This Writing Goals Meme was swiped from @patchworkpress
What is your favorite writing/publishing memory from 2015?
The question is simple but my answer is complicated.
Between 2013-2015, I haven’t written. All my writing either never got off the ground or fell to pieces in my hands. This wasn’t by choice; it had everything to do with my emotional state. Luckily, I didn’t have a charted author-career path yet or I’d been left in a difficult situation. Mixed blessing there—but to be a writer (trapped in her own head, engulfed by her emotions) who cannot write is utter misery.
I’m an emotional person (you may have heard) and so, my artistry and creativity stems from my emotions. Those years were the darkest and while my heart was damaged during all that time, I couldn’t create—and it’s just as simple as that. Although that was unfair fallout of circumstances I couldn’t control; the poisoned icing topping the cake of all that visceral pain.
Honestly I couldn’t help that, not any of it. The years 2013-2014 were lived one day to the next, and I survived them—put simply. Not especially well—they left their scars and residue but I’m doing better now. Communication shut down because escapism didn’t exist and I couldn’t talk about or make sense of all the bad, dark life stuff. I grew really sick in 2014 (an infection took me down hard) and brushed death by a hairsbreadth—then changed jobs, moved—lots of personal upheaval left no time to write even should I attempt such. I also didn’t have good news or personal accomplishments to share . . . so what did that leave to talk about? Didn’t write; didn’t blog. It wasn’t in me to write beauty, joy and light amidst so much darkness (frankly, it wasn’t in me to write anything). Touching my emotions brought pain, pure and simple.
Coming back to my true self has taken time (years) and healing. True healing takes time and you have to work through it. There’s no helping that. There’s no rushing it or shortcuts either.
So . . . in 2015, I attempted a comeback (with publication) wanting to move forward with my author goals and ambitions. I had manuscript in hand from my 2012 writing, and I tried to publish my first book (which I had written but not completed before the trauma). It didn’t fail because lack of effort—but I was learning as I go (for one) and trying to do creative things as easily as I used to and it didn’t work like that. I had to rediscover and rebuild my talents and skills after being lost and dormant for years, and that too needed more time than I accounted for. I’m not the most patient person—especially with talent that always came easily to me. To have to work at a natural skill is . . . well, WORK! *lol* And somewhat frustrating.
All that explained, my time and hard work invested last year . . . was hardly in vain.
True, I didn’t publish in the timeframe I hoped—but I learned educational publishing experience which is already paying off this year. I haven’t abandoned the book—it too will pay off when I’m ready to come back to it, and work it fresh. So I’m grateful for the progress made in 2015, if not complete success.
What story are you most looking forward to working on in 2016?
This is another complicated answer but I’ll try to keep it brief.
After confessing the hardship of the past few years, making a comeback requires a double-success almost. Not only do I have to relearn the discipline of writing, I have to build an author business in the backdrop and that’s hard work too. Pursuing authorship as a career path is no ambition for the faint of heart, but it is my dream. If you forsake your dreams, what does it leave you to work toward?
I’m starting the year tackling a private project which I was first moved to self-publish in 2013. That’s a healthy starting point for me, I believe. I can set goals that don’t cross or interfere with my author career goals and use it to rebuild my discipline and strength without outside pressure. Assuming I can achieve success in 2016 with that, I think I will be ready to pick up where I left off in 2015 towards my first book publication.
Are you the type of person who makes New Year’s resolutions? Why or why not?
I do make resolutions but not on someone’s else timetable. More an “as needed” basis.
However I find if I want them to stick I have to work them into my established routines. After awhile I forget they aren’t a normal part of my habits.
What area(s) of your writing/publishing process are you going to work on improving in 2016? (dialogue, marketing, output, pacing, formatting, etc.)
Before these past few years my answer would be different.
Now, I’m having to build the discipline from scratch and that means everything needs work. Like an athlete who had a bad injury that put him down for years—it’s not that he forgot how to train, or that the natural gift isn’t still inside him somewhere. But the strength and resistance and discipline of the sport . . . it all has to relearned. He also needs to take extra care this time cause he isn’t as strong as he used to be. It’ll take both time and patience.
Well, that’s where I am. The organic ability is still there (albeit buried from disuse) but the discipline itself (how to craft a narrative) and consistency must all be relearned, like an atrophied muscle. I need time—I’m not the same writer I was in 2012.
Small successes, like writing a short blog post or “ficlet” and finishing it same day, will help. 2016 and 2017 will be a time of intense (mental) therapy for me. Slowly but surely, I’ll work my way back into shape and the writer I once was.
