New Year’s Resolutions: Dusting off my shelved manuscripts

As January firmly establishes itself, this might seem a bit late for a resolutions post, but I always planned to take January off from writing and relax some, so you haven’t missed anything.

For me, this is going to be a year of reading, revision, and reflection.

Blogging/Vlogging

I’ve got such a lovely streak going here, I’d hate to break it. So, I’ll continue putting out a new blog/vlog every Thursday on writing tips or writerly musings.

When I have them lined up, I’ll be sharing Author Spotlights or Query Corners on Tuesdays.

Plus, I’m contemplating maybe a picture post on the weekends. I’m debating if Saturday or Sunday is better. Suggestions?

Reading

They say one can’t be a writer without reading. And, finding out what’s new and good in your genre is research, right? Although, that doesn’t mean I won’t do plenty of ‘for fun’ reading.

My goal is to read 26 books this year, one every other week on average. (Although, I tend to read in binges.) I’m looking at taking breaks from writing to focus on downtime and reading in January, MarchMay, and July. And I hope that planning intentional breaks will help fight the feeling of being on a never-ending treadmill, where I fail if I let myself take a break.

So far? I’ve read a couple romances and all 4 books in Charlie Holmberg’s The Paper Magician series. I think I’m off to a good start.

Revising

I’m sitting on a backlog of 4 manuscripts in various states — mostly collecting dust. It’s time to fix that.

I got some great feedback from a critique partner back in November for Manuscript #1 (a secondary world young adult fantasy), but it was kind of a bitter pill to swallow. I have been brainstorming and messaging with the critiquer on ways to fix it. But I took December and January off, partially sulking, partially trying to figure out how to solve the issues mentioned. I’m going to let the ideas percolate a bit more and plan to hold off until February before implementing my fixes.

Then, in April, I’m going to pull out MS #2 — the sequel to MS #1.

In June, I’m going to pull out either MS #3 (my gender-bent Robin Hood) or MS #4 (my middle-grade contemporary fantasy, where the more you connect with what you read, the more your world shifts to be like it… physically!)

Querying

Once MS #1 has been revised, again, I’m marching into the query trenches once more.

Starting in March, I intend to send out 3 queries a week for 4 months, unless I get an R&R. If it goes no where, I’ll contemplate edits in August.

Beta Readers

I’ll be reaching out to beta readers as I wrap up my revisions on MS #2 (May) and MS #3 or #4(July).  Readers for MS #2 will, by necessity, be people who have beta read or critiqued MS #1, but for the others, I’m open to a small pool of new readers.

I like to keep my beta reader pool to no more than 8 readers, typically from different backgrounds. I usually give them separate copies, so that their feedback won’t influence each other.

If my Alpha reader’s schedule permits, I’ll send my manuscripts to her for quick feedback, but otherwise, these may just go straight to my beta readers.

In August and September, I’ve blocked time to incorporate the feedback — at least for MS #2. And perhaps, some updates for MS #1 (either as query feedback suggests, or to better set up MS #2’s plotting).

Conventions

I intend to hit Balticon again (May) and WorldCon (August) in Dublin (!!). I submitted to be a panelist at Balticon… but after they’d already started sending out panel invites, so I may have been too late there. We’ll see. (Keep your fingers crossed!)

Writing

Hmmm, there’s very little actual writing on this project plan, but sometimes, that’s how the cookie crumbles. Besides, I’ve been assured that editing and revising and brainstorming ARE part of the writing process.

Plus? I don’t have a big idea pushing on me right now.

That said, I intend to do OctPoWriMo again — writing a poem a day for all of October. And then NaNoWriMo.

If I don’t have an idea by then, I’ll do a rebel NaNo and revise whichever manuscript hasn’t been touched.


And that’s my plan for the year. If you got a little lost, here’s the plan in chart form.

I’ll be focusing on reading every other month until the last quarter, revising most of my backlog, querying, a couple conventions, and a bit of writing.


What does your plan look like for 2019?

Did you build in flexibility?

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Blogger Achievement Unlocked

Today is a momentous day for me:

I just hit 500 followers!

I (literally) couldn’t have done it without you!

Let me know who you are!

Introduce yourselves and answer the important question: if you could have any pet in the world (with no allergies or issues feeding them) what would it be?

Didn’t I Used To Be An Extrovert?

The past couple of years, I’ve noticed a trend–in myself. I’ve been wanting to stay home and not deal with going out. I’ve been not wanting to host big, complicated events, and it was usually okay if people came to me. Although, lately, I’ve been craving smaller and smaller groups. Of worse? Wanting to stay home, on my couch, alone.

But wait, I thought I was an extrovert. Was I was wrong? My entire identity has fallen into crisis!

