Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 Goals

I've been trying to plan out my goals for this coming year. It's been interesting to say the least. I start out thinking "I need to do this," and end up going off on tangents of thoughts of the number of other things I have signed up for, want to sign up for, or just plain need to do. Then I can't remember what I started off wanting to do. So, I decided to do a blog about my plans for the coming year. This post is more of a way to hold myself accountable for my writing this coming year.

If you read my last post about my domino effect year-in-review then you are aware that I am new to this blog thing. I wonder if I had a blog at this time last year what I might have been able to complete. We'll see this coming year. I plan to look back on this blog in a year and see what I managed to accomplish.

Here are my writing goals for 2011:

WIP #1 - "Stone Magic"
In 2010 I not only wrote this first YA novel, but I also managed to get the 2nd draft (1st edit) complete.
In 2011 I hope to do more editing & begin the query process for this novel. (Fingers crossed)

WIP #2 - "Barely There"
In 2010 I began work on this. I only got about 10,000 words deep by the end of the year.
In 2011 I hope to (a) finish this novel, (b) edit the heck out of it, and (c) query it.

WIP #3 - "Outcast of Maine"
In 2010 I started formulating this novel in my head. In recent days it's been driving me crazy. I have to get working on this one. I hope to have more details smoothed out by May, so I can begin writing this one. Seriously bugging me to get writing about Augusta!
In 2011 I hope to (a) write this novel and (b) possibly edit the heck out of it. I highly doubt I will be ready to query this one by December 2011, but we'll see.

NaNoWriMo 2011 - "Earth 2.0" (seriously bad working title)
In 2010 I got the idea for this one during the NaNoWriMo 2010 process. It was actually my husband who gave me the idea. He found a series on our Netflix streaming. After watching one episode the idea was already there. Since then I have been working it out in my head.
In 2011 I hope to (a) research the heck out of the topic (serious research needs to be done 1st) and (b) write the thing during NaNoWriMo 2011. As long as I get the work done during November I'll be thrilled.

2011 Debut Author Challenge
In 2010 I heard about this challenge and decided on a whim (as usually happens with me) to participate.
In 2011 I hope to read all of the books on my list. Click the link at the top of the page to see the titles and authors. I've linked to their websites, if available.

So, that about covers my writing aspirations for the year. Hopefully by December I will be querying 2 novels, editing 2 more, and almost done with the 2011 DAC.

What are your writing goals for 2011?

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Writer's Tool Kit

This post came to mind after seeing a Tweet from @MyraMcEntire. She tweeted: "Pooh has a Thinking Spot. I have a Thinking Shower. Every writer needs these:" She attached a photo of bathtub crayons. I loved it and agreed. I find that I tend to think about things to write or fix in my writing at the most inopportune moments. Like the shower or when I drive. I started thinking of other things writers need and came up with this:

Eight Tools Every Writer Needs

1) Computer - Without one the job is extremely daunting. How on Earth did writers write entire novels before computers? I'd be lost without mine!

2) Coffee, coffee, coffee!!!! Let's face it most of us can't write a word until we've had our first sip of coffee in the morning. And some of us hang out in coffee shops drinking and writing. You know who you are.

3) Twitter - We need something to distract us from writing. Oh and think of all the writer friends you've made through Twitter. Let's face it, we understand each other.

4) Time - Yes, that's right time. We all need time to schedule our writing in. Now if only we could find that time.

5) Books!!!!! We need to keep up with the market and our friends. As much fun as they are to read I hate to break it to you, we're actually studying when we read.

6) Music - I'm sure most of us listen to music when we write. It sets the mood. Pumps us up or soothes us. We all need it. I prefer to listen to my iPod when I write. I have a playlist specially created for my writing. I know others listen to Pandora. I might just have to check it out myself this next year.

7) Bath Tub Crayons - Yes, I did just add that. It was an excellent idea on Myra's part. I'm always thinking in the shower. It's my thinking spot.

8) Voice Recorder - Yet another tool for when you can't jot something down. My husband got me a digital recorder for Christmas this year. I tend to find myself coming up with ideas while I'm driving. Inevitably by the time I can write it down I always forget whatever grand idea I had.

I'm sure there are more items we all need in our tool kit for writing. But, since I was lacking more of #4, I only came up with 8.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Traditons

As a youngster I always heard other kids talking about their Christmas traditions that were special to their own families. My family just plain celebrated Christmas. I didn't count what we ate or who we celebrated with as traditions. I wanted something more.

