LaShawn’s New Year’s Writing Resolutions for 2008–or rather, for the rest of 2008…

So I’ve been wondering why it’s been so hard for me to get back into the groove of writing. Not that I haven’t been writing…considering all that I’ve been through, I’m quite proud I was able to finish revising my short story. It’s just that I feel aimless, wandering, distracted. I sit down to write but instead, I start to play video games. Websurf. Post in some forums. I don’t get it. I would’ve thought that by now I would be knuckling back down into writing, but I’m not.

Then I realized, the reason why I’m not doing anything is because I haven’t done any planning on my writing since…since September? The last time I set up writing goals was the beginning of 2007. It is now halfway through 2008.

That’s a long time.

Well, better late than never. Let’s look at what I had done in 2007. Let’s see, the first thing I wrote for my 2007 blog was: “I always face the new year with a hint of foreboding. It’s less this year, but it’s there. A full 365…well, okay 362, days that will come. Anything could happen in 2007. Anything at all. Good or bad. It freaks me out, not knowing the unknown…”

Wow. Is there a way to reach into time to smack myself? Sister, you weren’t kidding! And by the way, I hope you like cheese. Lots and lots of cheese…

I went on to wonder: “I should be more optimistic. After all, 2006 was a year full of surprises for our household. Daniel having two febrile seizures, my sister-in-law and my mother getting married, hubbie getting a job. It’s been quite a year. How will 2007 follow that up? Will it be nice and quiet, giving us a chance to adjust to normal life? Or will it be full of pitfalls? Will we wind up living on the streets? Will someone in our family wind up in the hospital? or even die?”

Nice and quiet, my ass.

Actually, I can’t really complain all that much. 2007 was good to us–it just got stressful at times, starting in May when we put a new roof on our house. I did go to the Midwest Writer’s Conference on scholarship; that was a great time. And I potty-trained Daniel, which was a real biggie. It was only in October that things went KABLOOEEY!

So let’s see what I had down for writing goals in 2007:

Willow: Finish rough draft by end of this year. Spend 14 hours or write 2 chapters per week. (With Daniel going to daycare starting this month, my hours should increase.)
Well, that goal got met in July. So hey, I just realized it’s been a full year since I finished writing Willow. Huh.

Short stories/Essays/Poetry: Write six stories, five essays, three poems and submit them. Spend at least 10 hours on 2 other works (short story/poem/essay).
Let’s see: Looking back for the year, I wrote 8 short stories, 1 poem and 3 essays. Out of the stories, three got submitted: “Crimson” was the only one to get published. I have two stories out making their rounds to publishers (one is actually submitted to the Writers of the Future contest, but that won’t count for 2007). I just finished polishing “She’s All Light” and hopefully, that will be going out soon. The others are waiting to be polished.

All 3 essays got published, though one of them was more of a newsletter article for MOPS. And I haven’t done any poetry revisions, so I have not submitted any poems.

Critiques:Do 2 critiques per month for my email writing lists.
Yeah. That didn’t happen.

Contests: Enter at least 1 entry-fee contest and 3 non-entry fee.
Hmm, trying to remember. I did enter a story into the Speculative Christmas contest that had an entry fee of $5, so that counts for the paid. I also submitted a story for the Verb’s “Here’s Looking at You” contest. I can’t remember any other contests, though.

Craft: Take at least one class in writing. Go to two workshops, one free, one paid. There’s an Indiana workshop that I can try getting into for free (that can be part of the contest goal). There’s also the Midwest Literary Festival. I want to save money to go to the full-day seminar they have the day before. There should also be free workshops at Schaumburg library.
I didn’t make it to the Midwest Literary Festival, but I did go to the Midwest Writers Workshop. As far as classes go, I didn’t get around to it. But that’s okay. What I learned at the MWW made up for it. Wait…the scholarship! I wrote that the scholarship did count towards the contest. So that makes 2 non-entry fee contests I entered. And I did win the scholarship (though it never got published…wait, what am I talking about? It was a small excerpt of Crowntree. It did get published! Score!)

Consider going to a fantasy convention? Windycon maybe.
Hmmm. Windycon may be out of the running now, but Wiscon is now possible. Perhaps maybe even more preferable.

Reading: Read two books a month, one fantasy, one other genre. Every other month, read craft book, like Stephen King’s On Writing.
Can’t recall how many books I was reading in 2007, but I think I stayed up on it. I didn’t read as many craft books as I liked to–mainly because I find it easier to just write. Prose’s book doesn’t count–I read that in 2008.

So looking at this, I can say that I had a pretty productive year for most of 2007. The question is, how do I make 2008 just as productive, especially since half of 2008 is gone?

Well, let’s look at the state of things. I haven’t done much ‘writing’ since October 2007–just revisions on “She’s All Light” and reading of Willow. Currently, I only have two stories floating out, so I need to get more out there. It’s nice to run out of stories to get published, but it also means that there are stories sitting on my hard drive that aren’t published. I need to get cracking.

The problem is, I’ve been ‘revision mode’ for a very long time. I want to get creative. I want to do some ‘fun’ writing. Some fun flash writing. Work on some stuff that’s not so serious. Then I can tackle something a little more heavier. If I could get five stories out the rest of this year, I would feel good.

Then there’s Willow. I need to get back on a schedule of reading that. At this rate, I won’t get to actually editing this thing until the fall, maybe winter, and that could take another whole year. Ugh. But then again, it might not be so bad, especially since I chopped the book in half.But one thing’s for sure–each day I don’t do a read-through adds another day it will take longer to finish. So I think my first couple of priorities is to get reading on Willow, and get some more stories out. Long term, I want to finish reading Willow and start working on edits by October of this year.

I think the main thing as far as critiquing goes is to find a writer’s group here in Madison. I’m mainly looking for a group that will challenge me and will also include other people who are serious about publishing. Luckily, I have a couple of leads, so I don’t think I’ll have a problem meeting this goal. At least, I hope I won’t.

As for essay writing, I’ll keep it at three essays to write, edit and send out, and for the poetry, I’ll bump the goal to just two poems to send out. I’m also thinking that I should work on these things now since I’m a little fried on the short story revision. Switching to non-fiction or poetry for a little while would be nice.

So let’s see how the goals for 2008 shape up:

Willow: Finish reading by Fall 2008, start edits by Winter 2008.
Short Stories/Essays/Poetry: Polish 5 stories and submit them. Write 2 essays and submit. Polish 2 poems and submit.
Critiques: Do one a month. Find a writer’s group.
Contest: I’ll give myself a break. Enter 1 contest, fee or non
Craft: Attend the Wisconsin Literary Festival in October (I don’t know when the Midwest Literary one is–the website seems to be down). Plan to attend Wiscon in 2009.

Well, alright then. Now we got some goals to work towards. I now feel all set to work!