Does anyone else feel like 2021 isn’t real yet? I’m not going to set personal goals for 2021. 2020 was such an off year that I feel like I need to take this year to re-baseline everything I thought I knew. The entire year. Continue reading “January Write Day: New Year, Same Goals”
Well, it’s not quite the end of 2020, but I’m ready to put a pin in my marketing goals for this year. The main reason: marketing did not go well for me. I can likely point to a number of reasons that this is the case, but the primary one is that I was likely too ambitious to start the year, and even a little too ambitious with my adjusted goals at the mid-year point.
One key thing I’ve learned this year is to aim high in my goals while still being more pragmatic about which ones are really attainable. Let’s dig in. Continue reading “2020 Marketing Goals Wrap-Up”
Everyone lean back, take a deep breath, and have a few gulps of water (or maybe a whiskey). National Novel Writing Month 2020 is over. November was a packed month with a lot of different things going on, but I like where I’ve ended up, generally. Continue reading “December Write Day: NaNoWriMo 2020 Wrap-Up”
If there is one thing I have learned from NaNoWriMo this year, it is that I do not have time to write 50,000 words in one month. And that’s not a complaint or an act of self-deprecation, for which I’m definitely not known.
It’s just an acknowledgment that my life and my priorities have changed since the first few years I participated in NaNo with great success. I’m still happy to be participating, and I’ve made some real progress.
Follow me on NaNo!
October was a pretty good month. I started off with a long weekend vacation in Rehoboth, DE, which already feels like ages ago, and ended with a rapid turn towards winter weather the last few days. I’ve found it oddly comforting.
Writing was meh, and National Novel Writing Month is now in full swing, but we’ll get to that.
Last Month’s Goals
- Write 6,000 words.
- Prepare “Uprooted” for next steps.
- Continue yoga and workout routine.
- Read more.
So how did I do?
Write 6,000 words?
I honestly forgot that 6,000 words was my goal. I had just assumed it was the usual 10,000. I may have been more motivated for this one if I remembered that I shorted my own goal.
I wrote about 2,850 words in October for part 2 of “The Herb Witch Tales”. I’m kind of stuck on larger structural changes that I’ll get to in the next section, but that stymied my creative flow a bit.
Prepare “Uprooted” for publication?
Sort of. If by “prepare” we mean that I confirmed that “Uprooted” is nowhere near ready for publication. (That’s an important step in the publishing process.)
I sent my draft of 38k words to two readers for some feedback, one being Marcy and the other being my editor. I’ve gotten some incredibly insightful feedback, and it’s spurred a lot of note-taking on my part for improvements to make.
But that means I have another round of revisions coming. that’s not a bad thing. It just means it’s still too early to think about publishing right now.
One piece of feedback was that the end of the story didn’t feel like a true resolution — more of a cut-off before an inevitable sequel. That’s not how I wanted “Uprooted” to end. I want a true ending.
And it turns out, I may be in the process of writing that ending right now. Part 2 of this series opens not long after “Uprooted” ends and actually ties off a lot of the loose ends one of my readers pointed out. So the first few thousand words of part 2 may really be my ending to “Uprooted”.
That also means that “Uprooted” is likely to be in the 40-45k word range, much more in novella territory than short story. The more I think about this shift, the more it makes sense. I’ll just also need to shift where part 2 begins and maybe some of the early plot set-up.
Continue yoga and workouts?
Yes, mostly. I’ve definitely been doing yoga and working out more days than not, which is really the goal. I’ve also started doing longer and more intense yoga sessions, which has been a huge boost.
I’ve found myself sore in the day or two afterwards, which is a good feeling.
Yes! I finished two books in October (on Audible), including one that I will be reviewing next week. It’s still difficult to find time to read a physical book, but I’ve managed to work Audible listening into more daily activities, even if it’s just for 5 or 10 minutes at a time. That has really helped.
Goals for November
- NaNoWriMo! Rather than writing 50,000 words, my real NaNo goal is to finish the first draft of part 2 of “The Herb Witch Tales”, in whatever form it takes. I’m writing this draft in a journal, so even if I decide to shift part of it over to part 1, it would be amazing if I could bring part 2 to a meaningful close.
- Yoga and working out. I’ve been pretty good about this, so I just need to be disciplined and carve out the appropriate time during the day for longer yoga sessions.
- Not lose my mind. With work stress, election stress, and creeping holiday stress, I just want to have a good month.
Update: I somehow wrote and published this post without actually setting any goals for this month… so I fixed that. See my goals at the end.
August was tough for reasons other than anything writing- or family-related. I took last week off from writing a real post because I just did not have the mental energy. I’m not yet convinced September is going to go much better, but I’m excited to share some news in this post. Continue reading “September Write Day: Marching Onward”
July strangely felt like a long month, but I still can’t believe it’s August. Summer is almost over! And I haven’t been to the beach! I’m hoping to have an extended beach weekend in October, when there would be fewer crowds and (ideally) still some warm weather. But we’ll see.
I procrastinated soooo much in July. Maybe I cursed myself by declaring the Return of the Summer Doldrums. I also feel like I haven’t had a free weekend in months. We’ve been going pretty hard at home improvement things for like eight straight Saturdays.
