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?

My Notebook Editing Process

I mentioned last week that I’ve come up with a new way to organize the scenes of my novel so that I can see what needs work. With the hope that it will be helpful, I’ve decided to break it down for you here.

So far, I’ve been writing down recaps of each scene with as few words as possible and then writing down little captions of what point in time they’re taking place. If said point in time needs to be fixed or if I think the scene needs series work, I’m going to write myself a note saying so. Later, once I have all of the scenes’ captions written out, I’m going to work on numbering them–figuring out what order they should be in and what chapters they should be in.

Maybe I should have been giving each scene an entire page instead of just three blank lines. Too late for that!

Anyways, I’m also planning on adding more sections to this notebook, including one for the characters that includes their description and character traits. There will more than likely be a section dedicated to scene too.

As of right now, the pen colors are:

  • Black –> Initial scene recap
  • Purple –> Points in time that the scene takes place
  • Red –> Notes about major editing fixes that need to happen

Those are the only colors that I’ve needed so far. Eventually, there will more than likely be at least one more color with the purpose of marking the order and chapter of every scene.

Slightly Random Note

I mentioned before that I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d spend the money on keeping this domain for another year. Well, while in the spirit of Christmas shopping over the weekend, I decided to buy it for myself.

Editing Progress

Over the weekend, I started more seriously delving into the editing process for my NaNoWriMo novel. I also did a little editing of this actual site along with a little bit of Christmas shopping.

No, I have not finished my Christmas shopping yet. Usually, I would have been done and had everything wrapped by now…

I’ve started doing more shopping online this year and discovered that it’s difficult to not shop for myself along the way. Somehow, it’s easier to control myself when at the store than when on my laptop. For instance, after having shopped for the few things that I wanted for family, I decided to look on the Bath & Body Works website where they had their three wick candles on sale for $12.

I’ve had a bit of a candle problem ever since I’ve moved out, though I’ve pretty much gotten it under control. Sales like these make things difficult. Maybe, I’ll just allow myself one or two candles.

Now, the real reason I’m writing this post is to tell you about my latest editing endeavors.

So far I’ve started doing a read through while doing some minor editing and attempting to organize the piece with chapters and real scene breaks, but I hadn’t gotten very far. I kept sitting on this idea I had to help me fix the organization of the novel that involved sticky notes, but I couldn’t figure out how that wouldn’t be a big mess.

LOTR sword penOn Saturday I decided to take the idea and tweak it to something involving a notebook. I’m writing down a little snip-it about each scene as I come across it and then, with a different color pen, I’m giving it a timeline sort of word like “day 1” or “flashback.” After that, I’m going to work on putting everything it it’s proper order and chapter while fixing timeline holes.

And I’ve already found a timeline hole. I have a scene labeled “day 2” in which one of my characters references “a month later” as if it were in the present.

As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t written this big of a beastly project before, so I think that this will be the perfect way to organize lay out and figure out how to make it make sense.

I’m going to find a lot more holes that need to be filled because, during NaNoWriMo, my goal was to simply get all of the words down.

The sticky note idea probably would’ve worked just as well, if not better, because I would’ve been able to move said sticky notes around to get them in the correct order. I simply couldn’t figure out where I was going to stick all of them.

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.

Taking a Break

I know that I’ve said I’m going to start blogging again time and time again, and this promise keeps falling through. The funny thing is that it isn’t because I don’t want to blog–I very much do.

And, despite the fact that I haven’t been present here, I very much have still been writing.

I recently finished a short story that I’d been working on. Well, it’s more “finished” than actually finished because I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to rip the thing apart and rewrite it. But, my shitty first draft is done! I’ve also written some random poems and dabbled a little bit with my novel, and I started a new project yesterday.

Said project is going to be a number of retellings of different stories in the hands of a feminist. I’m still trying to figure out how I want to write these–I’m leaning towards short stories at the moment. I’m hoping this project will be one that sticks.

I’ve also handwritten some posts for No Penny Required, I just need to stop being lazy and get the things posted.

I think the main reason that I haven’t been as present here is because I’m feeling inadequate. What right do I have to try to help others with their writing when I am still learning myself? But…isn’t that the point? Aren’t we all always learning? Maybe if I learn to grasp that, open myself up the idea, I’ll once again feel like I’m able to contribute.

And so, the point of this rambling post is that I’ve decided to take a temporary break from this blog I love. I’ll never stop writing, but I feel that I need to take a step back from IBW and reevaluate what it is I’m doing here.

As always, your thoughts are welcome. Happy writing!

Surround Yourself

I’ve steadily come to the realization that I’m currently reading and watching fiction that’s similar to the mood of my main writing project.

Last week, I finished the first draft of a short story that I’ve been working, which is on a much lighter note than the novel I started in November. Shortly after, I finished reading “The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I” by Stephen King and then picked up Dan Brown‘s “Angels & Demons” off my shelf. I also became invested in the TV show The Following.

43615All three of these stories, if you will, are rather dark in nature. I’ve written a review of The Following, but have yet to do so for “The Gunslinger.” And, since I’ve barely started “Angels & Demons,” of course I haven’t written a review for Brown’s work yet. Check out their websites or do some Google-ing of your own, but the point that I’m trying to make is that each of these works can, in some way, be classified in the horror genre.

I can’t stand horror or slasher movies, but I enjoy reading the same genre in book form. (Yes, I’m aware that I’m strange). And I can handle TV shows that freak me out as long as there’s enough plot to pull me in and I have something to distract me before bedtime.

So, if horror isn’t my favorite thing to read or watch, why do I suddenly find myself surrounded by it?

I think it was subconscious’ way of telling me to get back into writing my novel. And yesterday I did start the next chapter of what is already the longest work I’ve ever written. Whether or not King and Brown and Kevin Bacon inspired me to get back to it, I think that it’s benefiting me to immerse myself in this world.

To me, it’s important for every writer to devote as much time as possible to 1) writing and 2) reading. How best do we learn our craft than by practicing it and observing the success of other master crafters? And, especially if you find your self delving into a topic you aren’t used to writing, I think that it’s a good idea to read and watch works that are at least somewhat similar to what you’re working on. I’m not telling you to plagiarize. All I’m trying to say is that it might get you in the right mindset or mood for what you’re working on.

Stephen King

Partly because I haven’t started reading this book yet, and partly because I love beginnings of novels, here are some words from the beginning of Stephen King’s novel The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I. I have yet to read anything by King and I’ve been intrigued by him for a while now, so I thought it was about time to delve into his work.

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

~Stephen King

Are you interested in this story? I am. Who are the man in black and the gunslinger? Why is the gunslinger chasing him? And why are they in the desert? I don’t know about you, but I’m going to go read now.

King, Stephen. The Gunslinger. New York, NY: New American Library, 1988. Print.