Last Quarter Intentions

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing today? It’s been a gloomy couple of days, so I’ve just wanted to laze around. You know how it goes. But next week is September’s book review post, then we enter the final quarter of 2020. Can you believe it? Time is racing by, but at the same time it feels like 2020 has been stretching on forever. It’s weird. Anyway, in preparation for the end of the year, I thought I would let you know what my intentions are. I’m not even going to bother calling them goals because that word hasn’t helped me stay on target in a long time. So, here’s a list of the things I hope to accomplish by December 31st.

Basically.

1. Finish the first draft of DS2. I originally wanted to finish this a week or so ago, but the blahs got me and I stopped working on it. I wrote some short stuff in the interim, so I wasn’t completely useless. However, I need to get back to the novel. I’m aiming for 65-75,000 words and already have about 18,000 written, so even if I wait to start on October 1st (I need to reread what I’ve written over the next few days to get back in the voice) I’ll only need to write between 900 and 1,100 on my writing days. I can do it. I plan to do it. We’ll see if it actually happens.

2. Finish the shawl. I’ve been working on this thing on and off since October, so I want to finish it and have Dad weave in the ends and block it, so we can get it sent off. It’s my own fault it’s taking so long. Hopefully since I don’t plan on trying to force out 1,500 words on my writing days, I’ll be able to squeeze in at least half an hour of crocheting on those days as well as more on the days I don’t write. My priority will be the words, but I’m still hoping I can finish both by the end of the year.

Or just buy me yarn. No flattery necessary.

3. Keep querying and submitting. I haven’t missed a week yet, but I’m slowly running out of agents to query until I get rejections from some others (ones in agencies where you’re allowed to query other agents even if you get a no from one of them), I might drop down to two or three a week instead of five. I’m only 25 submissions away from 100, so I’m not worried about cutting back a bit. Then, I can look for publishers if none of the agents bite. I’ll still keep up with my two short story submissions each week too.

4. Read extra books. Once I finish the book I’m currently reading, I’ll have met my 30 books goal for the year, but I’ll still need to read at least two books for November and December’s reviews. I’m also planning to reread HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone and I’m sure I can find a book or two in my Kindle collection of stuff I’ve bought but haven’t read to fill out the rest of the year. Or maybe I’ll just say screw it and read manga instead.

I mean, if I had enough money, I’d be less anxious which would make me happy, but books work too.

I could talk about my intention to try and make new friends, but we all know how bad I am at keeping up with the ones I have, so I probably won’t do anything different. I’m trying. Slowly. But it’s not like it was back in the Yahoo chat days. Back then I’d randomly *glomp* someone and hey presto, new friend! Nowadays, I join a new forum or group and just lurk because I feel like a creeper. So yeah, new friends would be nice but are unlikely because I’m a socially awkward weirdo.

Anyway, that’s what I hope to accomplish by the end of the year. What about you? Anything you want to get done within the next three months? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or whatever here or on my social media pages!

Be A Writer They Said…

Hello, hello! Welcome to September. I suppose Thanksgiving and Christmas are some time next week with how fast time is moving. Before you know it, this year will be over and we’ll get to see what 2021 decides to throw at us. My hopes aren’t very high. But I’ve been in a blah mood anyway, so maybe I’m wrong and next year will be great. I’m in one of my burned out periods again. I haven’t worked on the novel in a while, so that’s not getting done this month. Oh well. I just pushed myself too hard too fast. Anyway, being a writer is exhausting. I thought I’d take this post as a chance to whine a bit. Sorry in advance.

Maybe, but maybe not.

And it’s true. Being a writer can be fun. Telling stories and reading and gathering with fellow writers to discuss writerly things can be amazing. But no one ever tells you that being a writer is so much more than writing. It’s the one thing I was disappointed about when it came to my MFA program: they glossed over everything included in being a professional writer that wasn’t writing or editing. I get it, it’s a writing program, but it would’ve been nice to be a little prepared for everything else. That one lecture on contracts and being told in our graduation semester that we needed to make a website didn’t quite cut it. I’m slowly figuring things out, though.

