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Archive for the ‘goals and planning’ Category

Goals for the year:

  • improve health and fitness (stick to plan the specialist recommended, one day at a time).  At this point the only goal is whether I followed the plan. Results should follow.
  • finish at least one project in process.
  • be more regular about something besides Candy Crush Soda. This includes keeping up with this blog, checking the Alice M. Cole blog and mail more frequently, and looking into my other neglected accounts such as Goodreads. This does not include going back to Facebook.

Here’s the game plan for the major writing items. I haven’t decided how public I want to be with the family and personal goals; right now I think not.

January was for recovering from December and planning the coming year.

February and March: finish Genie-ous second draft and hopefully an edit pass of the completed draft.

April is Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ll flesh out the Troy and Sal draft from November.

May will be Story a Day at Forward Motion. I haven’t participated for years and I miss it.

June: final pass on Genie-ous and send to market.

July: Camp NaNoWriMo session two. I’ll either edit Troy and Sal 1 or work on second draft of the hurricane story. I might also decide to draft Troy and Sal’s second novel.

August: Edit Troy and Sal, if not done.

September: mostly family. Evaluate progress and adjust plans accordingly.

October: Finish draft of T&S 2

November: probably draft Troy and Sal’s third tale.

December: family

January 2019: recovery month and plan 2019.

 

I’d also like to work on Crows, and I might slot it in late in the year if everything else is going well.

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It’s been kind of a difficult year for me, for no particular reason. Just sometimes life is harder to handle, y’know? Kind of like a common cold of the psyche, I suppose. There are family stresses that I could blame it on, but that’s not really the cause. I just haven’t been coping as well. Maybe more on that later.

I’ve managed to keep going. Art class, lots of music events, golf league, training for and then going on a week-long wilderness canoe trip in Canada, cruise vacation through Alaska, Japan, Korea, and China, Christmas with family here and in Germany, and lots of other fun stuff. My weight continues down, I’m fitter than I’ve been for a long time, and my blood sugar remains stable. The kids are all doing fine. Problems with my big toes, but compared to the stuff many of my friends are going through with hips and knees and backs, it’s nothing.

But when I sit down to write, it’s just–well, truthfully, I don’t usually sit down, or if I do, I read or crochet or play video games. There are words and ideas waiting. I just don’t want to write them down. I’ve had constipation of the creative process before, and this isn’t it. I thought maybe the family stress had drained me more than I thought, and gave myself the summer off, but I’m no closer to writing now than I was in May. The peer pressure and support of National Novel Writing Month let me push through most of a new draft, but since then, not much.

Truthfully, I’m scared, and that’s not something that has happened to me very often. I’ve had specific projects I’ve been afraid to tackle due to the emotional difficulty of the story itself (Michael’s unfinished story comes to mind), but most of the time, words have been my refuge and comfort. But now they’re a threat.

I don’t know what the threat is. I don’t know what I’m afraid of.

I know, I know. Sit down and write anyway. No other way around. Draft will be finished!

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July plans

Decision one: Camp NaNoWriMo?

Decision two: If so, what?

I can tackle Crows again now that I have a better idea what’s going on (and I need to remember to make some posts here about some of the things I’ve learned.)

Likewise, I could go back to Troy and Sal, or Genie-ous, the two other stories that hung up badly on the same issues.

I could write something new (several choices there)

I could revisit some of my old SF stuff, particularly the intelligent spaceship, or one of the steampunk stories.

I dunno. Thinking about it makes my brain hurt. Just too many choices

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The first part of the year has been less productive than I had hoped, mainly due to serious family drama (middle son and wife splitting up) which really hasn’t taken that much time since they’re in California and we’re in New England. But there’s been a lot of time in conversation, and a lot of time lost to just pondering.

Possibly as a result of having so many churning emotions that are hard to articulate, I put a lot of emphasis on my art classes. I’m quite pleased with the progress I’ve made there.

Got one shiny new idea and worked on it for March Madness. Will keep poking at it and the teenage vampires story; hopefully one of them will be ready to go for November, if I decide to NaNo it.

