Friday, July 23, 2010

You have to have a goal. Do you have a goal?

I'm just about breaking my arm from patting myself on the back today. And the reason? I wrote 1000 words today. Now, this normally would not be a huge accomplishment for me. On a good day, I'll knock out 3000 words. But I haven't had many good days lately. In fact, I've barely written a word in six weeks.

I have several reasons (excuses) for this. The primary one is that my kids are home for the summer (seriously, 11 weeks for summer vacation??? Give me the UK system any old day -- 6 weeks!). This is a big problem for me as I am a bit of a prima donna when it comes to my writing time. I need a good hour to faff about before getting my game face on and then I'll write for a solid three or four hours. I cannot do that with the Prince of Dinosaurs and the Drama Queen dancing about. Even sticking a movie on buys me only two hours and that means they're finished just as I'm deep into my zone.

The second is that I'm still querying, which is really breaking me down. I am not patient and I am not an optimist. It is a debilitating process for me.

And the other reason is that I don't have a goal. Strangely enough, it isn't enough that I have an editor ready to cut me a check when I finish my current serial. Without hard dates to work toward, I flounder.

Things have to change.

So here are my goals (because posting them here means I've got witnesses):

  • I am committing to finishing my current serial by August 15.
  • If I finish a second serial by September 1 (and that's a big if), I will use half of that payment to attend a conference this fall.
  • I will get my new WIP underway starting September 1, with the goal of finishing my first draft in November.
This means I need to cut through the paralysis that querying seems to put me in, work out some new writing practices that let me work in less than ideal conditions, and actually start writing again. And I need to get my gameplan together.

So that's where you come in. I'd like to find some crit partners for my new WIP. I know that my first novel suffered for not having the right kind of readers and that is a mistake I will not repeat this time around. So if you or someone you know is interested in forming a new group, please let me know in the comments (or send me an email). This WIP is commercial fiction, although I am comfortable working with writers of other genres. I'm happy to provide some writing samples so we can see if we're suited (obvs, it won't be from the WIP because I haven't written it yet!). I'll be ready to start exchanging chapters in September.

And the next thing, can you recommend some good conferences this fall? Location is not important (I'm in Texas). I'm looking for some exposure to other writers as well as editors and agents, whether through pitch sessions, workshops or informal opportunities. I'm thinking Backspace in NYC in November, but I'm open to any suggestions.

Thanks very much to anyone who can help me out on either of these suggestions. And, bonus points to anyone who can identify which movie my blog post title came from.

And thanks for reading this. I know I've been absent for a while and it feels good to be back.

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