At the beginning of 2010 I wrote myself a letter outlining my goals for the year. Now that the year is over half-way through, I thought it might be a good idea to pull that letter out and see how I'm progressing. So, here is the letter, with my comments on progress in italics.
2010. Wow! How did that manage to creep up on me? I swear, every year seems to be getting shorter and it is getting harder and harder to achieve everything I want to achieve in each one. So, in an attempt to organize the chaos that is my life, I am going to put on paper some of my goals for 2010. Perhaps having them written down will focus me more towards actually making them happen.
But before I go ahead with 2010, I think I should reflect for a moment on 2009 because the successes and failures of that year are certainly going to color my ambitions for the future. I went into 2009 with only one concrete goal: to get published. And in October, I was. Okay, it wasn’t exactly what I’d been aiming for which was to have my novel, Assignment 9, accepted for publication, but even the little 800 word story that wound up in a barely-read women’s business magazine, so badly formatted that it made little sense anymore, counts. Right? Right! Published is published. And then I had another story accepted for an anthology coming out in March 2010, so I felt that I had achieved my goal.
So in 2010 I want to build on those successes. I want to publish more, and publish widely.Well, that has happened. So far this year I've published YA fiction, Magic-Ralism, Literary Fiction and Chick Lit as well as some flash-fiction I want to get my stories into some publications that people actually read. If I can get paid as well, then that’s just gravy! Some of my friends are setting themselves goals as to how much money they would like to make, but I don’t think I’m ready to do that yet. Good plan. So far my writing has earned me a grand total of $11.00 Maybe in 2011. I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be a year of as many rejections as acceptances as I get a feel for the marketplace and where my particular style might fit into it. But at least I’m prepared for that. My approach is to aim high, submitting first to the most prestigious or highly paid market that looks suitable, then to move down as the rejections pile up, re-writing on the way if necessary.
I haven’t abandoned my ambition to get my novel published either. In 2009 I joined several different novel review forums on WDC as well as rather audaciously seeking help from a local YA author, and have completed an extensive re-write of Assignment 9. It is out with a publisher at the moment, and I have my eye on a contest to enter it into as well. Entered the contest, made the semi-finals but still no publishing deal. Got another agent rejection yesterday too, which made me sad because it was from an agent I really like. Fingers crossed 2010 will be Assignment 9’s year to shine. Even if nothing else gets accepted, if this book finally manages to make its way out into the world, I will be more than satisfied. And I still feel that way. I hope by the end of the year I will have something more positive to add to this paragraph
Staying with novels for a moment longer, my other book, Holding it Together, has been somewhat neglected for over a year, but with Assignment 9 being out in the world now, I plan to focus my attention onto this one. In the Novel Focus Group, my turn for being read and reviewed comes up again in April and I would like to have a new draft ready to go by then. Unfortunately the group folded because there were not enough people participating... I’m taking the book and a great swathe of critiques I’ve received for various chapters with me on holiday next week. Without internet or cell-phone coverage to distract me, I hope to make some significant inroads into this rewrite while I’m away. I just hope the kids will leave me enough peace to do it! Well, I didn't do it while on holiday, although I did chip away at it, but later in the year I had the epiphany that the book needed to be written in first person, not third, and I rewrote it that way. It's much better now, but still needs work. I hope by the end of the year I will have a version I'm happy enough with to start querying.
The review groups I am a part of are so incredibly helpful and supportive that I cannot ignore them. I intend to continue being an active reviewer of other peoples’ work. I have done that and will continue to. I have learned so much from reviewing, and can be much more critical of my own work as a result. And when one of the stories or books I’ve helped with gets published, it feels fantastic to have had a hand in getting it to that point. It’s not quite as good as being published myself, but a close second!
Because I am committed to these groups and want to give reviews that are as helpful and well thought out as possible, I am going to make a weekly schedule for myself, outlining which group, and what pieces I will review each day of the week, ensuring that I also leave time to actually write myself. I have taken a rather scattershot approach to reviewing in the past, and have often found myself struggling towards the end of the month to get through everything I have taken on. This is working really well for me. I'm very pleased I chose do it this way.
I would like to participate in NaNoWriMo in 2010. I didn’t in 2009 because I thought I was going to be at a conference for a week in the middle of November. As it turned out, I didn’t end up going and could have done the NaNo thing after all. So this year I will get myself prepared and will attempt to write an entire book in a month. Given it took me almost twenty-five years to get the other two done, it will be a miracle if I do. But hey! I believe in miracles. At least sometimes. I have at least two ideas for novels tripping around my head, so I’m sure one of them will make an appearance in 2010, NaNo or no NaNo. I actually ended up doing the March NoWriMo and ended up with Prayer and Prey, but I plan to do the November one too. I have a new idea for a book that I will try to get out in November.
With two children’s picture books completed and ready to go to a publisher, I would like to see these in print in 2010. And I would like to continue to collaborate with the very different artists whose work I have been privileged enough to be associated with. Dave Boyle is such a prolific painter that should our Jessie And The Witches garner the success we’d like it to, I foresee more Jessie adventures in our future. So far no bites here. I've had one rejection and heard nothing back from the other five publishers we sent the MS and artwork to.
I have grown so much as a writer in the last twelve months. I would like to continue to grow, tackling genres and subjects that are outside my comfort zone. Done that. I've written a Sci-Fi piece, something I never thought I'd do, am just finishing up a horror story and have written several other pieces well outside my own genres. I have thousands of stories to tell, and I look forward to putting them down on paper and sharing them with the world. I may even take another stab at poetry, something I have almost a phobia about. In fact, I am going to ensure that I write and submit at least one poem in 2010. I don’t think I can call myself a writer unless I’m willing to push myself to write poetry, however bad it may be to begin with. And it will never get better unless I practice. Not big on the poetry thing. My first attempts did not generate a good response from my critique group so that is definitely on the back burner. I really don't enjoy poetry, so why should I bother?
With all those writing goals to take care of, I’m going to struggle to find the time for my day job! Or my kids. But I tend to work best when under pressure, and I am far more productive when I’m busy. So it looks as if 2010 is going to be a busy year! Stop musing about it, girl, and get on with it! Am I going to have to kick you in the pants already? It’s only January!
Not too bad eh? I'd better get moving though. There is still a lot to achieve before December.