Thanksgiving morning, 2012 I woke up to a revelation. I had been “thinking about” writing a novel (based on my grandmother’s childhood spent in a Catholic orphanage) for several years. I’d been thinking and planning, and thinking some more, but not doing any writing. So, that fall morning, I had this realization – If I had started writing this novel a year ago, then I’d be a year further along. Duh!
And so I began…
In order to start writing, I knew I had to do a bit of looking at the time period (1918-1919) in order to get a feel for it, before I could begin to form a story. I went back and looked at my grandmother’s genealogy notes that I had collected over the years. I delved into websites, books, and articles. I read and took notes until…well, until I really had to get my butt moving and write!
Then along came Teachers Write! This wonderful virtual summer “camp” is the catalyst that got me really believing that I could do this writing thing. Although I first “enrolled” in the summer of 2012, I was only a lurker. But when founder and children’s author Kate Messner tweeted about the 2013 camp, I jumped right in. I haven’t looked back.
Undoubtedly the most beneficial part of TW for me has been Friday Feedback with author Gae Polisner. She and her invited author friends provide critiques of participants’ writing pieces. They’re helpful, supportive, friendly, and encouraging. I was never so sad to see summer end.
And then at the end of the camp’s session, Gae offered to continue Friday Feedback on a monthly basis! Talk about generous.
Regardless of her offer, I didn’t participate immediately. I got caught up in getting back to school and into a new-old routine. My own children began their sports activities for the season, and Mommy Taxi (AKA I have no time for myself) started up gain. It took me until this past Friday to get going.
At the end of 2013, I knew I would come up with my writing goals for the new year, and that I would actually write them down. And I did.
As a matter of public record here is my major writing goal for 2013:
FINISH A ROUGH FIRST DRAFT OF MY NOVEL.
In order to achieve this major goal, I needed to identify minor goals as building blocks.
1) WRITE EVERY DAY.
This goal is probably the most difficult for me to meet. I always have good intentions, mostly to get up earlier each morning, get ready for work, and then sit down to write. I recognize that I can’t always do that (due to personal or professional demands), but I always attempt it. Maybe the writing gets done in the morning, maybe during lunch, maybe at night. Or maybe, like my first excerpt submitted to Friday Feedback on 1/10/14, in five-minute increments between requests from my husband and children. Sometimes I don’t feel like writing, and I know myself well enough that if I don’t feel like doing something, it ain’t getting done! So, in those instances, I read or do more research instead.
2) SUBMIT TO FRIDAY FEEDBACK EVERY MONTH.
Goal number one above directly impacts my ability to achieve goal number two. I’m always cognizant of this. Even if Gae is not able to host FF, I still have this monthly goal in the back of my mind. It’s very motivating. Therefore I write…
3) POST MORE REGULARLY TO MY BLOG.
More writing. Always more writing. In meeting this goal (as vague as it is), I’m actively working at my craft (and maybe even inspiring others to do the same).
So, there it is. This is the first year I’ve actually put my goals in writing. I believe this is the first year I will accomplish what I had in my mind to do.