Writing Goals Meme {2018}

 

I do this meme at the top of the New Year {} you can find the 2017 post here because it helps me keep track of my annual writing goals, thoughts and aspirations, and to remind me what was accomplished in the previous calendar year.

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

This Writing Goals Meme was originally found on @patchworkpress

 


 

What is your favorite writing/publishing memory from 2017?

Two special things happened in 2017, though overall it wasn’t a marked year for writing. I even took a two-week writing sabbatical away with full intentions of getting caught up, and that didn’t pan out either. The few times I get something to paper, it was far more luck than science.

Still—a dear childhood friend came to visit, and she thus introduced me to all her lovely friends as “the best author ever” and talked me up so highly, I made a slew of spur of the moment book sales on her recommendation. That was marvelous, just in itself. Seeing her and bending her ear with stories was my heartfelt delight; book sales were only the icing on the cake from there. I’m SO GLAD that happened!

The second “writing thing” involved me spending some time immersed in strengthening my family relationships. This had an interesting impact on my psych, which also impacting my writing.

I ended up with a conundrum in which a co-author and I had penned some material for sequel to a novel before we finished the first novel. In short, we were “predicting events before they happened” . . .  and just like in real life, some of the conflicts we expected were resolved in the first book so they never came to pass. Others cropped up unexpectedly and we had no solutions worked out for them. I guess, even in books, you can’t predict future events before you get there.

The co-author stepped away from the project and I was left with some material unusable and some that didn’t follow the right threads and it was a lot to unravel. But, towards fall of 2017, the threads started falling into place for me and wove a beautiful sub-theme into the sequel with what we had created previously in our efforts to predict where the story went next.

It gives a depth and a resonance to the sequel I never could have done by myself– so I’m very glad for the material we did co-author even though we didn’t yet know the end of the story. There’s some lovely memories in that (for me) too.

 

That said, when I stated 2017 was a bad year I meant it. There were setbacks too.

One of my author references (“fic brains” aka/the notebooks where I store ideas for my books so I can transport them with me) was stolen out of my car. They broke in and stole a (random) notebook, as it has nothing of value to anyone except me. It has never been returned to me.

That set me back considerably. Even when I write early ideas on paper, I transcribe them into documents shortly afterward so I have backups of some work but there were sketches in that reference that were drawn on the spot & were originals. They are gone forever. They cannot be replaced.

I certainly never imagined anyone would break into my car to steal a notebook (of no value) I can only assume the person thought it contained information they could use for identity theft.  

Obviously, I’m beyond upset about this– it damaged my writing in many, many ways and caused me to lock up my references with my other valuables. It sickens and saddens me that someone would do that, because those were my ideas and hold great value to me, worthless to anyone else. Who could be such a monster???

Such was the legacy of 2017.

 

What story are you most looking forward to working on in 2018?

Goals and deadlines are the name of the game in 2018.

2017 and its many back-to-back disasters threw me completely off my writing curve. There was no time to write between cleaning up messes, be they mine or people around me. No peace or mental clarity to write with. No time.

I didn’t love it. But my books don’t pay the bills right now and I have to. That is the reality. Love to be in position where they did.

So writing took a backseat and I’m finally regrouping in a new year and burning 2017 to ash behind me, in hopes such a chaotic, vile year will never repeat in my lifespan. Getting back to where I left the writing when things went horrible, organizing my work until I get a flow going again and pacing new deadlines for myself. I’m mostly resetting to tackle the 2017 goals in 2018 because of the minimal progress. To my writing, its almost as if 2017 never happened at all!

A new year, a new plan and I’m ready to go, full speed ahead!

 

 

What area(s) of your writing/publishing process are you going to work on improving in 2018? (dialogue, marketing, output, pacing, formatting, etc.)

There might possibly be more work on my plate this year, given the setbacks created by last year.

It’s a comeback year, probably best summed up as: Everything Needs Work. Start with the basics; work up to the preliminaries; if you are really, really lucky– publish something by year’s end.