That website they randomly told me I had to make for my graduation semester? I had to design it myself because what beginning writer can afford a web designer? It has to be maintained and updated. And in order to make a website, you have to have content. Like a blog that you update weekly. And contact information. You can’t be a new anything nowadays without a social media presence. Those social media profiles need attention and updates just about every day if you want to keep your followers. It’s not exactly hard work, but all of this stuff takes up time. And if you’re popular and have tons of comments and emails to respond to, it could potentially get overwhelming. Sure, there are people you can hire for all that, but it costs money.

Yes, it can.

That’s not all. You also have to be an editor to your own work, a critic who can pull apart everyone else’s work and see what’s working and what isn’t, and a diligent student constantly improving their craft. After that, you have to sell your work and yourself to agents and publishers and readers alike. People have to like you to want to work with you, right? This usually entails submitting and querying lots of people who each have slightly different guidelines that you have to adhere to and getting told no by most of them. Then, if you’re lucky enough to make a deal, you have to pull on your lawyer pants and review every aspect of the contract to make sure everyone involved is getting a fair deal. It’s terrifying and exhausting and no one seems to want to talk about it all.

I know.

And to top it all off, there’s always someone pointing out that you should be actually writing, like everything else involved in being a writer doesn’t count as work. It’s enough to put anyone off writing for a while. But then you get the rare acceptance or encouraging note from a complete stranger or something like that and it’s all worth it again. So yeah, being a writer is exhausting and sometimes it’s fun, but it’s so much more than just writing. Be warned, then become a writer. It’ll be fun.

As always, feel free to leave your thoughts or questions or comments here or on my social media pages!

How Writers Are Created

Hello, hello! How is everyone today? I’m a little annoyed because WordPress has forced an upgrade to the block editor and I have no idea what I’m doing, so if my posts look wonky for a while, that’s why. I don’t like change, in case you haven’t noticed. Anyway, I don’t want to rant about that. I want to talk about those magical creatures known as writers. While I’m convinced some of us just naturally spring from the sea or earth or a river of lava, most of us are created. It’s a long, drawn out process. And there’s no one right way to make a writer. But I thought I’d share a few starting points in case you want to try making one of your own.

Mostly, except I know what I really do. I think nothing else.

In no particular order:

1. Introduce your writer-in-progress to reading early. Let them explore different genres and styles until they discover what they have an affinity for by themselves. I admit that I came to like reading later than most of my writer friends, but when I finally found my way to it, I glommed on obsessively. So, even if your writer is resistant early on, don’t give up. They might just be a late bloomer. However, avoid pushing too much in genres they’ve already expressed a dislike of or they may become resentful toward reading in general.

2. Teach your writer-in-progress the art of productive procrastination. What is productive procrastination? It’s when you avoid doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing by doing something else you’re supposed to do at some point. For instance, answering important emails instead of calling someone back or cleaning the kitchen instead of writing or things like that. It’s really the only way writers get anything done.

Yup.

3. Instill in your writer-in-progress the idea that the worst someone can do is say no, so there’s no real harm in asking. It makes the whole submission and querying processes that much easier. Not to mention asking for beta readers. Sure, all of these people might say no, but you won’t get a yes if you don’t put yourself out there. It’s a crucial skill for writers to master.

4. Expose your writer-in-progress to rejection and teach them that it isn’t the end of the world. This one goes hand-in-hand with number 3. It’s not enough to warn your writer that they’re going to get told no. A lot. You also need to teach them that while it’s okay to be sad, it’s not okay to argue with the no or have a temper tantrum over it. No means no. Accept it and move on to the next person. If they’re lucky, your writer might even get some helpful feedback with the no. Teach them to appreciate it when it happens and to consider using it if it helps improve their work.

Be okay with no.

5. Let your writer-in-progress hoard things like books and journals and pens even if they don’t use them. Writers are like little dragons. We each have things we hoard. Some of it isn’t even related to writing. That’s okay. It’s a source of joy. They’ll need something like that when all the rejections start rolling in.

I could go on with this list, but I need to go get some reading done. As always, feel free to share your own tips for creating a writer or your comments and thoughts about my list here or on my social media pages!

