Posts Tagged ‘goals’

WriYe and the New Year

Once again, we’re doing WriYe (short for Writing Year, formerly NaNoWriYe in the ancient past of the aughts). This is…*counts on fingers*…year four since I came back at the beginning of 2019. Every month there is a blog post prompt, and I tend to do them, because it allows me to not have to think too hard about a blog post every so often.

They’re doing a different format this year where, instead of a series of questions, there’s just a single prompt. So, for January, the prompt is:

Tell us about your plans for the year.

Not unexpected. It is that time of the year.

(Also, hey, did I tell you guys that I sold a short story last weekend? 2022 is already going better than either 2020 or 2021.)

I’ve talked about working on overcoming the procrastination habits I’ve fallen into over the last couple of years and my video gaming goals already, so I guess let’s talk about everything else I have planned for the year.

Let’s talk about reading first. Back in, oh, 2009 or something, I set a goal of reading 50 books a year, which I have managed every year since then (sometimes squeaking through, sometimes with easy sailing). That’s about a book a week, though I tend to read several books at a time. It’s inefficient, but whatever.

Occasionally I add modifiers to the challenge. 2020 I believe I had a requirement to read something lying about the house (which apparently cumulated in me reading a lot of things I’d bought at library book sales), and I think it was 2019 where I tried to read a book per book shelf. (Made it through four or five shelves before I got distracted.)

This year I’ve got two: 1) book per month that is lying around and 1) book per month off either my Goodreads Want to Read shelf or my library’s For Later shelf.

The thing I have to look out for is the same thing as 2020, where I focused on the library book sale books, i.e., books that I knew I would read and then get rid of. The spirit of the challenge should be to read books that I really want to read that I haven’t gotten around to yet. Something to think about.

Writing-wise, my main goal for the year is to do a final revision on Book 1 of my trilogy (as identified as my main writing goal in my life when I did my soul searching last fall) and create/revise submission materials for it.

(Also I’m going to finish the first draft of the Gothic horror novella I started during November. Almost done, only have about 8K left to go and have already written 10K on it for the month, so hopefully that’s done relatively quickly here.)

Now, submission is a horrible, confidence-draining process, and I will need to do something else once we reach the submission period. So here’s what I’m thinking, in some vague order:

-Revise my scifi horror novella (got lots of good beta feedback, and it sounds like the book is in pretty good shape in general)
-Create/revise submission material for that so I can be in double submission hell, I guess
-Revise the cozy mystery I wrote for Nano 2020 (some feedback, pretty good, though)
-Create/revise submission material for that? (Misery loves company, ha ha)
-Finish my serial (only Part 4 still needs to be done, and should be out March or April, I believe–I forget the schedule and will have to look)
-Release serial as an ebook

The cozy mystery, if it gets anywhere, will be under a penname. I have one picked out and everything.

I also have a goal of releasing two more SkillShare classes, but SkillShare is making some massive changes to the teaching side of the platform (changing how many minutes people have to watch before you get royalties, changing the platform they’re paying through, etc.) and I will need to look and see if I still want to stay there or try out a different platform.

Anyway, that’s the general plan for the year! I have to do the Book 1 stuff, but the rest of it is kind of fluid. Still, I predict a lot of revision, though what specifically I’m revising may change.

Any big plans yourself, squider?

Okay, Let’s Get on the 2022 Train

Okay, okay. We’re three days away from 2022, so I guess we should act like it.

(On a side note, I’ve checked out a laptop at the library, which, on one hand feels very neat, but on the other hand, kind of makes me anxious about logging into stuff on a shared computer. My understanding is that they reset between people, but eeeeeeee all the same.)

(Will just have to log out of everything ever.)

My pondering about goals over the past few days has mostly followed the train of thought that I have spent a LOT of time procrastinating over the past two years–no spoons to be had–and how to fix that instead of getting sucked into time sinks for hours on end.

I’ve two main time sinks: Discord and YouTube.

I’ve been on Discord for years but never used it terribly regularly until about a year ago. That’s when I joined my Among Us server. I still was spotty for a bit, until the tournaments started up. Even now, when everyone’s back at work/school, I still spend a fair amount of time there even though it is less active. The biggest issue is first thing in the morning. A lot of the people are in Europe/the UK, which means it’s their afternoon in my morning, which is when they’re active. So I tend to stop by in the morning to say hi/catch up on stuff that happened while I was asleep, and then, since that’s when it’s most active, I get sucked into whatever’s happening or I hang out and ditz around seeing if something is going to happen.