Still, I did halfway decently with my goals.
Back in January, I laid out my goals for my book publishing and marketing efforts for this year. Now that we’re over the halfway mark of the year, it’s time to review–and likely revise–my goals.
By the way, does anyone else feel like we’re living in a completely different world now compared to January? It’s like we stepped into the dark timeline.
June was a slow month on the writing front, and kind of on every front. It’s yet another month that passed by so quickly, yet I can’t say with much confidence what I did.
We did a ton of work on our cellar, I suppose. It’s an old brick foundation with some cement, and we spent three or four weekends in a row filling in gaps and cracks with hydraulic cement, then painting over it all with water-sealing paint. We’re still not done.
As much as that stuff needs to get done, it definitely ate up my weekend downtime. But, no excuses!
Last Month’s Goals
- Finish the second draft of “Uprooted”.
- Write 12,000 words.
- Continue reading.
- Continue doing yoga daily (or almost daily).
So how did I do?
Finish the second draft of “Uprooted”?
No! Ugh, I have no idea what I did in June… aside from watching Community and sealing and painting our cellar.
What’s crazy is that I did not have an objectively bad writing month, it just looks so compared with the stellar progress I made in April and May. I wrote 4,031 words in June, but quite a bit of it was rewriting a pivotal section that I simply did not like from my first draft.
I had transcribed it the previous month, but then found that I couldn’t continue. It just didn’t feel right. So after mulling it over for way too long, I decided to change the scene entirely. That process of rethinking this one section of the story really slowed me down in the first couple weeks of June.
The rest of the time, I was just lazy. We’re going on a trip this weekend to a (socially distanced, non-touristy) family vacation home, and I’ve been looking forward to it all month. My brain started to slip into vacation mode, which always seems to happen to me around this time of year. Anyone remember this post?
Anyway, I didn’t make nearly as much progress as I had wanted to on “Uprooted”, but I’m not going to expend energy beating myself up about it. Maybe this was the mental hiatus I needed. Plus, I’m looking forward to starting part 2 longhand this weekend, while sitting by a lake sipping tasty concoctions.
Write 12,000 words?
I just realized that I had separate goals for finishing a draft and total word count, but the previous section flows pretty well and I’m not changing it. See above.
Yes, but not as much as I may have liked. I’m just about finished my second Audible Original for the month, which always run short, but I haven’t read much in the way of paper pages recently. I’m just not yet into the fantasy book I had picked up, but I’m going to keep plugging away at it.
Strangely, a random post from a friend on Facebook led me down a rabbit-hole of Warhammer 40,000 related content, so I’ve been reading a ton of articles on a fan site. I started with the Night Lords and keep finding more things to read. Man, I miss that game. So expensive, though.
Continue doing yoga?
Yes! My one big achievement in June! I haven’t done it every day, but it has definitely been most days. I’m still using Sarah Beth Yoga on YouTube, and I now have a few favorites I’ll go back to for specific types of exercise, focusing on specific areas, etc. But, I’ve branched out a lot to and have made an effort to try new videos each week.
What’s great about yoga is that my workout can change depending on my mood. Some days I need high-intensity strength training. Some days I’m sore and want to loosen up. Other days, I just want to feel relaxed. Yoga gives me all of that, which has been incredible for my mental health as much as physical.
Goals for July
- Actually finish “Uprooted — The Herb Witch Tales #1”. I don’t think I’ll have a problem finishing. I’m now over a bit of a plot hump that coincided with the summer doldrums, and I genuinely want to complete this draft.
- Write 10,000 words. I’m going back to basics. Word counts sometimes put the wrong kind of pressure on my writing. I don’t care what I write for part 1 as long as I finish. Drafting part 2 longhand will be a longer process, especially starting out, so I’m aiming lower than last month.
- Continue with yoga and hit the gym. My gym is open with social distancing policies in place, so I want to get back into weight training. The good news is that I feel physically ready to do so, without the pressure of jumping into it too fast. For the first time in 15 years, weight training is now the complement to my exercise staple: yoga.
- Find a way to read more. Listening to audiobooks are basically the only thing I miss about driving all the time, but I can definitely be doing more. I still need to pad my 2020 reading goal for GoodReads posterity.
Steve’s post last week on his progress towards his goals was very inspirational. So I confess: I’ve never been good about setting writing goals. Partly because I have abysmal time management skills, but also because in the past I would write in fits and starts. I would plunge into a story and write for hours, day after day, and then when something would come up or the plotting/story would get hard, it would be weeks or months (or never – okay, pretty much never) until I would come back to it. I no longer have the luxury to write for hours on any day, let alone any sort of marathon burst of creativity. Life has forced me to write a little each day (only other option: none at all) and actually, this has served to turn the unsustainable torrents into more of a reasonable trickle. Circumstance-enforced discipline, I suppose. So maybe it is time to retry Writing Goals.
One goal I have had in the last month is to post here on Mondays – and so to keep achieving goal number one, here is the next exercise from Ursula Le Guin’s Steering the Craft book. This is from Chapter 2, the chapter on Punctuation and Grammar. She calls this exercise a “pure consciousness-raiser” about the value of punctuation.
Continue reading “Exercise 2: Am I Saramago”