Archive for the ‘goals and planning’ Category

Trying to decide whether to participate in Story-a-Day this year:


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Gotta get Crows done before the end of the year. Progress updates at House at the End of the Road.

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I’ve spent at least a couple of hours a day most days since Christmas trying to work out a plan and a strategy for 2013.

It hasn’t gone much of anywhere.

I had a mental picture of what I wanted to accomplish and worked out a detailed plan. It didn’t last out the first week.

I put together another plan. That one never even got started.

But I’ve been making progress anyway. Getting things done. (At least I was until I got sidetracked by planning a late winter vacation escape…but a person’s got to have her priorities ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

So I’ve decided that for now, for at least the first part of the year, that’s my only goal. Get things done. I’m still recovering from the grief over my father’s death, still coming out of a long dry spell, still tender inside. I need to give myself time and space.

So: I’m going to try to get things done. I’m starting with short story submissions. I would like to start new writing as well, but while the urge is there, the direction is not. But that’s all right. It will come.

Today’s post was inspired by the “projects” 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! Up next: D Jordan Redhawk.

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I won’t list all the trauma and drama again. When I went back through my notes, there was even more of it than I thought there was.

The rest of the year wasn’t too bad. I completed 11 of 12 Merry-Go-Round posts and the A to Z Blog Challenge in April. Wrote a sestina and several other poems for an April poetry challenge. Wrote a chapter for a collective novel we wrote for a friend’s birthday.

Progress on the bad fairies, the genie story, Whatever’s in the River (including part of next book in the series), two new short stories, and a new novel. Probably around 75K words total, which is better than I thought.

Set up a website for Alice M. Cole, my horror-and-sexy-stuff persona. I’ll continue the literary and women’s stuff under my own name. Not sure what to do about romance yet; probably Alice, since several of the horror/dark stuff publishers also publish romance and erotica.

Failed at March Madness, Labor of Love, Story A Day, Camp NaNo, regular NaNoWriMo, Nightmare Fuel, and the haiku challenge.

I had a good year with hiking and golf, and resumed yoga last week. The diet kind of fell apart, but I managed to hold it together well enough to not gain weight, though I didn’t succeed in losing any more.

All in all, it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it was on the writing front, especially considering the drama and trauma.

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change and no change

I just ran across a blog post by Christina Katz that has some interesting things to say about decluttering your career.

She makes some excellent points about letting go of the old things so you can accept the new, which seems to have been the message I’m supposed to learn this year since just about everything I read has been harping on it in one way or another. I’ve been thinking a lot about these issues since early in the year when we cleared out the house. I keep waiting for all the new opportunities that are supposed to fill the empty space, both literal and emotional. They aren’t happening.

Am I expecting too much? Apparently I’m supposed to take it on faith that something will be there when I step out — but so far I’m just wandering in circles.

Maybe I haven’t cut enough old stuff? Maybe I need to take the old bumper sticker advice and do something, even if it’s wrong…

Oh. Wait. Is that what they mean by stepping out in faith? Trusting that it won’t be wrong?

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Changes coming

Alice Cole is going to be getting her own blog, persona, and identity soon. When that happens, most of the strictly writing stuff will move over there, and this blog will become more about family, lifestyle, hiking, and all those good things.

I’m not going to try to keep the two personas strictly apart, but I don’t intend to crosspost much, either.

We’ll see how long that works ๐Ÿ™‚

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Erin M. Hartshorn
tagged me in a meme that’s going around, The Next Big Thing. The quickmeme entry seems to have been hacked by somebody with a Newt Gingrich fetish, but some googling turned up this as the main question list:

What is the title of your next book?
Where did the idea for the book come from?
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
What other books of the same genre would you compare yours with?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the readerโ€™s interest?

It’s geared to writers who are published, with a new book coming out soon, so many of the questions aren’t very relevant to me yet.

I have several projects under way that I’ll begin submitting in the new year.– short stories, a couple of novellas, and a novel titled “Overamped,” about a professional snowboarder dreaming of Olympic gold who gets the woman of his dreams instead. If I took out all Joey’s sex fantasies and all the f-bombs and other modern terminology, the book would shrink significantly, so it’s not a romance ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll probably just bill it as mainstream when I start to market it. I plan to start with conventional publishers, which means finding an agent. Self-publishers have done well in genres, but mainstream is still pretty much the property of, well, the mainstream.

I also have a bunch of ghost story/dark fantasy/somewhat erotic short stories and novellas to go out. I’ll use a different name for those and I’m planning to focus on small online publishers, at least to start.

It doesn’t take me very long to write a first draft. It’s the second and third that take forever. Generally the “first” draft is more of a proof of concept, to make sure the characters are interesting and complex enough to sustain the story, and there’s enough story there. So throwing out an idea after first draft is pretty common for me. Then I’ll expand it in the second draft. Way overexpand it, usually. Then the third draft will be about locating the heart of the story and cutting out non-essential stuff. Usually I wind up combining subplots and characters. For instance, in Overamped, Joey owns a small sporting goods store. In one scene he waits on a customer with a small kid. I was able to combine that woman with the mother of a kid on the snowboard team to turn two “furniture” characters into a bit of emotional trouble for Joey.

I’m not going to tag anybody in particular. If you’re reading this, and it sounds like something you want to blog about, consider yourself tagged.

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I’m trying to set up websites for my author personas. Plan for them, anyway. I’ve always written the literary fiction and science fiction under my own name, but lately I’ve been writing a lot of mystery, ghost story, and dark fantasy, rather creepy stuff with a higher violence content and sometimes unusual sex.

I think it would be a good idea to separate the two so the reader knows what to expect, which means I need a pen name for the creepy stuff. I think I’ve mentioned this in the past.

I had been thinking of a couple of possible names, using names from the family tree:

Taylor Landova
Randall Landova
Randall Maynard
Alice Cole

Do any of them sound like they write strange ghost stories?

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Right now I’m trying to write up my September results and October goals. I had very modest expectations, since the primary business of the month was to give myself some space to grieve and recover. I’m to the point where I want to get back to work and feel restless and all that when I don’t, but while I can write down goals that sound good, they’re just in my head. I can’t really commit to them with any belief or desire.

You know the old joke about how bacon and eggs illustrate the difference between being involved and being committed? The hen’s involved, the pig’s committed? In a lot of ways I’ve just been involved with my life, not committed to it. I don’t mean that in an angsty or depressed sort of way, either. I’ve been doing what I want and working hard to get it. But enthusiasm waxes and wanes. Goals change. Discouragement sets in when what once seemed attainable is still just a rainbow on the horizon. And losing someone close to you can make you question all your life’s assumptions.

I’ve been through ups and downs and dry times before. I know that sometimes, commitment means just putting one foot in front of the other while the trail sinks down into the mud. This is probably another of those times. But sometimes it pays to pause and make sure you’re still on the trail you think you’re on.

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My friend Erin Hartshorn’s blog is featuring a series on time management and priority planning. As always, she has some thoughtful insights and good ideas as well as some good discussion about the issues and strategies.

Mainly it has reminded me that it’s been too long since I did a thorough inventory of my work and priorities. I do okay on the day to day stuff (even with all the disruption of my dad’s illness and funeral), but without the planning and effort, I tend to lose track of the long term goals, the ones you don’t have particular deadlines for but have to work on every day anyway.

So that’s what I’m doing today while Neil is off hiking. Or trying to do. I’m having trouble deciding what’s important. I know a clean house is not the meaning of life, but those are the only tasks I seem to be able to wrap my mind around.

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