I’ve made it about halfway through the Crows draft. I’m working on it for Camp NaNoWriMo this month, with the goal of having a solid though not polished manuscript by the end of the month.

May will be primarily a reading-and-crocheting month, with a scaled back Story-A-Day.

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I don’t really have writing “goals” for 2016. My goal is to finish something. And if there’s year left, I’ll finish something else. That’s all.

My strategy for getting there is based on last year’s generally successful work pattern. Last year, my life accidentally fell into a pattern where Real Life took up alternate months, leaving the other months for writing. I tend to be a binge writer, so writing in binges instead of “Omigod, I’m not writing every day!” was a productive change. And it let me free to really enjoy my family and personal stuff, because I didn’t have the constant feeling that I “should” be writing.

So I’m planning to use the same strategy this year. It looks like our plans aren’t going to fall into such neat month-by-month categories this year, so this rough plan will have to be tweaked as the year goes on. But generally speaking, it looks like family/personal breaks in late February, May, August, October, and December.

Scheduled writing events that I’d like to do: Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, scaled down Story a Day in May, and if there’s time in October, Nightmare Fuel. I’m thinking not NaNoWriMo this year.

First up: Start working on the final stages of Crows, with the goal of being able to submit by the end of March or early April. The first task is to reread the draft and note what has to be done. After that I’ll have a better idea how long finishing will really take.

After Crows? I’m not sure yet. Maybe Sal and Troy. I’m also considering setting up Nicky’s story (Not Forgetting) to publish as a serial novel. Way back when I started it, I had grand ideas of setting it up as a web page with mock videos and even some of the band’s songs, but lack of talent and money makes that unlikely. Maybe eventually…

But that’s the year ahead. I plan to re-evaluate every two or three months.

I also have personal and health goals, but I mostly don’t plan to discuss those in public 😀

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It was a busy year.

Grandbaby in February. New kitchen floor, gas range, washer and dryer in May. We bought a canoe, used it, and went on wilderness camping trip. And as usual there was golf league and art class.

Lots of walking, though no hiking this year. The focus was on learning to canoe so I’d be ready for the week-long wilderness trip.

Shoveled lots of snow. LOTS of snow.

Besides the trip to California for the grandbaby in February, David visited in June and the whole family including grandbaby was here in August. I visited my family in Montana in September and we took a major cruise in October.

My only goal for the writing this year was to keep working, and I succeeded in that. I had about 125K in new words and lots of revising, worldbuilding, and notes. Specifically:

* Revised outline for the first Sal and Troy book, and started the revised draft.
* Revised outline for Darien and started the revised draft, which stands at about 30K now.

* Revised the genie story, decided the short version wasn’t working, and expanded it to novel length for NaNoWriMo.

* Worked on PattiSue (new adult vampires and werewolves. Oh, the shame…)

* Story a Day yielded 11 ideas, 8 of which became partial drafts. Haven’t looked at them since though.

So it was a pretty good year. Except that for the second year in a row, I didn’t finish anything. And there were a lot of smaller things, like posting here, that I let slide. I’m not going to beat myself up over it. Isn’t it nice to know I have things to work on next year?

Today’s post was inspired by the prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour!.

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One of the January goals I’m doing the worst on is keeping up with my blog posts :p But I haven’t been great with many of the others. Not terrible, either, for the most part.

I’ve kept up with the physical stuff and will be going on a week-long canoe trip in Canada soon, so that’s good. But I haven’t been very good about keeping to a healthy eating plan and my weight is only down slightly. And as for getting to bed at a regular time and getting enough sleep–well, we knew that wasn’t going to happen, right?

Family stuff is good. New grandbaby and all that good stuff. He’s coming to visit in August and bringing his family with him. Looks like everybody will be here for one weekend so that will be great fun. I seriously underestimated the amount of time and emotional energy I’d be giving to that.

I’ve had spurts of productivity despite that. Eleven new short stories in May for Story A Day, another 50K words on Darien’s story in April for the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo. But no luck on secondary goals. It appears that at this point in my life, though I’m as distractable as ever, I can only focus on one thing at a time.