Adjusted Goals

Hello, hello! Welcome to July! How is everyone doing? Can you believe it’s already July? This year has flown by despite (or maybe because of) everything going on. Anyway, I stayed up late with Dad while he had some stuff on the smoker last night (a couple of briskets, pulled pork, and a “prime” rib… it’s okay to be jealous), so we got a late start today, which means I’m too lazy to come up with something decent to blog about. So, since it’s actually the first of the month and I haven’t done a goals post in a while, I’m just going to give you a quick update on new goals and how my old ones are going.

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Here are my goals from January and how I’ve been doing with that/what’s changed.

1. From January: Finish revising DS1.
Status: Complete. I finished in April instead of March because I got lazy, but I finished nonetheless and I love this book.
Updated Goal: Write a first draft of DS2. I waffled about starting this book until I see how DS1 does, but ultimately decided that it’s better to have a draft started and have no one want it than to procrastinate and have nothing if someone gets interested and wants to know where I’m at with book two. I’m aiming to have the first draft done by September 15th at the latest.

2. From January: Read 30 books.
Status: I have read 20 books so far this year. Six were from my “to re-read” pile, nine have been books I’ve reviewed (no idea how that happened), and the other five were new to me, but not necessarily new.
Updated Goal: My official goal is still 30 books. I still have six months of books to review. I also want to re-read at least two more books. And I’ll squeeze in at least two new to me books. Hopefully I’ll be able to get to more in the latter two categories, but I won’t push it.

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Amazon, but yeah.

3. From January: Keep submitting.
Status: I haven’t missed a week yet.
Updated Goal: The goal is relatively the same, submit two short pieces to magazines or anthologies every week. I normally do this on Mondays, but I’ve decided it doesn’t matter which day as long as it gets done every week.

4. January Goal: Query 100 agents.
Status: In progress. I’ve queried 16 agents thus far and received a couple of form rejections as well as a couple of really encouraging personal rejections.
Updated Goal: I’m still going to query 100 agents unless I find one. I send out five queries a week and I will participate in appropriate Twitter pitch sessions. If I can’t find an agent, there are also a few publishers I will try querying before I give up and move to a new project or debate self-publishing.

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Accurate.

5. January Goal: Crochet.
Status: In limbo. I haven’t crocheted in a couple of months.
Updated Goal: I want to finish the shawl I’m working on and a hat by the end of the year. I’m just weird and can’t find the motivation for it. But I will get back to it soon.

Those are my revised goals for now. What are some of your goals? How have they changed since earlier in the year? As always, feel free to leave a comment here or on my social media pages!

You Might Be A Writer If…

Howdy, howdy! How is everyone’s June going? It’s moving along pretty quickly for me. I’ve already written next week’s post. It’s part of a blog tour for the paperback release of Jaquira Diaz’s memoir Ordinary Girls. So, look forward to that! The following week is my normal book review. In other words, the rest of my month is pretty well planned out blog-wise. That just leaves this week’s post. I have nothing new to ramble about on the writing front, so I think I’ll just do a random list post about things that might mean you’re a writer.

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My friend tagged me in this a couple of days ago and it’s not wrong.

1. You might be a writer if you think about and/or talk about writing a lot, but procrastinate when it comes to actually doing the writing.

2. You might be a writer if your to-be-read pile randomly switches genres because you’re thinking about writing something new and want to see how the tropes work and what types of topics are currently popular.

3. You might be a writer if you buy a bunch of fancy pens, but only use cheap BiCs because they write so well and no one cares if you lose them.

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My newest journal. I named her Melusina. Made by Sullivan Book Arts.

4. You might be a writer if you have a bunch of empty journals sitting around the house and almost exclusively use the computer for writing, but buy new journals anyway because they’re pretty.

5. You might be a writer if you get caught staring at people while you’re trying to figure out which character of yours they resemble.

6. You might be a writer if you’re watching TV/reading a book/listening to music/etc. and have to start over because you got distracted by a certain word or phrase that you want to work into your own story.

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7. You might be a writer if you buy books just because the covers are pretty and rationalize it by telling people to look at these great examples of current cover trends in certain genres.

8. You might be a writer if you drunk purchase fifteen books in genres you don’t even like, but decide to keep them because you can never have enough books.

9. You might be a writer if that random piece of conversation you heard somewhere in public becomes fodder for your latest story.