On one hand, socialization is good for me and I do truly like the people in that server. On the other hand, stopping by in the mornings derails me first thing, which makes it hard to switch into a productive frame of mind later on in the day.

The YouTube issue goes a bit like this: I have a couple of channels that I subscribe to that put out regular content on a weekly basis. So I’ll go on to watch that week’s episode, and since I listen best when doing something with my hands, I’ll play my coloring game on my phone while the episode is going. (Plus it makes it feel like I’m not just wasting time watching YT.) My episode will end, but I won’t be done with my picture, so I’ll go on to a different video. I’ll finish my picture, but the video’s not over, so I start a new one. And eventually I run out of subscription videos and will move into random stuff, ad nauseum. And even if the picture/video end at the same time, it’s still hard to break out of that and move on to something else.

I think the solution here has got to be to limit my time.

I don’t necessarily want to miss out talking to my friends on Discord, but I’ve noticed that if I check it on my phone rather than my computer, it’s harder to engage (i.e., type) so it’s easier for me to move on to something else. I think I can do a morning check-in on the phone and then move on to more productive things while still making times for special events that may happen occasionally. And for YouTube, I think I’ve got to do one video at a time and then cut it off. It’s too easy to get into that “One more, oh, one more, okay, one more” mentality otherwise.

And, I think, if I’m not at work, I’ve got to set a time (say, 10 am) where I get off my desktop and do something else, no matter what, whether that’s a chore around the house, or walking the dog, or going to a coffee shop. Forcing myself to move should help me get out of a Discord/YouTube rut even if I’ve fallen into one.

(The other thing I’ve noticed is that I’ll sit down at the desktop to work, get distracted, and then stay there even when I realize I’ve been sucked into a time sink, because maybe in five minutes I’ll stop messing around and work, but that point never comes.)

Identifying the problem is the first step to fixing it, as they say. So we’ll see how this goes.

As for finite goals, my hope is that if I can convert even a third of my current procrastination time into productive time, I can get close to my pre-pandemic levels of productivity. Getting Book 1 ready for submission is my top goal, followed by finishing my novella for TDP, editing/revising my scifi horror novella and my cozy mystery, and getting out a couple more SkillShare classes (with less fixing needed next time. May need to invest in a better microphone). I should also finish my serial (part 3 will be out on Saturday) early-ish in the year and I can put that out as a novella as well. Hopefully more than that will get done, but it feels like a good starting place.

Non-writing wise, 50 books like normal, with the added stipulation each month that one book is from a TBR list, and one book is off my shelf at home. I’ve been reading a LOT of library books, but meanwhile everything else just grows.

And I am going to try out that video game goal I was thinking about. A new game each month or, if I haven’t beaten the previous month’s game yet, at least 5 hours of gameplay. I shall have to ponder what I want to play first. I have 60 or so Steam games and I’ve only beaten like 10 of them. (And I bought a new one a few days ago. Whoops.)

I have a bad habit of playing the games I’m least interested in first (saving the best for last, I guess?) which works when eating your dinner but is a silly way to game, so I’ve got to overcome that too.

Anyway, squiders, do you have goals for the new years?

WriYe and the Year’s End

It’s that time of month again. And that time of year. Madness.

Also, I talked about this over at Turtleduck Press earlier this week, but does anyone else feel like 2021 is a liminal year? Like, that it doesn’t really exist. It’s just a continuation of 2020, and it’s near impossible to remember what happened this year vs. last year.

Anyway.

I haven’t been terribly active over at WriYe this year, and I don’t think I’ll hit my word count goal, which I think was 120K. I’m hovering around 90K for the year, but I also stopped tracking some months ago, so. I actually have no idea. Oh well.

That being said, let’s get on to the prompts for this year.

2021 is almost over. Sum up your year of writing. Did you meet your goals?

What even were my goals? One second.

Oh, right. I picked the word Polish for my word for the year, and then, aside from poking at Book 1 for a few months, did nothing with it. Bad show, Kit.