  • Maybe I was never an extrovert and was always an ambivert?
    • That’s definitely what I consider myself now.
  • Maybe my extroverted-ness was influenced by my nearest and dearest?
    • Thank you, exes.
  • Maybe it was my age?
    • Do extroverts get less extroverted when they get older?
  • Maybe, I’m more into my writing and don’t have the energy anymore?
    • My new ‘hobby’ might be taking the energy extroverting used to.
  • Maybe, I’m simply overscheduled
    • If I just made time to rest, surely I’d be back to normal in a week or so and craving socialization.

And then, a couple weeks ago, it dawned on me, like a person remembering to turn their sound back on after they miss a couple text messages: Social. Media. Is. SOCIAL.

Let me say that again. Social Media Is Social.

Okay, I know, many of you are rolling your eyes at the obviousness of this statement.

But wait, the internet is supposed to be a ‘cheater’ way for introverts to reach out without depleting their energy, right?

Apparently, it depends on how you do it. And how much social media you take part in.

You’d think the blogger who literally wrote the (or at least ‘a’) series on social media (See parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5a, 5, 6) might have noticed sooner, but no.

When one tries to continually network and keep up with all the recommended social media best practices, one can stretch themselves a little too thinly. Who knew?

Now, my loyal readers, I’m sure you’re starting to fear this is about to turn into a social media hiatus or blog-cation. Calm thyselves, I’m far more of an addict than that.

But, next time I turn down an invitation to go out, I’ll know who to blame.


Readers, talk to me!

Am I the only one? Or do you find yourself peopled out because of the internet?

Blog Round-Up

This month, I’ve been all over the place! Not just on my blog and Youtube channel.

pale hands pointing at a spot on a map, near a coast.

Photo by Studio 7042 on Pexels.com

Where Else Can You Find Me?

And here are some links I’ve been reading and saving (some, for MONTHS!)

Other People’s Stuff!

What I Love Most About Being a Writer

Sometimes, when you’re stuck at some writing stage for too long, it can be hard to remember why you started this thing in the first place. Whether you’re drafting, editing, revising, querying, submitting, or marketing, there’s likely some point where you feel like you’re never going to reach the next stage.
Me? I’m currently stuck in the [Query -> Get Feedback -> Revise -> Get Beta Feedback -> Edit -> Send More Queries] loop. And have been, on and off, for nearly 3 years.
It can be really disheartening.
Fortunately, I keep getting small tastes–little reminders–of just why I do this.

Here are 10 things I love most about being a writer:

1 – Exploring new worlds!

Whether it’s a ‘what-if’ scenario in my head, or filling in the details from some hardly remembered dream, creating a world, exploring it, and finding out how it works is something I find FASCINATING.

2 – Meeting New Characters

I am a friendly person. I love getting to know my characters, finding out their hopes and dreams. Being there for them when they face their fears. And? Watching them grow into the person they were always meant to be.

Plus? I like watching jerks get their comeuppance.

3 – Finding out what happens and why!

Often, when I start a story, I know a couple of the key scenes and the broad strokes that make up my characters. It’s not until I’m there with them in the trenches that I find out how they got there and what pushes them on.

Instead of just a highlights reel, I get to see them, every step of the journey.

4 – When you get that turn of phrase. Just. Right.

This is a bit more of a technique related reason, but it’s true.

Sometimes, you have an emotion or a concept that you agonize over conveying to the audience. The phrasing might come on the first try, or 12 tries in, on the fourteenth draft, but when you get it right, you can SEE your readers opting to highlight and share that sucker.

You can see your story connecting with someone who’s been there before and needed to hear it.

5 – Getting to read other writers works early

I’ve opened myself up to the writing community and they’ve welcomed me with open arms.

The more beta reading/critiquing I do, the more I realize just how creative and talented my friends are. And? The more I dream about how awesome it will be when we’re all the big name authors, and we can say “I knew them when…”

6 – Helping my friends fine-tune their novels

The flip side of number 5. This way, I get to watch great manuscripts turn into amazing stories that fly off the shelves. Being there as they learn and grow — and hopefully picking up a few things, myself.

7 – The terrifying hope that comes when an agent asks for more pages

Hope has never been so sharp as when I get that request or send off those pages.

Need I say more?

8 – Having an answer outside of my day-job when people ask me, “so, what do you do?”

I’m in the DC metro area. Asking people, ‘so, what do you do?’ is asked almost before they get your name. But? I hang out with a lot of creatives, and I know that I’m more than just my day-job. I like supporting my friends, consuming webcomics, novels, and art. But? I like being able to contribute something, too. Not just as a consumer.

9 – Seeing how far I’ve come and how much I’ve accomplished

I may not be agented or published yet. But I’ve got one polished novel, two full rough drafts, a WIP, a handful of short stories, some poetry, a blog, and a community that supports me.

All this stuff takes work and dreaming and persistence. It might be ego, but I have to acknowledge to myself that I’m the reason it’s happened.

10 – And my favorite? Serendipity

When I figure out a plot point or background detail that makes everything just come together.


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If you’re a writer, why do you write? What’s your favorite part about writing?

If you’re not a writer, what do you do that fulfills you? What’re your favorite parts?