10. You might be a writer if you turn down real-life plans because you have a date with the voices in your head.

I think that’s enough. It’s time for you to jump in with your own examples. Not a writer? What are some indications that you might be a… whatever your job or hobby is? Artist? Crocheter? Mathematician? Whatever. It’s fun. As always, feel free to share your lists, comments, thoughts, or anything here or on my social media pages!

The Things I Do For Procrastination

Hello, hello! Welcome to June. Can you believe it’s already this far into the year? I’m still stuck back in March somewhere. I’ll be honest: motivation for productive things is hard right now. I know I should be writing something, but I’m also nervous because the only thing I’m drawn to is DS2. I’m currently searching for an agent for DS1 and I don’t want what happened with G&G and its sequel to happen this time. I don’t want to get deep into DS2 only to end up with a bunch of rejections for DS1, get disgusted with everything, and trunk them both. That’s too depressing. But I’m also not excited about any of my other ideas at the moment, so I’ll probably cave and start DS2 tomorrow. I’m just procrastinating and I know it. Just like I procrastinated before writing this post. And since I have nothing else to talk about, I thought I would explain what a day of procrastination looks like for me.

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When I get up, it’s a long drawn out process during which I usually have time to play my three mindless games on Facebook for a bit. During that time Dad makes breakfast. We watch an hour of TV while we eat, then we go out back and feed the fish (we have a pond). Afterwards, Dad usually goes out to work in his shop. That’s when the procrastination truly begins.

Today (as in the day I’m writing this, not the day you’re reading it), I came inside and did the crossword puzzle. I checked my email. Got something from Panera Bread about contactless delivery, which they’ve emailed me about before but never delivered to our address, so I checked again figuring it would be the same as usual. To my surprise, they now deliver to us! So, I spent twenty minutes perusing their grocery menu and normal menu even though I know what they have. I was that bored and desperate to avoid working. Sue me. Then, I decided to read a chapter of the book I’m currently reading to review on the 24th.

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It’s something so far.

I followed that up with slowly wandering around the living room and kitchen, then staring out the back door for a few minutes. I usually tell myself it’s because I need to give my eyes a break from the computer screen, but really it’s because I don’t know what to write and hope a change of scenery will help. It never does. And before I returned to my room, I went into the dining room to stare at the crochet stuff I haven’t touched in almost a month. It was a mess. The shawl was all scrunched up and the hook was dangling from the last stitch I made. Instead of waiting for Dad to come inside and help me straighten everything out (which would have taken all of five seconds), I spent fifteen minutes getting the hook into position and shoving everything around as best I could with my back scratcher so that it’s ready for me when I want to work on it again, but won’t fall off the table in the mean time.

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When I noticed it was almost six, I decided to get serious and write this post. This isn’t an unusual day for me. Granted, when I’m in the middle of writing a book or short story, I force myself to get serious closer to 4:30, maybe 5:00. But that’s only because I write more words and sprinkle in random breaks to stare out the back door or check my email or scroll through social media for five minutes.

What about you? What’s a normal day of procrastination like for you? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media pages!

The Agent Hunt Begins

Hello, hello! How is everyone’s May going? Are you still staying at home? Is your area opening back up? North Texas is opening new stuff every week or so, but Dallas county alone is still gaining around 250 new cases every day. Needless to say, Dad and I are staying home for the foreseeable future. What does that mean for my productivity? Nothing. I’ve been pretty lazy the last couple of weeks. I know what I should be doing, but I can’t find the motivation. At least I couldn’t find it until I got an email on Monday informing my that the next PitDark is on the 21st. That means I have about a week to get my shit together and get ready to start my agent hunt. What does that entail? Panic. And some other stuff I’ll ramble about right now.

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Borrowed the image from the site listed on it. Click here for the link.

First, if you’re not familiar with Twitter pitch sessions (and you haven’t clicked the link under the picture), you’re probably wondering what PitDark is. It’s a chance for writers of horror/dark fantasy/murder mysteries/anything on the darker side to pitch completed manuscripts to participating agents and publishers. Anything from middle grade to adult is welcome. Basically, you post a Tweet-length pitch with all of the appropriate hashtags (see the website above for that info) up to once an hour per manuscript from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Eastern time) on May 21st and if an agent or publisher hits the little heart button, it’s an invitation to query them if you want to.