Story-wise, I dragged my Changeling story out to about 70K words and then decided it was awful and stuck it in a drawer. I DID manage to finish my draft of World’s Edge. And I’ve got 31K on my Nano story which–having read over it earlier this week–has definite issues but is salvageable.

I revised nothing, alas.

I sent out a handful of picture book queries and then did nothing to follow up on that, such as sending more queries out to other agents.

I did create two SkillShare classes, though the second one continues to be in audio-editing limbo. Fingers crossed that gets done tomorrow.

So, did I meet my goals? I give me a C.

Give us your biggest triumph and what you are most proud of!

In the great scheme of Accomplishing, I didn’t accomplish much. I mean, there was the writing, which has been, well. I think I’ve talked about how I feel like what I’m coming up with recently is just…not interesting. Or maybe I just talked to the TDP folks about that. (I’ve got to remember that so much of the good stuff comes out in revision, and all a first draft has to do is exist.)

I did put out a short story collection in…May? That’s kind of a big deal, I guess.

And this last SkillShare class, the one that I’m having issues with the audio one–I was so proud of it! It’s a workshop and I think it has a lot of good information in it, but everything’s gotten kind of bogged down with trying to get it fixed, and my enthusiasm has dulled.

I think…I think for 2022 I’ve really got to sit down, look at what I want to accomplish, make realistic goals, and figure out ways to actually focus instead of the weird procrastination stuff I’ve been doing for the last two years.

That’s for a few weeks from now, though. Or next week.

Hope your December is going well, squiders!

Re-Evaluating Writing Goals

Well, guys, I’m back from camp, and, in theory, I can rev up my engines, or some metaphor that makes sense.

Last week we talked about my writing journal and also how it’s July and my word for the year, Polish, just has not been happening. The idea being that I would use said writing journal to look at my goals for the year and either figure out how to re-focus on Polish or change the focus for the year to be something that fit in better with what I’m actually working on.

However, it turns out it’s kind of hard to get going on re-evaluating your goals. So, eventually I decided to ask myself a pointed, direct question:

What do I want, more than anything else?

If I can only accomplish one thing, what do I want it to be?

And the answer was that I want to get my fantasy trilogy published.

Which led me to the revelation that maybe the reason that I have my fingers in so many pots is because I am avoiding working toward this particular goal.

Hold on, let me see if I can clarify.

I have been working on the Trilogy for SO LONG. It’s been 17 years since I wrote the first draft, 22 since I first came up with the idea. I have written the first book, in its entirety, three times. It holds a special place in my heart as the first book I ever finished, and at this point I know the characters like I know my family. It’s near and dear to my heart.

BUT when something is so important to you, it’s hard to put it out there, to be rejected. So I think I write other things, work on other projects, because if they fail, oh well. Or maybe I’m putting other things out there because if they work, then it shows that I’m good enough, my stories are good enough, and I can risk putting out the Trilogy.

But the fact of the matter is that I’m all over the place–other novels, trying out new genres, working on the nonfiction stuff–because I’m avoiding fully committing to the Trilogy and potentially getting hurt.

Oof. It was a realization, I tell you what.

It seems logical what I should do now. If the Trilogy is what really matters to me, I should switch over to it. “Get the Trilogy published” isn’t a good goal, because as we’ve talked about before, any goals that rely on other people are frustrating and leave you without control, but “Polish the Trilogy and get it ready for submission” is a perfectly good goal.

But I’ve got to tell you, dropping the defensive behavior is not easy. When I even thought the idea it made me wildly anxious. Landsquid knows how long I’ve been doing this. Years, at least.

So I’m going to compromise with myself. I’m going to take steps toward the main goal. There’s two weeks left of the summer critiquing marathon over in one of my writing groups, so I can at least get feedback on the first and maybe the second chapter. I have beta comments from previous critiques that I’ve already put into my document. So, in theory, I should have enough feedback to get going on the next step after the end of the marathon.

Meanwhile, I’m still going to work on finishing this draft of World’s Edge. It’s the same world as the Trilogy, so it’s arguably related. I’ve got a couple of commitments that need fulfilling as well–the next part of a serial for TDP, and a novella that needs to be written over the next few months. Those need to be done.

But I’ve got to finally commit to the Trilogy–really commit–or it’s never going to go anywhere.

Blah. Scary. Stupid journal, revealing all my deepest secrets to myself.