Somehow, my younger sister and I convinced our parents to let us open one gift on Christmas Eve. Every year following we said it was a Christmas tradition and we had to do it. Now my own daughter is convinced that this tradition has to take place every Christmas Eve.

So, there is a family Christmas tradition from my house. Do you have any holiday traditions you love?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quote #18

"A house without books is like a room without windows." - Heinrich Mann

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Domino Effect

I've read several year in review blog posts recently and thought it would be nice to do one myself. I think I have had a really interesting and eventful year. I hope this next year will be just as productive.

I started out the year attempting to write WIP #1. I had already been working on it for 9 months. Yeah, I know it was taking a long time. Since it was my first attempt at writing I still had not worked out all the kinks in my writing process. Or my plot for that matter. There were tons of kinks. I kept fussing with the plot outline. Then when I would sit down to write I found way too many glitches and had a difficult time putting everything together. I found that as I wrote the characters and story would take me someplace different than I had intended.

I was not on Twitter, Facebook, nor did I have this blog. I did have an infant and a teaching degree. I was told by so many professors not to get on Twitter, Facebook, or have a blog. They said it would hinder my finding a teaching job. Eventually I made the decision to create a Facebook page to keep in touch with family all over the country. Then I broke down and started my blog and got on Twitter.

And thus the domino effect begins. It was through Twitter and blogging that I found so many new friends and others like me.

  • Without Twitter I might not have heard about NaNoWriMo.
  • Without Twitter I might not have met Kayla Olson, whose tweet prompted me to sign up to participate in NaNoWriMo two days before it began.
  • Without NaNoWriMo I might not have finished my WIP #1 - Presently titled "Stone Magic."
  • Without NaNoWriMo I might not have figured out that the best way for me to write is without an outline.
  • Without NaNoWriMo I might not have cracked down on myself to make time to write.
  • Without Twitter I might not have found many great blogs - too many to link to in this post.
  • Without Twitter I might not have learned of SheWrites or Goodreads. Both of which I have joined.
  • Without Goodreads I might not have ever won two ARCs, Wither by Lauren DeStefano and The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern.
All in all I am extremely pleased with this past year of writing. I got a shaky start, but eventually pulled it all together and hit a goal. I have since created new plans and goals for this coming year regarding my writing. I have learned what my process is and what I need to do to meet my goals.

How was your year in writing?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pen Names

I know it sounds silly, but I had originally thought of using a pen name when I first began to write. I had a good reason stuck in there, but as I've gone on I decided not to and to go with my own name.

What was my reason? I'm so glad you asked. Well, I graduated not that long ago from a very long stint in college. My degree was in history, something I enjoy very much. I have several projects that I would like to see through to the end and possibly publish in the future. In the beginning I thought that since my degree is in my name I should publish my historical research under my own name and leave my fictional writing under a pen name.

According to Wikipedia many popular and well known writers have used pen names. The most notable pen name I came up with off the top of my head was Anne Rice. The website lists Stephen King and the Bronte sisters as a few of the many popular and well known writers to have used pen names.

As I've gone on, however, I've decided that I want to stick with my real name for my fictional writing. I'll decided how to proceed when I get back to the historical research. For now I'm completely immersed in writing paranormal for young adults. Obviously I will need to figure something out. Who would take a historical writer serious if she also writes paranormal YA books? Me, but that's a given. lol

Where do you stand on pen names?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Quote #17

"When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing." ~Enrique Jardiel Poncela

Monday, December 13, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

I'm such a sucker for these things.

First it was NaNoWriMo. I had not intended upon entering, but did two days before November started. I didn't hit the 50,000 word count, but I did get close. I finished a novel, which was the first big hurdle to get over. Now I'm in the editing stage, as I like to call it Editing Stage 1. Yes, there will be more stages.

This time, however, instead of a writing challenge I've decided to participate in a reading challenge. The 2011 Debut Author Challenge is hosted by The Story Siren. The goal is to read 12 books by debut authors from January 1st to December 31st. I think I can accomplish this - along with being a mom of 2, writing, looking for a possible teaching job ...