Luckily, I’ve finished my revisions of DS1 and also completed a round of edits for consistency and grammar and typos. I’ve just been trying to convince myself to prepare everything I’ll need in order to query agents. What does that include? Most importantly, a query letter that contains a blurb about the book to hook the agent (basically like what you find on the back of books to let you know what they’re about), a brief summary of my publication history, anything unique about me that informs my writing of this particular book, and a brief introduction reminding them if we’ve met or why we might work well together just to show I’ve done my research. Sometimes, that letter and the first few pages (or chapters) of the book are all you need. But some agents also require a synopsis. There’s the standard 1-2 page synopsis that introduces everything, but doesn’t necessarily spoil the ending. Most of the time, that’s enough. However, there’s also the 3-5 page synopsis that gives away everything. Some agents ask for that or both types of synopses. In other words, I have to write all of these things PLUS a Tweet-length pitch if I want to participate in PitDark and be ready to submit to someone if they like my pitch.

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And that’s not all. I also need to research agents. This I can do as I go along or after PitDark is over in the event that I don’t get a bite. The list of participating agents on the PitDark website is a good place for me to start. I can look at their preferences and see if we might be a good fit, then query them if they’re accepting unsolicited queries. I can also look at other agents within the bigger agencies to see if I can find a better fit. Some agencies have the policy that a no from one agent is a no from them all. Other agencies allow you to query multiple agents (one at a time of course). So, it’s good to find agents who are looking for work similar to your own instead of randomly querying everyone. I have a list of 101 agents from when I queried for G&G, but most of them wouldn’t be interested in DS1. However, I can use my list as another starting point because I listed the agencies they were with as well, so I can look at other agents in each agency. Otherwise, there’s always Google and checking to see who reps authors of similar works and a million other sources it would take too long to list.

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Anyway, my next few days will consist of writing a query letter and two synopses. If you notice my Twitter feed spammed with hourly pitches on the 21st, now you’ll know why. I’m not crazy, I’m just searching for an agent. As always, feel free to post your thoughts or comments or advice or good vibes or whatever here or on my social media pages!

34 Random Things About Me

Howdy, howdy!  On Sunday, I turned 34.  It was a nice, quiet day.  Dad took me out for Thai food, which was super yummy.  It’s a place we used to go to pretty often called Tukta Thai over on the corner of Walnut Hill and Plano Road.  We still have no idea why we stopped going other than it being a bit of a drive.  I’ll have to review the place next time we go (if I can remember to make Dad take pictures).  Anyway, since I have nothing new to ramble about, I thought I would make a list of 34 random facts about me that you may or may not already know.

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1. In case you haven’t guessed by the January 12th birthday, I’m a Capricorn.

2. Just about every morning, I call my dog random names to see what she’s answering to in that particular 5 minutes, because she refuses to learn her name. Or any name.

3. I love garlic. What’s the point of eating something if there’s no garlic in it?

4. I’m a slush reader for PseudoPod.

5. If I have to choose between vanilla and chocolate ice cream, I’ll usually choose vanilla. Unless it’s Ghirardelli or Talenti, then chocolate please. Or just give me coffee ice cream. Now, I want ice cream.

6. I watched The Witcher and never got the song stuck in my head. I can’t even remember the tune.  Does that make me a psychopath?

7. I think Madonna is overrated.

8. I haven’t watched a single episode of Game of Thrones, nor have I read any of the books.

9. I like fake grape flavor.

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10. Sailor Saturn is the best Sailor Senshi and nothing you say will change my mind.

11. Anime taught me that main characters don’t have to be likeable for the story to be good.  Yeah.  I’m looking at you, Shinji and Eren.

12. I love bats and octopuses.  And snakes.  And wombats.  Animals.  I like them.

13. Mermaids, sirens, and selkies are among my favorite mythical creatures.

14. I’m so bad at remembering to write letters that one of my friends routinely sends me stationery type stuff to remind me to write to her.  I currently have one of the blank cards she sent me for my birthday sitting in front of me waiting to be filled out.  It’s been there since Friday.  I’m a horrible friend.

15. I told Dad I was going to crochet a bag of dicks for him if he didn’t stop being one, so he brought out the “dick warmer” he got as a gift a long time ago.  Needless to say, I now have an old crocheted penis on display in my room.