Anyway, how are you?

Out of the Woods

Hey, so it’s May! Oh man, it’s already the 5th. I feel like April flew by and May’s going to same. Time needs to slow down. I can’t believe it’s almost summer.

So, let’s talk about Camp Nano and how it went.

I did not connect with anyone, at all. They got rid of the cabins and now just have groups, which are the same groups from Nano, so all my online writing groups have one, and I think I looked in, oh, twice? And no one else seemed to be talking either. It autoposts any badges you have earned, so that was really about it. I also posted in my local Nano region’s discord twice or so as well.

I mean, there is some argument to make that the social aspect of writing challenges takes away from writing time, and that keeping it to a minimum might be better in the long run, but why do a social writing challenge at all then? The idea is to have accountability and all that jazz.

I haven’t been connecting very well to any of my writing groups lately. People don’t seem active when I’m active, or they’re not working on similar things, or not working at all. Also, all my social energy has been going to my Among Us group, some of who I get along with really well, so I don’t necessarily have the energy for my writing groups, especially when it feels harder to connect to them.

(Some of that may also be lingering confidence issues, like we talked about last week.)

As for Camp itself, I got 17,000 words on World’s Edge, which is less than the 25K I hoped for, but still better than I’ve done the rest of the year.

It feels a little unfocused, but not to where it’s not fixable in revision. I’m at 73K, so we’re only a little ways out from The End, and I’m not 100% sure how the end needs to go, so that’ll be fun moving forward.

I also realized that I set my word for the year as Polish, and I’ve done almost nothing for that. I mean, I poked at the beginning of Book One for a month or so, but I didn’t really get anywhere. I also submitted Book One to #RevPit last month and heard nothing back, so yay. Not sure what to do there. Going to leave it alone for the moment.

I think, after I finish World’s Edge’s draft, I’ll edit the scifi novella I finished last year. It’s shorter, so it should go a bit faster, and maybe I can get back into my groove. Maybe go into editing Ex-1 (the space dinosaur novel) after that, or maybe poke at some novella ideas.

I just want things getting finished, you know?

I just want my mojo, and my confidence, back.

Oof.

Anyway, Camp was a success, I think. It was nice to be moving on something, and I hope to finish the draft this month, though I’ve set a more modest goal of 15K for the month. Extra is good, but I’m not going to stress out about it.

How have you been, squider? How are your goals doing?

WriYe and 2021

This kind of goes over stuff we’ve already talked about, but here we are anyway!

What’s your WriYe Word Count goal for 2021? Why did you chose it?

I picked a goal of 120,000 words for this year. Last year I wrote 150K, and that’s on top of wasting a LOT of time, so I could conceivably write more if so inclined, but since most of my time this year is going to be spent on revision, I didn’t want to go that high again.

I’m still waffling about counting revision words. I do tend to retype everything during a revision, especially if it needs a lot of work, because it allows me to tweak word choice, and I haven’t decided if I should count that or not. Things to worry about later!

What are your writing/editing plans for the year?

I’m not going to do this in great detail, since we did talk about it last week, but essentially I intend to focus on revising several (six) longer projects with the hopes that they’ll be ready for publication of some sort. They need various amounts of work so I’m going to start with the easiest ones first.

Bonus:

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?

Uh…hopefully being able to go places again? I know that’s not writing related, but I am so stir crazy I can’t stand it. I’d even love just to be able to go work at the coffee shop instead of my house.

(Speaking of which, I got a new laptop! It’s one of those 2-in-1s that turns into a tablet, though I haven’t thought of a need for tablet mode yet.)

Writing wise, I’d like to be able to focus better and get more done with my time. And actually finish some projects.

What are your goals for 2021, squiders?

Obligatory New Year’s Post 2021

Okay, I’ve gotten my act together and made goals for the year. I don’t really feel like going back over 2020 as a whole–I certainly made a lot of progress posts through the year, but it wasn’t all bad. I wrote a little over 150,000 words for the year, had a few stories published, completed two drafts and had one critiqued, and wrote most of another draft. I read lots of writing books and took a few writing classes, and I read some drawing books and took a lot more drawing classes.

I also spent a lot of time wasting time. I have a coloring game on my phone that I have spent a lot of time on, just saying. I think a lot of that came from having everyone around all the time, and trying to manage all their stuff too. It’s been hard to focus around all that, and when I have managed to squeeze out some alone time, I’m often too tired to give a story the attention it needs.

