Writing Goals Meme {2017}

 

I did this meme last year as well, at the top of 2016 {you can find the post here} but I like the idea of doing it again towards the beginning of the New Year to help me keep track of my goals and aspirations, and to see what was accomplished in the past year.

I also keep an overview of yearly accomplishments under my Goals & Outlook, {found here}.

This Writing Goals Meme was originally swiped from @patchworkpress

 


 

What is your favorite writing/publishing memory from 2016?

2016 was a big year for me— the start of many firsts!

Besides the completion of a long overdue personal project and the accumulation of healing years and a creative writing comeback, I feel like the road to publication in 2016 (which really began in 2013 but life/grief detailed it) passed as something of a blur and I didn’t talk it up as much as I probably should have. I made dramatic forward strides in a relatively short period of time, but honestly that was due to the groundwork laid in both 2013 & 2015 so I can’t expect to do that with every book.

Still—FIRST BOOK, first official author site, first signings, first marketing blitzs and contests and celebrations!! All awesome, and kind of a blur, as I said, cuz the beginning of the year was burned into prep and business establishment, and the year’s end was all marketing and promotion so I don’t think I got much of a breather inbetween. (I may need to try to focus on blogging some of those steps in greater detail this year—too wrapped up in all the “firsts” of last year to focus much on the process).

{For more of a breakdown, follow my #ShareTheMajick tag for my posts on putting Majickal together. To follow the journey of the sequel Ice-Ice Age, I began a new tag #AlwaysIceAge}

 

 

What story are you most looking forward to working on in 2017?

SO—right now, I’m enraptured and in love with my children’s series –its all passion and ideas and how will I ever fit all this awesome in just ONE book??—  though, given the rough conceptional stage it’s in, I can’t say all too much about it. I’ve discussed a few aspects in my Topical Tuesdays as I design my backdrop.

(I hope to do a few Sneak Peeks Saturdays on it once we get further along).

I do have a young “focus group” behind the scenes so I’m taking their revisionist commentary and working from there. It’s a fairly new genre and there’s a lot of focus on—both learning and strengthening the story I’m weaving but I’m just so overjoyed to invest the work because I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

As to Ice, Ice Age—I have looser deadlines for that but mainly it has to live up to the tongue-in-cheek humor and (forgive me but) UTTER ADORABILITY of its hilarious predecessor! Ice, Ice Age was terribly fun to write and I’m in the revisionist stage with that so I look forward to a launch date somewhere around Christmas. {follow the updates at #HumanPopsicleLife}.

 

 

What area(s) of your writing/publishing process are you going to work on improving in 2017? (dialogue, marketing, output, pacing, formatting, etc.)

Between drafting, journaling and even (my eclectic) topical writing on the blog, I feel like my overall strength has come back and a bonus versatility, thanks to this consistency and variety of writing types.

But, I’m challenged by changing up my method and style (of sorts). My writing is characteristic of me, true (and it keeps my tone regardless of what or how I’m writing) but the simple fact is you cannot approach writing a children’s book and an adult book the same way.

 

Despite my versatility, I think I get now why typically authors don’t jump genre types. It’s not that they can’t write different types of stories (and books), its more that its easier to play to your strengths and write what you are already known for. Changing genres is definitely a challenge—you have to rethink your entire approach to how you craft your narrative.

I’m not sorry—children’s literature is definitely the direction I want to go! But it is taking more time and care to work out my story because I’m not accustomed to the *new method*.

Two hurdles I’ve immediately identified between the children’s book and the adult books I typically write, are that I’m quite fond of complicated subplots—and have anywhere from 4 to 6 spinning in my usual books. Well, that works fine in a layered adult novel.

Can’t do that in a children’s series. Have to stick to the main plot and maybe a subplot or two (if they are kept simple enough to follow, and resolved by book’s end). Several subplots muddy the story and prove too confusing to follow.

I’m also fond of—well, lets call them “Sitcom-Style Coffee-Shop Discussion Scenes” where we adult stars of the novel have much chitchat about our feelings and whose-doing-who-or-other-ploty-plot-points. Another thing children don’t engage in is sitting around coffee shops discussing their feelings.