Since I love to read this should definitely get me going. I will create a page on my blog where you can find a link to my reviews on Goodreads. By the way I've hardly read a book I didn't like, so they'll probably be great reviews. :-)

Is anyone else participating this year?

Friday, December 10, 2010

My New Stickers

Recently while out shopping I ran across a set of stickers that caught my eye. I couldn't pass them up. They completely reminded me of my writing moods sometimes.

Some of these remind me of what I think about my work, occasionally. There are those times that when I reread what I've written I think, "do over, destroy, do wut," and so on like the stickers say. There are other times when I think "cocktail!" That's when I'm super proud of what I've written and want to celebrate. And then there are those times that I feel like hitting the "eject" button and kicking myself right out of the driver's seat on my computer.

I have decided to decorate one of my writing binders with these stickers.

I wanted to insert a picture of my binder with the stickers here, but the pictures didn't turn out so good. Oh well. They are basically slapped on where ever I could find space.

One thing that's for sure, these stickers make me smile each time I set eyes on them. They also remind me of things teenagers say. Since I write YA this helps get me in the right mind set. :-)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

My 1st ARC - Wither

Just last week I received my first ARC in the mail. To say I was excited is a huge understatement. I had just been telling my husband two days earlier how I really, really, really wanted a copy of this book now! It had all started when he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I said Wither, but it doesn't come out until March.

Two days later my mailman was handing it to my husband along with another package. I was not expecting to get Wither at all. I knew I had entered a contest for it, but I couldn't remember what site I had entered it on or when. I didn't get an email stating that I won, not to my knowledge, so I'm still curious as to it's exact origin. But, I will not look a gift horse in it's mouth!

Immediately I began reading and was glued to it. When I opened the book I told myself, "I hope this book lives up to the hype I've been hearing."

Well, it did and now I can't wait for the second installment in the Chemical Garden Trilogy to be out.

Yes, I have finished it. I started reading last Wednesday and finished yesterday. My 12 month old loves to play with books, so I had to read while he napped. Otherwise, it would have been done in less than two days.

My review will follow on and I'll link it to my blog once I have it up.

It is definitely worth the read. I really enjoyed it. But, enough I say! Wait for my review. :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

NaNoWriMo Learning Curve

With my first NaNoWriMo came a learning curve.

Yes, that's right I said it. I learned a lot from NaNoWriMo. Originally I thought I'd just sit on the sidelines and watch. Then I got the crazy idea to join in on the fun.

So, just what did I learn?

1) Discipline - One of the most difficult things for me as a stay-at-home-mom and writer is to actually sit my behind down and write. I have a 12 month old and he requests a HUGE amount of my attention at all times. Up until NaNoWriMo I had the horrible habit of saying, "I just didn't have time to write today." Not anymore! I learned that I just needed to get up a little earlier every morning before he wakes up and get in as much writing as possible. This is where my wonderful coffee comes into place. I love having it every morning while I sit and type away. Unless I have somewhere to be early, then I have time to drink coffee and write.

2) Outline - I have had the habit of obsessing over an outline in the past. I'm not sure where, but I read that you need an outline before you start writing. Uh - not me. I would obsess over getting my outline just right and then when I sat down to write I wouldn't like the outline and would obsess over altering it - Constantly. I have since learned that I don't need an outline. What I need is a general outline of where I want to end up and what points I want to hit. Then I let the characters have fun.

3) Editing - This was a bit difficult for me as I had major computer problems and had to have my hard drive reformatted. Luckily, I had all my work saved. BUT, I had to reinstall everything! My printer was a difficult thing to reinstall. I lost my installation disk. (I put it somewhere safe; it's now safe from me.) Downloading the correct software from the website was a bit daunting, so I put it off for a while. Finally, I got it all downloaded and installed. By then I was way behind on my editing. I should have written in the morning, printed my work, edited on the hard copy, and then made changes on the computer at night. This would have saved me a lot of trouble. I ended up spending most of the last part of the month editing. Way too much editing.

4) Goals - My goal was to either hit the 50,000 word count or finish a novel. I may not have hit the word count, but I did finish a novel. GOAL ACHIEVED!

5) NaNoWriMo 2011 - My husband found a great show that gave me a great idea. I have decided to do a bit of research over the next year and once again enter NaNoWriMo. This time I will be able to edit as I go and actually hit both goals - 50,000 words and a finished novel. That is barring any computer glitches!