In January I set goals to blog more and get comfy with my then newly-created Twitter account. I’ve been successful with one out of the two. I bet you can guess which one was the fail (Hint: this is my first blog post in five months). Anyway, Twitter has been awesome. It has given me the opportunity to interact with other writers every single day. The “amwriting” hashtag is my happy place. It’s lovely to read little snippets from people working their way through the same general process as me. Likes, retweets, and replies are super encouraging on tough days. I love doling them out as much as I love to receive them. It’s a really supportive environment and a quick and easy way to keep myself accountable. Accountability is actually the reason I started this blog, but it’s a bit easier to disappear from here than it is from Twitter. It’s easy to make excuses about not having time to sit down and write a blog post, but I can’t say the same for 140 characters. Still, I’m keeping this blog around because I do enjoy having a space for the occasional long update… and update time it is!
Since I last posted I’ve written two more drafts of my WIP. I just finished up with draft six last night. I’ve truly come to love that feeling I get at the end of a draft. It still feels like a huge accomplishment, even 2.5 years in. I was particularly proud of myself because I made a pretty significant plot-tweak that forced me to change quite a bit at the end of my book. I haven’t given it a reread yet, but I can say that I felt very, very positive about the changes I made and the words that I wrote last night. Right now I’m feeling confident and excited about my next steps. Granted, tomorrow could be a completely different story, but I’ve learned to relish in these optimistic moments. They are the perfect time for goal setting and planning. I’ve come to notice that there are two times a year where I’m guaranteed to be feeling hopeful and ambitious: Just before the start of a new year, and just before the start of a new school year. I’m sure many people are familiar with that late December, early January “I can make changes in my life, I can be successful” vibe. Well, I’m a teacher and I get hit with that same vibe right before I go back to work in late July and it usually hangs around through the middle of August (this happened when I was a student as well). I try to take advantage of these time periods because there are surely a couple of rough patches throughout the year that are set on undoing any awesomeness I’d previously achieved.
In the spirit of goal-setting and high ambition, this morning I a made a list of writing-related things I’d like to achieve by early 2017 and some estimated dates by when I’d like to achieve them. Here’s a little sample:
Complete a second pass through my 6th draft by 8/23
Send draft 6 to CP (Thanks Twitter) and Betas by 8/25
Draft a synopsis and query letter by 9/15
Have a list of at least 50 agents to query by 9/23 (I currently have 13)
Begin draft 7 upon receipt of feedback from Betas/CP
Complete draft 7 by 11/25
Polish MS, synopsis, and query letter by 12/30
Send out first batch of queries by 1/8
Guys I THRIVE off of goal setting so I can’t even tell you how happy this list makes me (and it really is a small sample). Of course, the hard part is actually meeting these goals. Things happen and I’m sure life will get in the way of at least a couple of them, but I try not to beat myself up too much about it… so long as I’m really trying (for instance, if I write draft 7 and decide my MS just isn’t ready to query, I won’t see that as a failure). It’s also nice that I have a full week off work in September and November, and two weeks off in December. School breaks are golden writing marathon/catch up weeks for me.
I’m going to take a mini-break from writing for the weekend. My draft needs to rest a bit before I dive back in anyway. I go back to work on Monday and need to get ready for the coming school year. Hopefully I can also knock a few books off my reading list.
Wishing you all a little mid-year spark of inspiration and ambition!
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