Lots of changes means lots of challenges too! {I’m slightly mollified by the fact that your first book in any series is never your best work and especially if it’s a new genre you’re tackling. It’s okay for me to not feel “in the groove” with this as I will a few books in!)

But it’s an INTRODUCTION to a whole new world and a whole new style and THAT! IS! AWESOME!!!

 

 

How would you describe a successful publishing year in 2017? What goals are you working toward?

My goals include a full first draft of the children’s project—enough to start pitching with, and having Ice-Ice Age released in time for Christmas promotion. That’s two projects for the calendar year and more than enough to keep me busy with blogging on the discipline end.

Any other headway I could make would just be gratis.

 

 

If you had to guess, what do you think your biggest challenge will be when it comes to publishing and writing next year?

Actually, the year to date has been crash ‘n’ burn and I’m not real happy about it. Pulled in too many directions and for a year I’m hoping to work a brand-new book business, Reality ain’t leaving me much time for it. Unfortunately, it’s not leaving much choice.

So time and workload has been my greatest challenge, but that’s nothing new. Splitting responsibilities with family has helped some. But how the year works out against my ambitious goals remains to be seen.

 

 

How far ahead do you plan your writing schedule? Do you prefer to prepare or to see where your muses take you?

Usually, I do have a specific game plan and accomplishment goals in place. I keep my deadlines loose because I like having the flexibility to switch projects as needs-must. Working one project generally leads to working the next one in sequence, with me.

My “Fic Brains” {see the blog post explaining those here} allow me to move back and forth seamlessly between book projects (even jumping years of time gap like it’s nothing) but for me, writing is artistry-in-action too, and art is organic and difficult to predict. My inner artist (or muse) gets inspired at random sometimes—so I switch projects at random too. Ignore fresh inspiration at your own risk, I’ve learned.

But I’ve come to see those breaks for their mental benefits too. Often the timing works that, as I’m burnt-out on a project from working it hardcore for weeks straight, my muse will be inspired with something else (fresh and different) and I can follow that until I’m ready to come back to the prioritized project. It gives me that handy excuse to stop before I break down and take a break without losing the overall creative flow.

By the time I come back to the original project, I feel fresh with it again and can move forward smoothly. Luckily art and writing (a few other things) come from the same creative wellsprings with me, so I can move pretty seamlessly between outlets/mediums too (say if I need a break from “writing” by “tactile crafting”, etc).

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 2017.

My plan for the year includes launching a writers-socialization/&/community-oriented group when I get to the time-leniency of summer.

Actually, I am super-excited about that!! And it will happen—but, if 2017 doesn’t slow its breakneck pace, maybe not this summer. Writing deadlines must take precedence, even though I love the group inspiration I had!!!

Interestingly, I noticed (only weeks ago and journaled it) that I have something of a trend when it comes to years that end in ‘7’s. Dunno why.

But, 1997 was the year I joined my very first online forum/writing group. 2007 was the year I clicked with the biggest educational step in my whole author/writing journey. And in 2017, I seem to be recreating myself as a children’s author and have a fixed goal and destination in mind.

Seven years spark “new beginnings” with me, it would seem. And I am in the market for a new writers group too, sooooo—here’s hoping then!! 😊 Seems “its my year” for it.

 

 

If you could offer up one piece of advice to other authors and writers for 2017, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to reach outside your comfortable zone and try something new!

Obviously, this is my piece of writing advice to myself this year *LOL!*—but we’re learning and growing in this business together! Sometimes it’s tough: hard-HARD-brutal-hours-of-work; only to face years of rejection and everybody on a street corner talking-up how “they could totally write a book themselves” and the fight just to be seen in the flood of junk out there, all for a few measly bucks in a book sales—and Heaven knows, taking on NEW writing challenges doesn’t make it any easier!

{And this raises a deeper question about who you’re writing for: is it for you or for your readers, but that’s a different blog post!}

But, I think sometimes it’s necessary to challenge ourselves as writers—to say, “no that’s not easy but if I wanted easy, I’d not be in this business to begin with!” It’s those challenges that engage us, question us, help us discover the kinds of stories we want to tell and make us much stronger, better, beautifully-expressive writers!!

 

And don’t we all want to share our most awesome stories with the world??

♥ – C.J.

 

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