The small, mobile ones are back in school, though, so maybe I can turn that around. That being said, I do have a client edit that must be finished soon, so that takes priority. And who knows how long school will happen this time.

But, hey, I got my goals together. As I mentioned last week, my word for the year is polish.

As such, my main focus for the year is going to be revision, with the hopes that I can finalize some projects so my to-do list isn’t quite so long and overwhelming.

For drafting new words, my goals include:

  • Finish the first draft of the Changeling story (at about 55K) or decide if it’s a lost cause
  • Finish the first draft of World’s Edge (also at 55K)
  • Perhaps poke the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin (which continues to be stuck in the mire)

I’m going to continue to do my drabbles related to larger stories, but I think I’m going to drop my Pinterest prompts for now. And, of course, there’s always the possibility that something new will come along.

For revision, I’ve got six projects:

  • Boughs of Fate (Book One of the Ri’shan Trilogy, high fantasy)
  • Rings Among the Stars (scifi horror novella)
  • What Lurks Beneath the Bleachers (YA horror)
  • Excalibur-1 (science fiction) (aka the space dinosaur story)
  • Broken Mirrors (YA or MG fantasy)
  • The cozy mystery I wrote in November

These are all in varying states. Book 1 is on its third complete draft, and I suspect just needs some finetuning in the beginning. I have feedback on the scifi horror novella, Bleachers, and Ex-1, but I haven’t gone through them yet. (Bleachers is on its second complete draft. You may remember me doing a fairly massive overhaul on it a few years back.) Broken Mirrors is the first story I ever edited, and I actually queried it for a bit, but when I read through it last year, it needed quite a bit of work. Also I need to make it solidly either YA or MG. Right now it’s kind of in the middle. And the cozy, being a different genre, well, I’ll have to figure how to handle that.

Other than that, I still need to query that picture book (has been ready since, like, March, I’m mostly avoiding it), work on my shorts, make some new SkillShare classes (any requests?), and look at making additional materials to go with the Writers’ Motivation series books and workbooks.

So! That’s my plan for the year, kind of in the order I’m going to work on them.

Planning anything big for the year, squiders?

Fizzling Out of 2020

Hey, squiders, can you believe this hellscape of a year ends tomorrow? Me either! I really mean it. I’m finding it really hard to process that, come Friday, we’ll be in 2021.

All my writing groups are starting new challenges for the new year, talking about their new goals and their new plans. And I…am not feeling it.

Last year, I had so many plans. I was so optimistic about the year to come, full of hopes and dreams. I recently went back and re-read my posts from December and January. I really had no idea. I mean, I suspected my husband’s health problems (he’s doing much better now!) but I still thought I’d have time. Both small, mobile ones would be in school full time for the first time after all. I was going to get so much done.

But then everything fell apart. I’ve had less time than I’ve had in years. Everyone was home all the time, and always seemingly in need of something.

I got things done, sure. I did manage a whole Nano, despite everything. I’ll do a formal wrap-up/goals next week sometime, or maybe the week after. But I didn’t get what I wanted to done. . A lot less than I wanted to.

Part of me wonders if it’s worth it, to give in to hope and plans and all that jazz. Maybe I should just pick the next project and go, and not worry about planning a bigger picture, at least not until things even out.

I did pick a word for 2021. It’s Polish. My education year went well–I’m pleased with what I did, and I learned a lot. But now I’d like to take what I learned and finish some things off, focus more on making projects the best they can be. Get some projects done and out the door. Revision and editing do take me more time than drafting, but I hope if I practice, I can streamline my process and be able to get more done faster.

Anyway, we’ll have to see how it goes. And I suspect that, after I do sit down and make some goals, I’ll feel it a little more. But, for now, well, we’ll have to see.

I hope you have a happy new year’s, squiders, and I’ll see you next week and next year.

Nano Aftermath

Happy December, everybody. It’s miserably cold here and snowed for approximately five seconds before it got bored, which, well, boo, I guess.

December is here, and so Nano is over. I had 4,000 words to write yesterday, but they didn’t end up being an issue at all–in fact, it was some of the most relaxed I’ve ever been on a Nov 30 in a Nano year.

