Front Page, Musings

Weekly Musing: 2018 Goals

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Happy New Year, everyone! We’ve entered the time of year when everyone sits down to write out resolutions. While I dislike the term resolution, I prefer goal, I am not immune to the desire to reflect upon who I am currently and who I want to be as I go forward. As I ponder what kind of person I’d like to be, I have also been reflecting upon what kind of writer I’d like to be. A theme which emerged both in my personal and professional goals is a desire to heal myself and be kinder to myself. It is my hope that as I become more comfortable with myself I will become more comfortable as a writer.

Once again, I feel my goals are rather modest and achievable. I’m sure like last year’s goals priorities could change.

Finish rough draft of current manuscript and do at least one rewrite: I am hopeful I can finish a rough draft of my WIP either by the end of this month or early February. It’s been a struggle to get the words down. It always is and more so when my research wasn’t complete before I started the rough draft. But, that was a conscious decision because I wanted to focus more on the story rather than the historical background. Before I can tackle a rewrite, though, I will need to do more research. I’ve been writing notes to myself about specific things I’ll need to look up. Again, this is all in an effort to not overdo the research and torpedo myself in irrelevant details.

Rethinking my blog: In addition to changing the visual look of my blog, which I hope you are enjoying, I am looking to cut back on the number of blog posts. I started doing this about midway through last year and found it was something which freed up my time to concentrate more on novel writing. It can be taxing to come up with an idea for each week and while I do have a list of possible blog topics, some topics require research. I also want the flexibility to post when I have the time and inclination. At a minimum I think I’ll have at least 2 posts each month and they’ll still come out on Saturdays.

I am also officially eliminating my monthly book review. I don’t know how value added it was.

Another thing I’m hoping to do is experiment more with adding in pictures, probably a combination of stock photos and my own, that have some kind of connection with content.

New writers group: Very recently I discovered there is finally a writers group which meets at my local library. Before I used to attend a group located in the city I live next to which at times was a bit of a drive.

I haven’t attended any meetings yet as all December meetings were cancelled due to the holiday. I am interested to see how it goes. The biggest factor to me for how comfortable I am in a group is the combination of people. Is there a variety of skill level or is everyone about equal? What are the personality types? Do people give constructive feedback? Will the group prove to be useful for my development?

Letting myself go on the page: This goes back to my overall desire to be more comfortable with myself. I don’t want to be afraid anymore of having characters go to dark places or light places. I don’t want to worry about if what I’m writing fits a trend or will make people 100% comfortable and unoffended. Writing is an expression of thoughts and feelings. Honestly, I feel like when I was writing more for myself and writing something I wanted to personally read, the muse was present, and the writing was more relaxed. I’d like to get back to that.

Having an organized book reading list: This one is also a personal goal. In addition to having a target number of books I’d like to read, I decided to look at my bookshelves and pick out books I’ve had for years, but have never read. I also wrote down a few books I’ve being wanting to read, but keep forgetting to pick up.

Below is the list of books I absolutely want to read in 2018. I tried to give myself a mixture of classics in addition to genre books.

The Works of Oscar Wilde

1984 by George Orwell (this is a re-read)

The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (this is a re-read)

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dicks

House of Cards by Michael Dobson

City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

The Tchaikovsky Finale by Darin Kennedy

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Winter World by Ken Follett

Column of Fire by Ken Follett

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

Artemis by Andy Weir

The Iron King by Maurice Druon

The Works of H.P. Lovecraft

 

It’ll be interesting to see how many of these goals I’ll accomplish. Like everyone else who makes a list, I’m hopeful I can meet them. Good luck to every writer out there in achieving your goals this year!

 

 

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Front Page, Musings

Weekly Musing: 2017 Goals

Happy New Year one and all! I hope for everyone’s sanity 2017 is a much kinder year to us all. And since we are now in a new year, it’s resolutions time. I’ve always disliked the word resolution because I associate it with everyone getting super excited believing they will achieve their goals only to pretty much give up by the end of January. Instead, I like to use the word goal as I think it lends itself to being more obtainable.

Because I view this time of year as a chance to set goals, I’ve been thinking of what would be most achievable for me.

As always, I have the continuing goal of working to improve my writing. But one thing I want to stay away from is getting caught up in all the posts and articles of writing advice. Knowledge is power and while I enjoy learning, too much information for me has negative side effects. I noticed I was getting to the point where a voice in my mind developed overanalyzing if what I was working on was worth it. In order to save what little sanity I actually have, I’m going to reduce the amount of time I spend reading about the writing craft. After all, shouldn’t my time be used to actually write, which is the best way to get better.

Another goal is when I get to the next stage in my career, that’s when I will start looking for information. To read and try to absorb information about things I’m not ready for just feeds into my natural ability to overthink.

One of the big things I want to accomplish this year is to have a “finished enough” draft of the historical fiction novel I’ve been working on for years. To me this means finally get the plot the way I envision it, to do justice to the main character the way he sounds in my mind, and to be polished enough to reveal it to the world for feedback.

Because I took the last few months of 2016 off from submitting short stories for publication, I will start submitting again. In conjunction with this, I’m going to work on composing new stories. A wrinkle I’ve added is organizing markets into ones which offer a flat fee vs. those who pay by the word. I want to go after the higher paying markets first and work my way down. I figure this strategy is a way to recognize my work has more value than I give it credit for.

In 2016 I was unable to attend any writer conferences or workshops due to timing and funding concerns. This year I would like to attend at least one, hopefully two. Unfortunately, one which had been taking place where I live decided last year to suspend operation indefinitely. On the other hand, I’m fortunate to live in an area which has lots of opportunities.

I’d also like to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Hopefully I’ll get that historical fiction novel finished enough by then to take a chance on drafting a new piece. My brain is teeming with ideas and characters that are dying to be let out of their cage.

Finally, I hope in 2017 I will finally be able to truly let myself go on the page. To be comfortable allowing the characters be who they are no matter how unlikable they may be at times. To be dark, sad, and angry. To be light, fluffy, and in love. I know I hold back on the page because I allow myself to absorb others’ criticisms of when authors go to uncomfortable places or make a character unlikable even when it is justified and well done. I struggle with not wanting to be conventional, yet desiring to be published and seeing conventional is what seems to sell and is embraced by the general reading public. I guess what I’m trying to say is I want to find my voice and style.

That’s it for my 2017 goals. I hope whatever your goals or resolutions are, you find the energy to keep going. Realize too that it’s okay if you stumble and take a break. So good luck to everyone out there and Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year!

So it’s January 3rd. Whatever. Happy New Year to one and all! No Weekly Musing this week as I’m going to focus on freshening up the site with more links to works by fellow writers as well as adding some new content. Each year I like to examine what I think is working or not working on my blog.

Enjoy the new theme and hope you all look forward to the new content.