16. My CD collection has been sitting on my desk for over a year since my old stereo died. I keep forgetting to transfer them to my computer.

17. I have been in every state straight up from Texas and to the east.  Now, we just have to conquer the west.

18. When people ask if I’ve been out of the country, it takes me a minute to remember that Canada counts and I have been there.

19. I used to cross-stitch before my hands decided to be stupid.  Which is probably why I enjoy crocheting.  It’s a completely different experience, but I get to buy pretty yarn, which is basically the same as buying pretty thread.

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20. As much as I miss video games, I’m kind of glad I stopped being able to play before you had to start buying in-game upgrades and subscriptions and all that crap.  I’m poor enough as it is.

21. I could never be a vegan because cheese.  Meat too, but mostly cheese.

22. I like Pepsi better than Coke.  Unless it’s Mexican, then Coke is better.

23. My acquaintances post these “picky eater” test things on Facebook and I really have no idea how some of them survive.  Like, what do you eat?  You can’t survive on air and cookies.

24. I’ll taste just about anything once.  I’m not picky.  Even if I know I don’t like it, but haven’t tasted it in years, I’ll try it again.

25. I don’t like sweet pickles.  Doesn’t matter how many times I taste them.  Blargh.  But I love dill pickles.

26. My favorite season is summer.  I like heat, though I admit as I get older, 85-90 is warm enough.

27. Anything besides cheese pizza (and maybe sausage or pepperoni) is an open-face sandwich. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

28. I’ve had to read “Hills like White Elephants” by Hemingway so many times I’ve lost count.  The last teacher who assigned it actually looked supremely disappointed when he asked what it was really about and I automatically answered abortion.  He was kind of a dick anyway, so I didn’t mind bursting his smug bubble when he just knew no one would know what it was about.

29. I love boxes and baskets.  I have no use for them, but I love them.

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My bat’leth and other things.

30. I collect blades and whips.

31. In one of my fiction writing classes at SMU, no one knew what an asshat was.  I understood the teacher not knowing, but none of my classmates had heard it either.  I fixed that.

32. Aside from weapons, my room also contains an eclectic mix of stuffed animals, skulls, Barbie dolls, and signed posters among other things.

33. I like Panera’s frozen coffees, but find their hot (read that as lukewarm) drinks extremely disappointing.

34. It took me a ridiculously long time to write this because I suck at talking about myself.

There you go. Thirty-four random things about me.  Feel free to share your thoughts or comments or lists about yourself here or on my social media pages!

Self-Imposed Deadlines: Do They Work?

Hello, hello!  How did your first week of 2020 go?  Were you as productive as you wanted to be?  My week has been pretty good.  I made a revision schedule for DS1 and came up with two deadlines (the ideal one versus the actual one).  I’ll share them with you along with my thoughts on self-imposed deadlines in a moment, but first I wanted to say that I’m ahead of schedule and (so far) sticking to the goals necessary to complete the revisions ahead of my ideal schedule.  I’m not crocheting as much as I want, but I’ll eventually find a balance.  Anyway, the year has been good and productive thus far!  Huzzah!

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Go me! I’m not above celebrating myself.

So, like I said, I made a revision schedule for DS1. If I revise a 1,000-word chunk four days a week, I will be able to finish the second draft of this novel (draft one was 66,100ish words) by April 30th. That’s my actual goal.  It’s realistic and easily doable even if I fall a little behind.  Why only four days a week?  Because Sunday is shower day, which is an all day thing; Tuesday (or sometimes Monday) is blog writing day, which I usually don’t feel like do anything productive afterwards; and one day a week for doctor’s appointments, errands, crocheting, or just me time.  I think that’s a reasonable schedule at this point.  However, if I continue with the same basic schedule, just with revising 1,500-word chunks, my finish date becomes March 20th (my ideal deadline).  So far, I’m keeping up with the latter date, plus I already had about 2,000 words revised that held up well under scrutiny, so I’m ahead of the March 20th deadline by about a day.

