So in my last post I talked quite a bit about the things I wanted to accomplish. But the big question is how am I going to accomplish those things.
Having a goal is great – but having a plan is better. Here is a list of the big things I want to accomplish this year, and how I plan to do them.
Finish Novel Rough Draft
The first part of this is done – and that was finding the best way to physically write my novel. I used to be a hand writer. I wrote EVERYTHING by hand before I typed it. Essays, short stories, novel drafts (for the few novels that I started and inevitably scrapped), even some emails. Needless to say – it hurt. Plus, I just couldn’t write for long periods of time, and on the other side of that coin it took longer to write anything because I had to write the same things twice. But, the problem with typing is….what program do I use? There are SO MANY different types of writing software out there. I tried a very popular novel writing software and found that it was just too overwhelming. There were too many things to look at at once, too many options, and it was just too busy. My outlining methods are simple, and my stories are simple – I don’t have a ton of plot lines and hundreds of characters to keep track of. I didn’t need all that fluff. But…something like Microsoft Word was way too simple. Great for the actual act of writing, but I don’t like having to keep all my notes in one file, my story in another, maybe separate chapters in separate files. I didn’t like it. Eventually I landed on dabblewriter (NOT A SPONSORED POST), and I love it. Just enough outlining options with scene cards, but when you’re in the writing groove, all of that stuff literally fades away, and all you see is what you’re writing. It’s great. I’m loving it so far.
The next part of finishing this goal is…actually writing. I think I’ve talked about this before, but I used to only write when I had “time to”. Now I write literally whenever I can jot down a few words. It. ALL. Counts. Watching a movie with my S/O? No, I probably won’t write. Watching some trashy reality TV show, where I’m either only watching it for the noise, or because I want to know who gets eliminated at the end? Yeah, I can probably have my laptop on my lap and write a paragraph or two. I’m also setting a word goal. Keeping it small with 50,000 words. That’s the average word count for a middle grade novel. Mine is somewhere between middle grade and YA so for now, that’s a good first draft goal. From there I can really figure out if it is middle grade or YA and I can add stuff in draft #2.
2. Publish SOMETHING
I have a couple of publishing credits, but not a ton, and the gap between them is…well…large. They came more frequently when I had given up on the idea of writing a novel and focused only on my short story writing, but now that I’m working on a project that I LOVE, my short story writing, and therefore my publishing frequency has gone off the wayside. I struggled all through 2018 with this. Do I take a month off my main project to write and try to publish a short story? Do I devote half the year to short stories, the other half to my novel? As a writer with a day job, I already don’t have a ton of time to write…so picking a priority project is hard. BUT. I’ve figured out a plan for this year.
Every month you get a prompt and a deadline to write and post your story to the site. From there, other writers can give you feedback, and you are also required to give feedback to other writers. This gives me a prompt to work with (which saves me some time trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to write about) as well as a deadline! PLUS it will get me connected with other people who write, AND lets me get some editing feedback for a quicker final version. I don’t think I can publish 12 stories this year…but at least I’ll have some finished stories that I can submit throughout the year. We’ll see where that takes me.
3. Have a web presence
I’ve done really well at keeping up with this blog…I need to do better at my personal one. I just need to figure out my posting schedule and set myself some hard deadlines and then things will fall into place.
I’m also going to try to be active in the Horror Writers Association. I’m going to try to actually be a member, and then chat with other horror writers and get some networking started.
Web presence will also include things like Facebook and Instagram, things that I’ve created but haven’t done a great job of keeping up on. I’ve already done my first Instagram writing challenge so check that out! I’m bgstrong on Instagram and I’m working my way through this challenge:
4. Read with Purpose
First off, I’m also going to read for fun. As a librarian I think I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t allow myself to just read things that I will enjoy reading, but I also want to take the time to read some things that will help me be a better writer. This includes books about writing, books on the genres that I write in (horror mostly) and also reading classics as well as hot reads in those genres to give myself not just a historical perspective, but to see what’s popular now, and where writing is going, as well as how I can set myself apart from other writers in the genre. This should help inspire some posts on my personal blog as well. Wanna know what I’m reading? Find me on Goodreads.
Okay. Those are the big ones. Now you all can keep me accountable.
What are some of your goals and how will you accomplish them this year?