With that in mind, and with my schedule showing large chunks of time dedicated to family and other activities over the next few months (long cruise! kids!) I decided not to try to work at times when I’m not going to get any work done anyway. I just make myself feel bad.

So the rest of the year looks like this:

July: Camp NaNoWriMo to work on the second draft of the first Sal and Troy novel.

August: family and fun

September: writing and/or editing binge. Ideally I’d like to get Sal and Troy out to market.

October: cruise!

November: NaNoWriMo, project TBD

December: family, mostly

Today’s post was inspired by the prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour!.

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April wound up being fairly successful despite the personal chaos, which can only be described as “internal crisis.” There’s nothing going on outside. The world is good as far as that goes. So I decided to just ignore it and signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’d had a thought out of the blue about how I could resolve a plot-and-motivation problem in Darien’s story and wanted to implement that.

I figured it ought to be good for 50k, but when I got going, I discovered further complications (of the not-good-for-the-story sort 🙂 ) and issues arising from inadequate character development, which in turn revealed big gaps in my worldbuilding. The characters were doing things but they didn’t have attitudes about the world around them, and their interrelationships were exactly like relationships in 2015 America. I had written the earlier draft on the assumption that I could go back and fill in the details later, but clearly that wasn’t working. So I lowered my word count to 30,000, which turned out to be a comfortable pace.

So my plan for May, complicated as it is: keep writing at a comfortable pace 😀

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Better late than never? Here’s my Merry-Go-Round blog post for January 🙂

I’ve been struggling all month to write this post, not because the post itself is so difficult but because the goals I wanted to write about refused to stay put. I knew I was going to need to be flexible what with the first grandbaby arriving in February and the usual family obligations and impromptu weekends in the mountains, but the lists I came up with were more than flexible. It didn’t seem to matter what order I put things in, or whether I changed one project for another. They were all equally arbitrary and equally impossible to believe in.

The truth is, writing isn’t my only priority right now. I’m still recovering from losing my father and now worrying about my mother, I’m about to be a grandmother for the first time, I’m making progress in my painting, and it’s all contributing to huge changes inside, changes I’m only beginning to recognize. It’s like sitting on a volcano waiting for it to erupt.

I don’t know what’s going to happen when it does. Maybe nothing. Maybe just renewed energy to the things I’ve always loved. Or maybe I’m getting ready to head in an exciting new direction. But until I figure it out, I need to just keep on keeping on, while being aware that I might need to change directions.

So for the first part of the year, I’ll be working on background research for the steampunk series I started last November, mostly studying US history, especially the history of slavery. I’ll also be finishing the genie novella and possibly working on the next pass of Crows. Target date for the genie story is before grandbaby. I don’t expect to get anything done while we’re visiting; when we come back, I’ll pick up Crows.

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “New Beginnings” in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour–an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on crossing genre lines, check out the group site at the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour there. Read and enjoy!

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2014 was kind of an up and down year, but all in all significantly better than the last couple of years. I was fighting depression off and on–still am, for that matter–and because depression lies, I had trouble remembering all the good parts even though I enjoyed them as they happened. I’m thinking maybe it would help if I did a review like this more often, just to remind myself how blessed and lucky I am.

Some of the highlights:

Neil treated me to a blowout 60th birthday, with tickets to the Celtics and the Bruins on the same day 😀

Middle kid and his fiancee got married at Disney World in September. Lovely time was had by all. They’re expecting our first grandchild now. That will be a distraction for sure.

Lots of travel — big trips to Wisconsin/Michigan to visit youngest, Florida to help middlest get married, Montana to visit my family, as well as shorter trips like a weekend on Block Island for bicycling, a three-day canoe trip on the Connecticut River, and three days at Tanglewood for hiking and music.

Golf league, concerts, art classes, learning to canoe, getting back on a bike for the first time in many years.

Writing: edited Overamped one more time, cutting 20K words, and sent it to the Amazon contest, where it did not do well. Wrote the second draft of Crows, preliminary draft of Lace, and the start of a steampunk work that is at least a trilogy and possibly a series, plus a few short stories and poems.

Looking forward to an even better 2015.

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