12 for 2012: A Year of Writing

First, my apologies for the unexpected delay.  I rang in the New Year with a pulled muscle and a stomach bug, but I’m back and ready to hit the ground running!

My last post was about making your New Year’s resolutions.  I agreed to make 12 Writing Goals for 2012, and to share them on here.  Well, here are my 12 for 2012:

1.  Get my novel Someone’s Watching on the market one of two ways:

a.  submit to Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Contest, and if nothing comes of that

b.  send queries/samples to at least six agents.

2.  Get up at a decent hour and write every weekday for Textbroker.  It’s my main source of income and I need to be more consistent with it.

3.  Finish writing that business plan by the end of February.  Market statistics, prepare to be discovered and conquered!

4.  Be more consistent updating my blog.  Aiming for at least one post per week!

5.  Scrap the original draft of SW’s sequel and begin a new one while waiting on contest results/agent responses.

6.  Read at least two completely new books each month.

7.  Finally start that cooking blog I’ve been dreaming about for weeks.  Keep a lookout for the link!

8.  Write reviews of each of the 24 books I read.

9.  Try writing something besides novel-length fiction.  I’ve done short stories, poetry, and CNF many times but only under the eyes of a professor.  It’s time to break out on my own with a different genre I enjoy.

10. Pitch a few articles to a print publication.  I love the freedom and simplicity of ghostwriting, but I do miss seeing my own byline 😀

11. Participate in NaNoWriMo again.  I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment!

12. Keep a writer’s notebook.  I had one in high school, jotting down any random idea, phrase, or image that popped into my head.  The last few years, I’ve slacked and probably lost a lot of good ideas.

It’s a lot of writing and will take a lot of dedication.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, the only way to move forward in life is to set your eyes on a target and push towards it as hard as you can.  The act of writing itself is heading towards a goal.  As we finish each sentence, we’re one step closer to the resolution of the story.  So, I raise my metaphorical glass to you and welcome the New Year!

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NaNoWriMo: Day 1

So far, so good.

I’ve leapt head-first into NaNoWriMo 2011 and at the moment, I’m back-stroking along.  After about an hour and half of writing, I’ve got just over 500 words.  Not too shabby.  1,100 more and I’ll have met the daily goal, something I haven’t done in a long time.

Granted, I’ve had that first 500 words or so in my head for weeks now, but I choose to keep looking on the bright side and reward myself with some Halloween candy and another hazelnut latte.  The only thing I’m not looking forward at the moment is the inevitable fact that I will most likely become one with my laptop this month.  Between overtime ghostwriting for bills and holiday cash, keeping in touch with out-of-state friends, and Nano, I won’t be surprised if my heartbeat becomes synced with the tapping of my fingers on the keyboard.

It was bound to happen eventually, I guess.

To all my fellow NaNo-ers out there, may your Muse be talkative, the caffeine unending, and the distractions minimal.  Happy NaNoWriMo!

 

4 Things Every Writer Needs

The beautiful thing about writing is that it’s not like other hobbies or professions, requiring money investments or clothing that isn’t your pajamas.  You can write anywhere, any time, and you don’t have to buy materials or work clothes.

There are, however, some things writers do need:

1.  Writer’s Journal

A writer’s journal is a place to record ideas, snippets of information, character descriptions, plot twists, title ideas, or whatever relates to your writing.  If you write fiction and nonfiction, you may want to have separate notebooks for each one, if that works for you.  Either way, carry your writer’s journal with you — stash it in a purse/backpack/laptop carrier when you’re on the go.  Don’t use your writer’s journal for anything but writing-related notes.

2.  A Sacred Space

Virginia Woolf wasn’t the first writer to dream of “A Room of One’s Own” and she certainly wasn’t the last.  For most writers, having an office would be a dream.  Some of us are lucky enough to have a room to ourselves, while some are lucky to have space on the kitchen table to write.  Whatever your individual circumstances may be, make some space sacred for your writing.  This can be a room, a corner, or even just a drawer or a file on a shared computer.  This sacred space is for your writing and your writing only.  This has two benefits: first, it helps keep you organized, and second, it shows you take your writing seriously, to yourself and to others.

3.  A Reading List

Writers write, but they also read.  Read avidly, in the areas you like to write as well as others.  Reading helps make you a better writer and keeps your imagination limber.  All writers should have a running list of “to read” titles, in their heads or on paper.  I tend to add titles to my Amazon Wishlist as I hear about them, and just pick and choose from that coming shopping time 🙂

4.  Other Writers

There is no substitute for a good writing friend, even if you only know him/her as a screen name.  Writers need other writers for support, motivation, critiques, and for the simple fact that we can be a weird, under-appreciated breed.  We need solidarity, we need a support system, and we need someone to tell us when to get our heads out of our butts just do the revision already.  A writer without a few other writers to hang out with, even casually, is a pod with only one pea.

In that vein, here are my recommendations for the best writing communities online:

National Novel Writing Month

Writing.com

The Scriptorium Webzine

Writer’s Cafe: The Online Writing Community