Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Resolutions for 2014

Last day of 2014!

Earlier this year, I wrote out a list of writing goals that I wanted to accomplish by the end of this year.  Right now’s the time of reckoning. 

1.        Finish writing synopsis for Red WIP, revise query.

Done, done and done.  I believe I’ve revised both multiple times throughout the year.  The query has gone through some extreme changes, but I believe that they’re for the good.

2.       Send out first batch of queries by the end of January

This one was harder.  It’s not easy sending something out and hoping that it’s ready.  But I did do it.  (With a lot of encouragement from hubby.)  I sent out a few queries this year.  Not as many as I should have, but I’ve at least started on that journey.

3.       Rewrite Blue WIP.

I used Camp NaNoWriMo in April to do this.  One month and the entire novel rewritten.  Then, I posted it on Scribophile and had some great critique partners tear it apart.  I’m about 1/3 of the way through a second revision for this year.

4.       Revise Yellow WIP.

Yup.  I can’t remember exactly when I did that, I believe it was the months of May and June.  Once I revised, I posted it on Scribophile, and I am ready to do another revision next year!

This year’s goals I actually completed, which is a shock to me.  Maybe I didn’t set my bar very high? 
Here’s a few things that I accomplished even though I didn’t put it in my resolutions:

1.       Write a new novel in the month of November.  I’m just finishing it up, but I did get to 50,000 in the month of November, which was just as fun as it was last year!
2.       Get published.  In July, I published an article in Home Health Aide Digest on maintaining wellness in the mental health population.  It was a pretty exciting accomplishment, for my writing and for my nursing career!
3.       Become an ML for my region for NaNoWriMo.  This was probably one of my highlights of my 2014 writing accomplishments.  Participating in a live writer’s group, and being able to lead it was a dream come true. 

I’m still working on my writing resolutions for next year.  Hopefully I’ll be able to come up with some harder ones to push me even more.

What are some of your resolutions?  I’d love some ideas!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Query Party Invitation

Is December almost over?  I feel like I just put up the Christmas tree and it’s almost time to take it down again.  And it’s time to start looking at New Year’s resolutions again. 

This next year, I want to focus on my queries and submissions.  It was on my list for last year, but it wasn’t a priority.

What I’ve learned this year is that these letters are even more important than I realized.  I took a new job in September, and I’m now over hiring for my department.  The process of going through resumes has really opened my eyes.  It can take 30 seconds to make a decision.  I’m sure it’s probably even faster for query letters.  It makes me wonder what kind of an impression I’ve made on the agents I did query this year.

So recently, I’ve been researching query letters even more than before and a few weeks ago, I posted an article on a fellow writer’s query process.  (Link here).  It sparked some interest, and I started talking with Vanessa MacLellan and Deborah Osborne (two awesome gals) about having a query party for those who have made that part of their resolutions.  It’s always good to get a second eye, or even a third and fourth eye on those queries before sending them out to an agent.

Here’s how we’re thinking of doing it:  

1.       We’ll create a list of people who are involved and assign each of them a person whose query they’ll read and give feedback on for that week.  (synopsises are welcome too!)
2.       Queries go out on Monday for critiques and are returned by Thursday with any feedback.
3.        That gives us three days to revise and shine before the next round, which will be posted on Friday or Saturday.

We’re hoping to do it once a week for the month of January.

Who wants to participate?  The more the merrier!

For those of you just starting on queries, here’s a list of links that I’ve found very helpful:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Reading Books

Last week, on Google+, one of my friends announced that she was so close to achieving her goal of reading 50 books this year.  (Which, Vanessa, I think is awesome!  I bet you’ll make it!)
Her post made me stop and wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”  I had so many goals for this year, and many of them involved writing.  Yet, writing and reading walk hand in hand.  Why didn’t it occur to me to make a reading goal?

This year, I think I’ve read more books than I have in the past several years.  One of the reasons has to do with the fact that I finally broke down and got an e-reader.  (Or rather, I convinced someone to get it for me for Christmas).  The ability to have any book at my fingertips was too irresistible.  I can’t say that I did horribly this year.  I’ve read about 35 books, and I’ve grown to love some new series, which was just as important.

Unfortunately, as I dive deeper into the world of writers and readers, my to-read list has increased even faster than I can keep up with.  IT’s one of the only features of Goodreads that I really benefit from.  At least now I can keep that list in one place that I can find.

But it made me realize that maybe I’m not pushing myself hard enough.  Reading that many books isn’t too hard, as long as I manage my time wisely.

So in 2015, I’m going to read at least 52 books.  One for each week of the year.  Pretty reasonable, right?

My question for you is: any good book suggestions?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Writing as a Group

Is it seriously already December?

I’m still wondering where October went.

November though, was an absolute blast.  There’s something about NaNoWriMo that invigorates me in ways I can’t even describe.  This year was my first year being an ML in a brand new region and I loved it.

For our first year, we decided to go with a crazy, complicated theme to kick off the start of our region.  Our theme was ‘A Trilogy of Trilogies.’ A combination of Indiana Jones, Star Wars and the Hunger Games.  The rules were intricate and convoluted, but I think that everyone had fun.  My favorite part was that we separated our group into three ‘districts’ and they competed against one another for word counts.  I think it was just the boost they needed to get to their 50,000.

I was pretty proud of our little group.  We had five or six of our regulars, the active ones who came to the write-ins, achieve the goal for the first time.  One of them had attempted seven times before, but this was his first year to get to 50,000.  At our kickoff, we learned that two of our writers, who’d met at our meetings last year, were engaged.  We even had a baby who tried to be born during the month.

I love interacting with other writers.  Having someone who knows exactly what you mean when you talk about researching derogatory terms, or how to properly tie someone up (and then practicing), is really the best kind of support a writer can have.  I love my husband, and he’s very supportive of my writing, but I still get to a point where I can see his eyes gloss over when I talk too much about my characters or novels.  I have some awesome online friends through writing groups and through this blog that have become staples of my writing life, but every once in a while, it’s nice to interact with people face to face.

Not only that, I love watching new writers as they discover the joy and addiction of writing.  I feel that too often, when someone new begins to write, if they don’t have someone to support them, the ‘hobby’ drops by the wayside as other things become more important.  I know that almost happened to me.

Have any of you been mentored by someone more experienced?  Did it boost your confidence and give you a foothold in the crazy life of a writer?  Is there someone you’re helping right now?  I’d love to hear your stories!