Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. This particular post is about what I’ve learned this year as a writer — my accomplishments, my setbacks, and my ongoing challenges and goals.
Throughout the year, I’ve signed up for A Round of Words in 80 Days, the writing challenge that knows you have a life from Kait Nolan. Each 80-day round allows writers to set their own goals, check in once or twice a week, and share their achievements and struggles. Fellow participants provide encouragement and accountability.
Following are my particular goals this round and what I accomplished. I didn’t complete all of the goals, but I want to focus on what I did get done.
1. Finish YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, by completing three chapters each week.
- Replotted Sharing Hunter with a better plot points and a synopsis.
- Wrote/rewrote several chapters in Sharing Hunter, in line with the replot (and loved how it was finally coming together!).
- Revisited and researched archetypes to make sure all of my characters have a darn good purpose in this novel. Streamlined the character list and introduced one new character.
2. Take Short Stories 101 course from Young Adult RWA.
- Took the short story course and wrote a young adult paranormal short.
- Wrote two more YA paranormal short stories.
- Edited one of those stories thoroughly.
- Edited the other two stories somewhat.
- Laid out a publication schedule for the stories in 2014 and consulted with a potential illustrator about book covers.
3. 10 fiction books and 2 nonfiction books.
- Read 9 fiction books: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer; A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers; Dangerous and Unseemly by K.B. Owen; Taking Chances by S.J. Maylee; Haunted Spouse by Heather MacAllister; Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett; Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater; and Scandal in the Night by Elizabeth Essex.
- Read 3 nonfiction books: Breasts by Florence Williams; Competability: Solving Problems in Your Multi-Cat Household by Amy Shojai; Grace-Filled Marriage by Tim Kimmel.
What else did I accomplish this past year?
- Took an Internet Security for Writers course from WANA International
- Attended DFW Writers’ Conference
- Participated in Immersion Class from Lawson Academy (Margie Lawson, writing coach)
- Wrestled with Sharing Hunter several times over, but on the right track now
- Found a fabulous critique partner in my area
- Wrote a paranormal short story; edited and polished it to publication-ready (not one mentioned above)
- Visited three Houston-area chapters of Romance Writers of America
- Joined the Houston Bay Area RWA
- Took a short story course from the Young Adult RWA chapter
- Wrote 116 blog posts
- Read 42 Books (my list on Goodreads)
- Copy edited a few projects
- And the plot bunnies (yeah, I started a few, but maybe these aren’t exactly accomplishments)
My kids put real perspective on all of this, however, when they say, “Where’s your published book?” 😀 I simply reply, “Working on it!”
Yet, I can see that I truly am. What doesn’t show in the numbers is that my writing ability and confidence have vastly improved in the past few years. When I first began writing, I thought I was ready, but I wasn’t. Not really.
Now when I write, and read back over my output, I know it’s better — much closer to the good stuff on bookstore shelves — and I don’t wish to merely write books, but rather to write engaging books.
Also, what doesn’t show here are the successes of fellow authors whom I’ve been happy to cheer on! Congratulations for the debut releases of fellow author friends and the ongoing success of the multi-published. The writing community has been a serendipitous discovery along my journey! I couldn’t ask for better people in my corner.
My current goals for 2014 include:
- Finish, edit, polish, and query Sharing Hunter, young-adult contemporary with romance
- Edit, polish, and query Good & Guilty, young-adult mystery
- Enter at least three RWA contests
- Attend RWA Conference in San Antonio in July
- Complete and self-publish 4-6 young adult paranormal short stories
- Read 50 books
- Post at least once a week on blog
- Draft sequel to Good & Guilty
And that’s it: my year in review and looking forward. I hope it didn’t bore you to hear what I’ve been up to. Personally, I often find inspiration in what others have done and are doing.
How was your year? What do you have planned for 2014?