I also, for the first time ever, have a complete first draft after Nano. Now, most of the time, I’m writing fantasy or science fiction, which trend longer than mysteries in general, so I guess that’s not that big of a surprise. I think the closest I got before was a YA fantasy story (I may revise that one next year, we shall see) whose first draft ended up being around 60,000 words.

Nano was weird this year. Almost…dreamlike, in some ways. It had none of its usual trappings. The loss of the in-person write-ins made it so I didn’t connect with anyone locally, and even my online groups weren’t terribly active. Normally they perk back up for Nano, but I barely saw a bump this year.

So, did that make it worse…or better?

While I spent a lot of the month behind, at no point was I stressed. Heck, for the last two weeks, I was routinely writing 2K to 3K without breaking a sweat. Despite not doing my normal accountability things, such as posting excerpts and daily word count checks in one of my writing groups, I had no issues keeping myself motivated.

That makes me wonder how much of the accountability things are really working, and how much of them are just extra work on top of the writing.

50K is a little short for a mystery–my research says they tend to be in the 60-70K range, but I suspect I didn’t provide enough misdirection in the middle. That’s fixable. For now, though, I have written a complete draft of a mystery, and if you recall, I wasn’t sure that was doable.

Nano was fine. Barely broke a sweat. Felt weird about how not stressful it was.

Now we’re on to December! The education goals are back on, though I’m a bit tired out on writing books, so I’m doing a nonfiction book about Christmas folklore instead, and I intend to do my monthly prompts again. I shall have to think about whether or not I’d like to keep doing them, come the new year. The practice is good, and it’s nice to write something new each month, but they do sometimes detract from larger projects.

And I don’t know about returning to the Changeling story. It was going so poorly. My mystery went great. I don’t know if that’s because I had to plan the mystery more, or if there’s fundamentally something wrong with the Changeling story. Not all stories are salvageable, and I need to decide if it’s worth it to push forward still or give up.

2020’s almost over. This year has both been so long and too short. I was so enthusiastic at the beginning, looking out over a whole year of possibility. It’s hard to get up the energy to hope 2021 is going to be better. But we’re still a few weeks off on that, so we’ll have to see how everything goes.

How are you, squider? Plans for December? Looking forward to 2021?

2020 is Lasting Forever and Yet…

…and yet, nothing is getting done.

Well, not nothing. But I think it feels like nothing, for a lot of people, because of the distortion in how time is passing. Since it feels like a hugely long time period, it feels like we should have been able to do a bunch, but it’s all an illusion.

That being said, April went pretty well for me. I set a goal of 10,000 words on my changeling story for camp, which I managed (as well as my two prompt responses for the month, and several pages on my handwritten story).

Speaking on the handwritten story, I’m running into an issue I didn’t consider, which is that I’m having issues figuring out my pacing. As you know, pacing is not something that comes naturally to me, and I’ve started building my pacing into my outlining to help me not have to add it in during revision.

Now, I haven’t outlined the handwritten story that completely (I did major plot points and plot/character arcs), but even if I had, word count is hard to tell, so it’s a little hard to tell where I am in the great scheme of my story. That’s a little problematic, but it’s probably not the end of the world if I just let the story go and fix it later. I have experience with that, at least.

The changeling story is going pretty well, actually! This is my third start on the story (the previous two starts add up to about 6K total) and I’m about 12K right now out of what I think will be about 75K in the end. I haven’t actually re-outlined or changed anything (except character names keep changing between drafts–the MC’s name has changed each iteration, and the love interest and sister have both also gone through a name change) but I did add in another point of view. We’ll see how that goes in the long run–I’d originally planned on setting it up like a romance (so female main character and male main character points of view) but my inclination is that this will work better for the story overall.

Well, we’ll see.

It feels weird not to be working on the nonfiction books after working on them for so long, but also nice to be done with the project. And there’s the SkillShare classes too, so it’s not like I’m abandoning the idea completely.

My goals for May are to write 20K on the changeling story, another 5 pages on the handwritten story, and do my two monthly prompt responses. I’ve also picked another drawing class to take and will be doing a story arc class as part of my year of education.

May kind of feels like it’s going to go the way March did–taking a million years because everything changes from day to day–but I guess we’ll have to see.

How are you doing, squiders? Any major plans for the month?