I realize that these are self-imposed deadlines, which a lot of people think are useless.  There aren’t any real consequences if I miss them, so are they really that helpful?  For me, the answer is yes and no.  Let’s tackle the no first.  The efficacy of self-imposed deadlines really depends on my mood.  If I’m feeling depressed and unmotivated and all of that, a self-imposed deadline means absolutely nothing to me.  All it does is make me feel worse because I let myself down.  You give me a deadline for a paying job or if I’m taking a class or something and I’ll get everything done a day early come Hell or high water.  But a self-imposed deadline doesn’t offer me the same kind of motivation.

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Accurate.

If that’s the case, then how are self-imposed deadlines helpful to me?  Because they remind me that I have my own pace.  That I know my own abilities.  In a couple of weeks, when I’m looking at my revisions and upset that I’m not closer to the end, I will be able to look at my deadlines and remind myself that I’m on track according to my own abilities.  I’m not capable of writing 5,000 words in one sitting.  I can’t fully revise 6,500 words in one day.  Other people can.  I’m not them.  And having those self-imposed deadlines reminds me that I have a plan, that I made this plan for a reason and it’s catered to my own abilities.  It helps me from getting too discouraged.

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I think.

What are your thoughts on self-imposed deadlines?  Are they helpful to you?  Do you stick with them?  As usual, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!

Happy 2020!

Howdy, howdy!  Welcome to 2020!  I hope you all have a wonderful year and even better decade!  The 2010s were a weird decade for me.  My mother passed away (don’t be sorry, I’m not), I finished my BA at SMU, got my MFA from Stonecoast, got published a couple of times, earned a LOT of rejections, lost some pups, got a new one, and the list goes on.  Ultimately, it seems like there were more ups than downs, and that’s all one can really hope for.  It’s all I want out of 2020 as well, both the year and the decade.  Anyway, since it’s the 1st, I’m just going to list my goals for the year.  I suppose I should have some kind of 10 year plan, but I don’t.  I never think that far ahead, at least not seriously.  So, you’re stuck with my plan for the year like usual.

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My 2020 goals in no particular order:

1. Finish revising DS1.  I plan on getting back to this today.  The only major change I’m looking at making is changing the tense of the story from past to present because it just reads better that way.  This goal is my priority for this year.  Hopefully, it will only take me a few months.  After I look at it, I’ll set a realistic deadline and share it with people who can hold me accountable.

2. Read 30 books.  I’ll definitely read 12 new/recently released books for the monthly book reviews (yeah, that’s still going to be a thing).  That leaves 18 books.  I’m planning on 8-10 of those being books from my “to re-read” list and the rest being books that are new to me, but not necessarily new.  At least that’s the plan.  We’ll see how it goes.

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Maybe I will start with Harry Potter. After I read some books my secret Santa sent me for the Pseudopod book exchange.

3. Keep submitting.  This will be my third year of consistent submissions.  At least two stories every week (or the equivalent if I get sick and miss some weeks like last year).  I’ve gotten about 210 rejections for my short stories since I started keeping track in 2014, plus 101 rejections from agents for G&G, so I’d say I’m doing pretty well.  The few acceptances I’ve earned make it not so discouraging.  All of my acceptances so far have been for semi-pro level payment and I’ve received positive feedback on rejections from pro level markets, so hopefully 2020 will be the year of my first pro level acceptance.  A girl can wish, right?

4. Query 100 agents (or fewer if I find one).  Once I finish the revisions to DS1, the plan is to query agents.  It’s drastically different from G&G, so I’ll have to go through the process of finding agents with a taste for this particular genre.  But at least this time I’ll have had some experience and know where to start my search.  I dread writing the query letter, though.  It’s harder to write than a novel.

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Except I’m not a lady and I have no stash yet, but one day it will be glorious.

5. Crochet.  Yes, my new hobby is still a thing.  I’m getting pretty far along with my first project (the unfinished hat doesn’t count).  And I already have like 10 free patterns saved to try and 20 paid patterns in my favorites on Ravelry to buy when/if I decide to do them.  But it’s just a hobby and will have to be done after my writing and revising each day.  At least that’s what I keep telling myself.  I’ll make it work.  Eventually.

Those are my goals for the year.  I’ll add new writing goals once I finish my revisions.  And I’m not even going to say anything about trying to be more social because we all know it’s not going to happen.  What about your goals?  Any plans you want to share for your 2020?  As always, feel free to share your thoughts and comments here or on my social media pages!