As the New Year dawns I begin to think about my writing goals and what I would like to achieve. It’s always a good time, an opportune time, to reflect on the year past and look forward to the New Year, a clean slate so to speak. I think back on my writing accomplishments, how small they may be, and hope to do better. I remember my frustrations and what I wished for, what new stories I wrote and the old stories that still need finishing or that need many more rewrites. All I can do now is to start fresh and see what this New Year brings. Many of you may feel frustrations. Maybe you are still working on unfinished works that you had promised yourself they would be complete by now.
I want to start this New Year off with the following goals and stay focused in trying to attain them. Here is what I will strive towards:
1) Completing unfinished stories. I have a request from an agent to see one of my middle grade manuscripts when it’s complete so my goal is to finish it. This in itself should be enough to spur me on but I haven’t completed it because I have a writer’s block with the middle of the story. How have I tried to get past this? I have written out the general plot, but there are a few areas I haven’t tied up yet. I am reading articles in books and magazines about world building, as my story is a fantasy. On the negative side I spend a lot of time worrying about making my world different enough from what’s already out there that I freeze up trying to write it.
So this year I will attempt to quiet my mind and just write it and see what comes out of that. I will remind myself that I can always change it, always rewrite parts that may seem too common. I will write out a timeline for the plot. I will not write in chapter sequence if a certain chapter stumps me. I will create a map of my fantasy world. I will continue to read articles about world building and try the suggestions noted. I will just write.
2) I will persist. I will allow my doubts to surface and talk to me but then I will send them away. I will listen to encouraging songs such as “Unwritten’ or ‘The Climb”. I will reread my finished stories and be proud of those and know that I have it in me to write good stories. I will not let frustration stop me in my tracks.
3) I must be patient. This business of writing takes patience. Patience in writing a story, patience with the many rewrites it takes to make the story as good as it can be before submitting, and patience in waiting for an agent or editor to get back to you once you
have submitted to them. To be patient with writing and rewriting a story, I must know and acknowledge that it takes time to create something good. Ideas are out there to be tapped into. I think the best way for me to have patience while waiting to hear back after a submission is to be busy doing something else. Write a new story or finish an old one. Prepare for other submissions. Research. Read. Clean my house. Whatever will distract me from waiting for that email or phone call.
4) Continue to learn the craft and further develop my writing skills. I have attended many conferences and listened to a few webinars so far. But I would like to increase my participation in both of these, including attending workshops. I know I still have much to learn and each event I participate in teaches me and assists me in growing the writer within me.
This also includes reading magazine articles, website articles and blogs. The problem I have is that there is so much out there to read online that it would take hours each day to read everything. I need to pick specific websites to concentrate my time on, maybe choose three or four different sites each week to stay updated on so that in a month I can cover about twelve. That way I won’t become overwhelmed.
5) To become more active in social media. This is an area I really fall short on. One reason being I’m not tech savvy. This appears to be an important element as you become published and so I realize that I must spend time learning and participating in this. Since I am not yet published I do have the time to put forth an effort in creating a website, learning Twitter, and being more active on Facebook. I’ll start with this.
6) And for my last goal for the New Year (although I may add more during the year) is to have faith. Faith in my abilities, faith in my passion for writing, faith in the process, faith in the critiques I receive, and faith in the dream. This dream of writing children’s books was put in me for a reason. And I must believe in it, even when discouragement hits and tells me to stop and try another career because nothing is happening here. I must resurrect the dream and build it back up. I must continue to work hard, rewrite gobs of times, submit more and hope always. I must chase this dream and not let up.