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\ Writers’ Holidays and Year’s End

NaNoWriMo SWinner Badge won_earned

The annual writers’ holidays have begun. Thanksgiving and Black Friday, as always, divided November into days of humming along nicely on NaNoWriMo projects and those days of panicked scrambling to finish a planned novel by the end of the month. Turkey Day sneaks up on writers much of the time, due to the writing frenzy.

curated-stock-photos-v2-011-004Once that frenzy ends in success or a learning exercise, eyes and minds look ahead to tree trimming, Christmas carols, egg nog, and gift wrapping. Between those activities are the actual shopping trips, decision-making sessions on when guests are coming to town, where everyone will sleep, and who’s cooking what for the groaning board.

curated-stock-photos-v2-011-009Let’s face it. From Thanksgiving past New Year’s Day come a series of weeks that many writers might want to ignore or run from. Others revel in the idea of having the perfect excuse to turn off the creative brain and the computer in favor of diving into festivities that have nothing to do with writing. Regardless of which camp you’ve joined this year, preparations are being made on the editorial calendars of editors and writers everywhere.

The end of the year marks a point of reviewing accomplishments. Questions are asked. Did I get the projects done that I really wanted to? Did I expand my market reach? Could I have submitted more fiction or articles? The list can get really long.

Analysis

I decided to go through my list here. Otherwise, I probably won’t get to it.

  1. Did I accomplish the fiction projects I wanted to? No. I didn’t get Dreamie’s Box revised and edited. I now must wrangle with it in December. I also didn’t get another chapbook done and published on Kindle or get the cookbook done.
  2. Was I satisfied with what I did accomplish? Yes. I enjoyed my chapbooks that went onto Kindle and I really like the first volume of Wisher’s World.
  3. Are projects going as quickly as I’d anticipated? No, definitely not. I feel like I’m wading in thick mud most of the time, which encourages me to feel like I’m fighting a constant battle.
  4. Did I accomplish all of the article writing and submissions that I’d planned? Yes. I got out all planned articles and continue to contribute three pieces each month to Working Writers Club.
  5. Have I expanded my horizons with either fiction or non-fiction? Yes. I now have several fiction projects to revise and edit in the coming months—novella/novel length, plus short stories for magazine/competition submission. I’ve also gathered a long list of new magazine and journal markets, plus small presses.
  6. Have I developed my 2016 Editorial Calendar properly? No, not yet. I still have to go through the new markets (with their guidelines) and flag those I have material for already and those that require major pitches.
  7. Have I gathered all of the new tools I will need for the next year and begun the learning curve? Yes, I’ve gathered, but I have barely scratched the surface of that learning process.

5b6-052714-akpNow, I can move on to prepping for any holiday activity that needs it and take care of obligations for the month.

I have one assignment done already—I whipped it out during NaNo. I have two planned articles to write before Monday. I have titles and outlines for them. The same goes for all the articles due through April. My calendar will help me fill in the rest for 2016.

Fiction is something else. Again this year, I’ll concentrate on what I already have on the hard drive. That alone will keep me busy for the year. I will also work on more poetry in coming months. I’m planning two revision jobs per month—a long and a short, plus a poetry chapbook every other month. Some will go to Kindle, while others go to publishers. I plan on doing at least one extra article per week as well.

curated-stock-photos-v2-011-019We’ll see how that goes. I’ve already decided to plan relaxation time and a fluid enough calendar to allow for spontaneous relaxation, like daytrips. And there you have it.

That’s my current plan. What’s yours? Have you decided how you’re going to work for the next year? Have you looked back at where you’ve been and how you traveled the road from there to where you are now?

Drop a comment below and share with the rest of us. Until next time, have a fantastic rest of the week. I’ll be back.

At Home with Prepping

 

5b6-052714-akp

A while back I talked about what I planned to do this year with regards to writing. Last time around I showed everyone what I’d done with a piece of micro fiction. And there things have stayed.

This time, though, I’m reporting what’s been going on for the past two weeks. I’ve been prepping for a big push. I’ve been pulling out stories, flash fiction, memoir pieces, poetry, etc. for the sake of getting the best revised and submitted.

Some of what’s been brought back to light will go into short chapbooks for release on Kindle. I have some surprises there. Some are stories which will be submitted to journals or publishing houses for anthologies that have deadline dates. And some will be piled into full length efforts for publication.

Castle Fantasy BackdropAlong the way I also did some serious research into setting aspects for one episodic fantasy series, as well as a few things that will deepen the mystery I’m finishing.

As you can see, I’ve not been idle, though I haven’t been around here to keep everyone company. I study my coursework, do a bit of research, and find time for my critique group and my write-in group and the meetings that go along with those. I’m also taking the time to play on the weekends now.

Play is such a vital piece of a healthier lifestyle. That’s what I needed and what I’m working toward. I have plenty of work to Happy Girl Making A Wish And Making Bubbleskeep me occupied, without having to create any more. My focus is now on finishing and shopping the writing I’ve already got underway.

If I keep harping on marketing from time to time, it’s because I’ll be hip-deep in it every week. If I write about editing and what a write can learn by tearing apart a paragraph and rebuilding it, it’s because my time is spent doing that each day. A case in point—I’m doing a full rewrite and edit of my mystery “Dreamie’s Box” at the moment. I should have it finished completely by the end of February so that it can go to the copywriter and then the formatter.

What I’ve found, though, during this editing process, is that a third of what I wrote for the first draft and its progeny is now in the recycle bin. Why? Because anytime you can trash a complete chapter and not miss any of it in the next reading, tells me that it wasn’t necessary in the first place. And that’s what’s happened. So far, I’ve chucked four full chapters and the majority of two others. Even my critique group—who’ve been through the whole process with me—can’t tell what’s missing.

That, my friends, constitutes a major success in my book—literally.

Now you know what’s been keeping me away and up to my eyeballs during the day. Evenings I’m taking for my own, as well as the weekends. Life’s too short to do it any other way. At least for me.

Take the time to evaluate your own situation. Have you given yourself permission to enjoy your life as well as the things with which you fill it? Do you give yourself time and opportunity to laugh with friends and family and care about the time you devote to them? And do you come back to your vocation/avocation with recharged batteries and a positive attitude?

Let me know. Tell me about it. We all have the same opportunities to screw up. Why keep them to yourselves and feel guilty about them. Hang ‘em on the clothesline and air them out. They always smell fresher after a good airing.

‘Til next week, create something no one else has ever done and enjoy.