…and that makes you follow through with it?
My life is littered with half-finished projects. Scarves that are partially crocheted, needlework still on the hoop, a library only halfway cataloged, diet plans abandoned. And then there are my novels, the things I’ve sweated blood over, that are all in a perpetual state of work-in-progress or still-editing or please-don’t-ask-me,-I’m-too-ashamed-to-say-I-haven’t-worked-on-it.
As part of my non-resolution to “be a better person” this year, I’m setting goals for myself as a writer, hoping that they will help me think positively and stay on track. Too often, I get off track and then beat myself up over it. No more of that, says New 2012 Me.
To that end, here are my three major projects and the goals I’m setting:
YA Novel 1: My contemporary YA novel (2008) and its unfinished sequel (2009), which are now being combined into one book. The first book has been transferred into Scrivener, and I’ve been tinkering with it on and off for several years. I got discouraged with the rewriting process, probably because I didn’t really know what I was doing, and so I didn’t work on it as diligently as I should. Then, several months ago, I had a small epiphany about the timeline of the story and decided to incorporate major plot points from the sequel into the first book. This change will up the stakes and tension, and I think it puts the novel firmly in the coming-of-age category. I’m in the process of importing those sections into Scrivener and rearranging the outline. That project was put on hold while I wrote my adult novel, but I’m now very anxious to see how it looks when it’s all put together.
New draft into readers’ hands: January 31, 2012
Query-able draft ready: April 1, 2012
(And you know what? If it turns out that I still can’t get a query-ready draft out of this thing, I’ll put it in a freaking drawer.)
Adult Novel 1: My most recently finished work from NaNoWriMo 2011. Right now, the rough draft is in the hands of four readers. I’ve received feedback from one so far (thanks Kristen!), and it was very positive. I know I have a lot of work to do fleshing the book out, but my reader thinks it’s got great commercial potential. I agree with her (by the way, positive thinking is one of my goals for this year!). I haven’t begun rewriting in earnest yet, but I am ruminating a lot on what I’d like to add while the feedback rolls in.
New draft into readers’ hands: February 29, 2012
Query-able draft ready: June 1, 2012
YA Novel 2: My semi-paranormal contemporary YA novel, begun in 2010 and currently on hiatus. I still really love this concept, but I am determined to finish decent drafts of my other two books before diving into this one again. My goal is to start work on it again mid-year.
First draft into readers’ hands: December 31, 2012
Query-able draft ready: TBA
I don’t know whether these goals are too ambitious, not ambitious enough, or what. I’m still very much a novice when it comes to these kinds of things. I don’t want to send a complete load of crap to agents, but I also don’t want my manuscripts to languish on my computer for years and years while I debate whether to change a sentence or not.
The other reason I’m setting these goals is that I want to be ready for the Writers’ League of Texas Agents Conference at the end of June. I’m determined to go this year, and I’ll have pitches and samples and business cards and everything. Until then, I’m focusing on networking and learning as much as possible about agents and publishing options. I’ll be attending book clubs and meet-ups and write-ins. I’ll even be presenting a moderated talk about YA Fiction through my writing program. More on that to come, when the details are ironed out.
Sticking to these deadlines will be hard. There are any number of roadblocks in my path. I have a full-time job, a husband, friends and family, and other hobbies. I’m also a pathological procrastinator (is that a thing? I think it’s a thing). Like many other writers, I suffer from anxiety and depression (mild, thank God), and while it’s getting better, it’s never really gone. My roadblocks are certainly not unique, but they are mine.
But like so many of the writers I admire, I will push past those hurdles. When I fall, I’ll pick myself up and limp along with a bloody knee until the next obstacle in my path.
And please, in a few days or weeks or months, ask me how my book is coming along. I promise not to bite.*