Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Defining the Busy Writer

I did not make New Year's Resolutions...I made and defined goals. For me, the difference between the two is desired results. I could have made a resolution to blog here, say, three times a week, with the desire to ramp up my internet presence. (Which I obviously did NOT do since this blog has been uncharacteristically quiet and my internet presence is really more of an absence). At this time in my writing career, such a resolution would have simply taken away from the time I must carefully guard for the sole purpose of preparing my manuscript for submission. Just after the holidays, I began receiving feedback from my critique partners and beta readers on my middle grade fantasy. I'd been anxiously awaiting their notes so I could dive into another round of revisions and I knew I'd need to set aside a significant amount of time to do them. And the best critiques are usually the hardest ones to apply to a manuscript--requiring a significant amount of thought, brainstorming ways to fix a plot element that isn't working, re-writing, re-evaluating sub-plots, dissecting characters and their motivations, etc. These are the revisions I've been pounding out on my laptop over the last three weeks.

Instead of a resolution, I set a goal. Get THE SEAKEEPER ready to begin another round of queries and send it out. I can't control whether any given agent will be interested in taking me on as a client. I can't control whether I get a book contract this year. But I can control the effort I put into making the manuscript as good as I can possibly make it. I can control my revisions, my association with talented critique partners, my study of the children's publishing industry, my reading of useful writing blogs and involvement in writing communities that mentor authors. I can control which agents I choose to query based on a careful study of their submission guidelines, their interests, and what they currently represent. So those are my goals.

No resolution to get published. Just a goal to do everything in my power to pursue that end with this manuscript and then move onto the next one.

And maybe clean the house and do some laundry. Maybe.

What about you? How do you go about your goals?

2 comments:

  1. I tell myself that I'll take on one goal per year. Everything else is just gravy. I can handle one thing at a time. But this year has been different. I added a new goal to two ongoing goals from previous years. I thought I would crack (or become more ADD than I already am). But instead, I'm feeling more balanced and in control than I ever have before. I'm not blogging much and the laundry pile is beginning to smell but I'm feeling a quiet peace with where I am and where my career is going. And that's a good thing.

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  2. I watch each year as my husband write down goals in four categories, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I always think, "That is probably something I should do."
    Then I proceed to watch as the year passes and priorities shift and goals go onto the next list the following year. I personally set goals based on deadlines! The closer it gets to the deadline, holiday, birthday, whatever, that becomes my number one goal. Maybe you've noticed this, maybe not, but it keeps me accomplishing a lot and enjoying the precious time with family and friends I long for. Great thought!!

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