Writing life

Goal Check-in

Christmas is barely past, the New Year is just around the corner, and it’s time for me (and lots of other people) to think about the goals I set in ’09, how well I did (or didn’t) do with them, and where I want to focus in 2010. To be quite honest, my mind’s all for it, but my body’s still pretty tired from all the feasting and celebrating. But I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Some of my writing goals in 2009 included:

  • Finish the manuscript I’d been researching and playing with for a few months.
  • Enter at least 2 or 3 contests.
  • Attend 1 or 2 writers’ conferences.
  • Get back on track promoting my speaking ministry.

So how’d I do?

  • I didn’t finish the manuscript, but am still working on it. I still love the story and it won’t leave me alone, so I’m taking that as a good sign. 🙂 I decided to rewrite the beginning and change one of the subplots, so making those changes has taken some time. I’m almost caught up again, though, so am ready for the story to keep moving on. Didn’t meet the goal I’d set, but at least I’m still working on it.
  • I entered 3 contests, plus paid for a critique through a conference. That was a big step for me because I’d only entered 1 contest in ’07and 1 in ’08. I didn’t final in any this year, but got some good comments and (even sweeter) got some real encouragement from some judges. The author who critiqued my conference submission was incredibly encouraging so that was another big boost, but she also gave me some great pointers for  making things even better. So — a checkmark for that goal.
  • I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May — a great time and wonderful experience! No matter how great books or online classes or crit groups or other resources might be, nothing beats going to a conference. Then my local writers group hosted a conference in July with Dr. Dennis Hensley as our speaker. More great classes and I loved having the chance to meet Dennis. He’s a fantastic teacher, mentor, and all-around great guy. Yay — another goal checkmark.
  • Promotion for my speaking ministry this year was close to nil. Sigh. I love to speak, but just haven’t felt God pointing me in that direction lately. Toward the end of last year I went through a period of feeling like it was time to decide whether I’m a writer who also speaks or a speaker who also writes. After lots of prayer and mulling things over, I felt God turning me to focus more on writing. I realize that speaking and writing usually go hand in hand, and I’m fine with that. But right now I’m mostly focusing on the writing. I’m not sure what 2010 will hold for me in that regard.

Of course, actually, I don’t know what 2010 will hold for me in any of these areas. And to tell the truth, as much as I might like to plan things, I’m glad I’m not the one who’s really in charge of everything in my life. Yes, Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses (For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope). I just want to keep my head and heart focused on God and will let Him handle the rest. How about you?

Writing life

Confession & Celebration

They (whoever ‘they’ might be) say confession is good for the soul, so here’s my stab at it for the moment.

I keep whacking the snooze button or — even worse — turning off the alarm altogether instead of getting up super early to work on my novel. Not every morning at least, but more than I should be and more than I want. So what’s a non-morning girl to do? Get up and do it anyway! I have a tendency to want to write the story straight through so if I get a bit hung up with a scene it can throw me off for a couple of days until I know the direction to go. Not good, considering I’d like to be MUCH further along with my draft when I go to the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference in May. I’m going to work on it a bit more tonight and force myself to get in some writing time before the rest of the family rolls out of bed in the morning.

Hmmm … that sounds like I’m forcing myself to write, which I’m not. I’m forcing myself to get up and do it so early. But I love starting the day with prayer and writing time, so need to remember that when the alarm squawks at 3:45. And yes, that’s AM, not PM. 🙂

OK, I feel better now, so on to the celebration. The same novel I’m having trouble working on so early in the morning actually has almost 24,000 words down! Woo hoo! That’s huge for me, especially considering that the most I’ve ever written on a story before is maybe 10 or 11k, tops. The scary part is I started out thinking I was shooting for about 75k. Considering where I am in the story and how much more I want to include, I can already see that I’ll pass right by 75k (someday!). Who would’ve thought?! I need to change the little word count bar in the margin even though my ‘percent complete’ is about to bottom out. Oh well, it’s gotta happen sometime so it might as well be now.

Maybe if I pat myself on the back hard enough it’ll knock me out of bed in the morning and get me going. Ya think?