writers?

1. Read widely but discriminately. Read different kinds of texts—novels, poems, history, philosophy, rhetoric, magazines, blogs, zines, wikis, text messages, reports, manuals, etc.—and really look at how they approach, represent, and organize their subject matter. If, for example, you read a biography for informational purposes, you might want to pay particular attention to how the author contextualizes their subject, transitions from topic to topic, and even how they use a certain writing style to relate that information. In other words, the more purposeful your reading habits, the more you’ll notice how words impact and shape their subject matter.

2. Recognize that writing is a craft. Despite our cultural stereotypes, good writing is less a product of solitary genius than it is a testament to tenacity. Successful writers spend a lot of time crafting, reworking, and revising paragraphs and sentences (or stanzas, lines, etc.), so don’t get discouraged if your report or treatise doesn’t sound like you want it to. Keep crafting your writing/writing style and you’ll eventually get something you like.

7. Why did you start writing?

Because “Jedi Knight” isn’t a real job—yet.

8. Tell us a little about your writing process.

I’m one of those “write every day” people, so I try to write about 150-300 words every day. Usually, I begin an outline with some key ideas and just ramble or brainstorm about what I want to say. Once I’ve gotten a clear picture of where I want to go, I start writing from the outline—I literally write from the first Roman numeral to the last. In the final stages of my writing, I start editing for style and logic. It’s a pretty basic and traditional way of writing, but it helps make larger projects (reports, articles, books, etc.) seem more manageable.

9. What is your favorite book/author?

I’m not sure if I have any favorite books or authors, but certain writers have influenced the way I look at and practice writing. Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida really helped me understand how writing does more than merely communicate information or express thoughts. Likewise, I’d say that William Gibson’s cyberpunk novel Neuromancer influenced how I envision the relationship(s) between writing and technology.