The Home Stretch & #WriteMotivation

Every ball these days is a curve ball. You’d think I would learn to prepare for it, but somehow, it always takes me by surprise.

Because of a wonderful offer by an amazing agent intern, my goals almost struck out. But I will report what I have done and then you can all judge me accordingly.

 

MARCH GOALS:

1) Write 20,000 words on RFA

Wrote 5000+

2) Blog 4 times

This will be my third post, so not all-together bad.

3) Read 4 books, one on the writing craft

Still slogging through Book 1 of A Game of Thrones,  by George R. R. Martin and On Writing, by Stephen King.

4) Do not think negatively about the queries I sent in February

I haven’t had time to think about them at all.

5) Participate in Pitch Madness: Clue Edition (I’m scared to do this, but the agents are amazing!)

Yes. Rejected.

I also revised the first third of my TPR MS to improve my submission chances based on the amazing critique by Agent Intern Anon. of my first 5 chapters. I am working as hard and fast as I can to get it even more perfect.

Thanks so much for all of your #WriteMotivation support! Maybe someday we can have a conference and cater a bakery to make us cookies that look like books and words. And I want the waiters to dress up like dinosaurs.

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Endurance & #WriteMotivation

This has to be quick because I am so swamped getting things done!

MARCH GOALS:

1) Write 20,000 words on RFA

At 2,000 when an amazing thing happened with an agent intern. I am now doing a quick polish revision on TPR and all else is on hold.

2) Blog 4 times

This is #2

3) Read 4 books, one on the writing craft

Still reading The Game of Thrones and On Writing (details later)

4) Do not think negatively about the queries I sent in February

So far, so good.

5) Participate in Pitch Madness: Clue Edition (I’m scared to do this, but the agents are amazing!)

I submitted today! So excited to see what happens.

#WriteMotivation Check

I am posting this just to keep myself in check.

#WriteMotivation

1) Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.

Week 1: I am half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole.

Week 2: Still half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole. Read The Christmas Sweater, by Glenn Beck.

2) Post on every member’s blog once per week.

Week 1: DONE

Week 2: DONE

3) Send out 15 agent queries.

Week 1: Nothing yet.

Week 2: I have a list of agents and their requirements on a spreadsheet.

4) Do not get depressed when I am rejected.

Week 1: N/A

Week 2: N/A

5) Finish final edit of TPR.

Week 1: Chapter 18 of 32. I feel good about this.

Week 2: Chapter 26 of 32. Woot!

6) Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

Week 1: Have to finish 5 first.

Week 2: No change.

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Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass and #WM goals

I’ve been talking with a few people about books that help us all become better writers. My firm belief is that nothing helps us learn to write more than reading with an analytical eye. Quantity is as important as quality. The bad ones are as telling about how not to write as the good ones teach us correct principles. But there are some books that changed the way I looked at writing. This is one of them: Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass.

breakout novel donald maassThere is the book to read and the workbook that helps you put his ideas into action.

He gives practical advice on why your book might not be selling, and whether you’re going self-pub or traditional, most of us care about making money for our effort. Some ideas include taking things to the limit and having conflict on every page.

While I think that a lot of what Maass says about how to write is driven by his opinions, he is one of the leading agents in the industry and has a lot of experience with what gets published and what doesn’t. Listening to his advice is worth something. And writing exercises can be painful, but nothing comes free.

#WriteMotivation Goals for Week 1:

Here are my February goals:
1) Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.

Week 1: I am half-way through The Alchemyst, by Michael Scott and half-way through Writing Irresistable Kidlit, by Mary Kole.

2) Post on every member’s blog once per week.

Week 1: DONE

3) Send out 15 agent queries.

Week 1: Nothing yet.

4) Do not get depressed when I am rejected.

Week 1: N/A

5) Finish final edit of TPR.

Week 1: Chapter 18 of 32. I feel good about this.

6) Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

Week 1: Have to finish 5 first.

GOOD LUCK TO ALL MY #WRITEMOTIVATION FRIENDS! I will be seeing you again this week. And I bought Girl Scout Cookies.

Making Room for Improvement and #WriteMotivation

I have a quote on my blog somewhere by Ernest Hemingway:

Ernest Hemingway

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

Ernest Hemingway, The Wild Years

From someone I would consider a master of the craft of writing, we realize that if he never stopped learning how to improve his craft, neither should we. In that vein, I would like to add a stretch goal this month. To make at least one of the books I read to be about improving writing.
Here are my February goals:
  1. Read one book every week, one of which is about how to improve my writing.
  2. Post on every member’s blog once per week.
  3. Send out 15 agent queries.
  4. Do not get depressed when I am rejected.
  5. Finish final edit of TPR.
  6. Outline all of TGM. Decide on POV and tense for TGM.

To wrap up January, I completed all but my first goal, which feels pretty good.

Good luck to everyone in February. I look forward to visiting you all over the next few weeks!

Intrinsic Value

After discussing writing fears with my daughter and husband, they shared nearly the same idea with me. Their separate but exact alignment on the subject forced me to recognize that I might actually be wrong.

I might be wrong . . .

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What was I wrong about? Writing and being an author has to make me money.

While both of them think that if I keep practicing and working hard to become a better writer, that someday my talent will be acknowledged and possibly make me some $$ cold hard cash, there is an intrinsic value to my writing that can’t be measured by money, by critique partners, an agent, an editor, or the entire publishing industry.

There is value in my writing for myself and those who see how happy it makes me. I hope that if writing makes you as happy as it makes me, you won’t let anyone take that away from you. Not even yourself.

#WriteMotivation Goal Check:

1) Write fifteen pages per week of new material.

See below.

2) Edit five hours per week.

Week 1: Edited 6 hours.

Week 2: Edited 10 hours.

Week 3: Edited 16 hours.

I’ve learned that I prefer not to edit and write new material at the same time. I tried, but my brain can’t switch very well on the same day, and while I can switch every other day, I would rather not.

Week 4: Edited 5 hours (My husband and I went on a weekend away for our birthdays, so no regrets.)

3) Read one book per week.

Week 1: The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexander Dumas

Week 2: Stardust, by Neil Gaiman

Week 3: The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Week 4: Am reading The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner

4) Critique SS for my critique partner.

DONE!

5) Read/crit L for my other critique partner.

About 2/3 done.

Janus, God of Beginnings

A uniquely Roman god, Janus was the god of beginnings and passages.

janus gold statueWith two faces, he could always look to the future and to the past. The Romans named the month of January, the beginning of their year, after this god because it was not only a time for a new beginning, but also a time to reflect on the past year.

As I’ve looked on the past year, I feel good about what I accomplished. There is always that feeling of wishing I’d done more, but then I think of a phrase my husband often says:

“Everything has a cost.”janus coin

This coin of Janus illustrates my point. Like this coin can only be spent on one thing, you can spend time doing one thing at the expense of the thousands of other things you aren’t doing. And I had a great year! So I refuse to regret what I didn’t write. I refuse to regret what I didn’t clean or the nights we ate popcorn because I’d spent time with my kids instead of cooking. I don’t regret the time I spent with friends and family.

So here are my #WriteMotivation goals for January:

1) Write fifteen pages per week of new material.

2) Edit five hours per week.

3) Read one book per week.

4) Critique SS for my critique partner.

5) Read/crit L for my other critique partner.

Lastly, Janus held the key because he was the gateway to any passage: birth, death, travels, change, etc. This year, I hope his key unlocks some agent’s heart.janus picture