 

 

 

How would you describe a successful publishing year in 2018? What goals are you working toward?

It doesn’t take much to top last year, but that’s no excuse for lowering my goals and standards. I set my goals aggressively but I’d say my biggest concern is setting a disciplined schedule and finding the right flow for writing.

Once I have a good weekly flow going, usually my other goals and deadlines become apparent or fall into place after that. Until I’m steady, it’s not worth trying to set anything else in stone.

 

 

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

I can’t predict on this point. Publication entirely rests on what progress in made and in what timeframe, right now I can’t predict either with any certainty. If I revisited this question, say, mid-summer I could reasonably say but not now.

 

 

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

Ha? Didn’t I just cover this?

Actually, under normal circumstances, I do plan pretty well ahead but give myself flexibility (in deadlines)  to move between projects to avoid both writers block and creative burnout. I don’t force myself to move through a book in one straight line because I will burn out and not finish. I need to take breaks and come back with clean focus, and I know that.

But, as stated above, I’m not setting any plans ahead.

My first step (for Jan) is to review all my work and see what shape its in, because its been months so I opened a doc. Most I don’t even remember where I left off typing. If they were setting on my shelf instead of my cloud storage, they’d be coated in dust spores by now.

From there, I will pick a project and get back to work on it (after refreshing myself on “raw inspiration” as it were). If I don’t get far with it, I’ll try a different project. Quite a few need attention, and I’m looking for whatever comes naturally, whatever helps me get my flow back for now more than what it is.

Rebuilding the discipline and finding flow is this crucial step: once I’m writing with ease and consistency I can battle on what deserves priority. Like an athlete who used to jog, play football and swim before an injury– now he tries all 3 sports just to see which is the easiest to therapy the atrophied muscle before resuming his usual athletic pleasures. My writing “physical therapy” is whatever will stretch that atrophied muscle best for me.

 

 

Tell us about something non-book related that you’re currently looking forward to for 2018.

 

 

That is a tough call, because mostly I just feel frustrated about not being where I’d like with the writing and that makes it hard to look forward to other things.

Also, winter is not my season as foul weather dampens all my enthusiasm. One would think the nasty weather outdoors would prompt to stay in and write more but– no. Somehow it never works out that way. The sunshine/fresh air revitalizes and refreshes me and there’s precious little of that in December or January.

But– spring-warmth will come (I hope early!!) and with it, I’m planning a lovely family trip, which does excite me, and I vow to have a few chapters in hand for sharing.

Also my adorable little nieces and I have a magical dress-up occasion in the works. It will be here even before I know it. 🙂

 

 

If you could offer up one piece of advice to other authors and writers for 2018, what would it be?

Most of us are not J.K Rowling or Grissom or Stephen King. Heck, they weren’t even those people, ’til one lucky day they were! Most of us can’t afford to sip margaritas waiting around for the next royalty check (not that I’m suggesting they do. Don’t sue me, Mr. King.)

We have day jobs. We have families. We have Facebook feeds full of memes to admire and lolzcats photos to share. We have L.I.F.E. to deal with. That takes a lot of our time. Sometimes, real life is bullshit. Sorry. I said it, unvarnished, even on my kids blog.

It’s not your fault when you can’t write. When these other things take you away from your very favoritest thing in the whole world, the thing you think you will DIE if you don’t get to do! The thing that you know you have so many shining ideas in your head like a river of pure, flowing gold– but when you finally sit down to the page its blank white paper because the swirling, pitch black morass of reality has killed every last drop of inspiration in you today.

Don’t feel bad. Don’t blame yourself. Just get up tomorrow or, even next year. Yes really. It’s okay. Your books won’t go anywhere, they won’t go away. They will wait for you, that shining river of gold is just waiting for you. Until you are ready.

So get up next year and do it all again. The golden river never dries up, never runs out, never ends. Just sometimes, its kind of a draught year.

But, all things in universal balance, it just means a writing monsoon lies around the corner! 😉

♥ – C.J.

 

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