How would you describe a successful publishing year in 2016? What goals are you working toward?
Well, that’s hard to quantify with as much rebuilding and backtracking that lies in store for the year. I’d said publishing my private project was a good starting point so I expect and hope to do that.
I intend to get back to my Crackle series, and I’m also in the conceptional stage of a children’s series, inspired by my intelligent and adorable niece (who rules the entire world at 3 years old). She told me exactly what sort of book I was to write for her (LOL!) and who am I to disagree? Auntie C knows her place in the hierarchy, I’m sure. 😉
If you had to guess, what do you think your biggest challenge will be when it comes to publishing and writing next year? Time and other workload is always a factor. So is energy level.
If my week is crazy-hectic, or I’m utterly preoccupied with too much elsewhere, I’ve been known to drop down and out some weekends. Writing is a discipline true, but it’s also organic and if my brain is too tired or overloaded, I can’t make creativity flow for simply willing it. My dream is dropping the day job and writing full-time—‘til it happens, making time to write is the norm.
Making room for creativity is important too. Shutting off the tv or other distractions and getting away to where it’s just me and my private thoughts—usually, that’s where the best writing begins.
How far ahead do you plan your writing schedule? Do you prefer to prepare or to see where your muses take you?
Writing is so organic with me that it’s very hard to predict which projects I’ll focus on. I set ambitious goals and typically I move forward quickly, but never in a straight line.
I don’t even write in a straight line, per se—often, I get full sequences visualized well before they tied into the final narrative and wrote ahead. Once I have an outline of chapters to go by, I can move scenes around and piece the out-of-sequence bits without losing story flow.
I can also juggle multiple narratives and storylines. In the same week, I can spend a night plotting a colorful children’s series, I can also switch just as fast to working on a “psycho villain” and moving seamlessly to painting a craft on the weekend, AND this is the key: without losing the train of any of these particular plots or projects.
Art connects . . . it’s just the way my gift works. It’s up to me to decide where I want to focus it, but hand-dyeing a sweater to me is exercising the “creative muscle” just as much as writing out a fic scene. That’s why I can balance multiple plotlines at once, and DO because I can go to the “creativity well” in my mind for something else when inspiration on one story flames out and I get “writers blocked”.
That’s also where notes and “my fic” brains come in (even if I step away from a narrative for years at a time) my notes and outlines allow me to come right back to the point I left off and pick it up again fresh. So if I suddenly burnout/run dry, I can tackle the same problem a week later without losing a single step, as if there were no time gap involved.
The worst is letting my creativity atrophy altogether. It’s unhealthy for me in general because I need the outlet for my emotions. Like any other muscle in the body, it needs to be worked or it slows down and its all the harder to get back in shape.
It’s good for me to step away if I’m dry and work a different problem because my mind will come back to that problem later (fresh) and with a new perspective. Sometimes it takes longer than I like for a full breakthrough (it can throw me off deadlines and goals some) but they are worth it when they do come. Allowing my mind to switch topics is better than trying to force inspiration.
Tell us about something non-book related that you’re currently looking forward to for 2016.
I can’t see that far ahead and I’m hesitant to speculate (bad years taken under account) but I remain optimistic.
I’ve always believed in universal balance in life, the good and the bad. These past five years have surpassed hell to me, and I can only assume heaven is now in the works. Another reason I blogged little about them (or communicated infrequently) was so I could forget them quickly once passed, save to learn from their lessons taught under duress. Logan and my Family/Friends (inner circle) perpetually remains the best part of my life & I’ve fought to strengthen those relationships above all else!!
Plus, I look forward to 2016 if only to burn these hellish past years to the ground and leave their ashes in my wake.
If you could offer up one piece of advice to other authors and writers for 2016, what would it be?
It’s okay to fail. Truth. It’s even okay to stop writing for awhile—years even. If you can’t—you can’t.
Life will throw you curveballs you can’t anticipate—honey, it’s no “book” and you can’t predict the ending like that, or outline each step of it to your pleasure. You may not accomplish everything you want when you want it but allow life to surprise you and just pick yourself back up when you can, and try, try again.
But remember this: no one else can tell the stories in your heart, but you!
They are yours alone, to treasure, to pleasure and thrill, to keep and to share.
Value that gift and nurture it . . . and it will become the very best part of you!
more to look back on where I’ve been this year, and to remind myself what I’m moving towards.