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Monday, August 5, 2013

Goals and Priorities: Writing Edition.

I'm not a goal orientated individual. I'm really not. I've never actually used a day planner. I've gotten them as gifts once or twice but I just spent an hour writing in the birthdays into the calender section and admiring the cat pictures on the cover before tucking it away somewhere until the dates became obsolete. I've learned to write to do lists so I don't forget anything too important (and just for the fun of crossing things off), but if  I had my way I'd always do things spur of the moment, as they pop into my head, on a whim, etc.

That said, it is very easy to procrastinate when you don't have any deadlines to meet. I guess it is easy to procrastinate with deadlines, but eventually they loom and you rush and it (hopefully) gets done. Without deadlines of any sort, writing always ended up in the "when I can get around to it" category in my day to day plans.

It was finally deciding to do National Novel Writing Month last November that sort of kicked me into gear and got me out of my slump. You can catch up on that journey in several posts starting here that I made in November and December of last year, but to summarize, it was having the ability to see how much I was writing a day and how much closer each day that got me to my overall word count goal that lit a fire under me and I completed my first full length novel since getting married.

Yes, since getting married. That's almost seven years now.

Since NaNoWriMo ended I've been a little less diligent. I don't have the handy word count tracker any more and I'm still easily distracted, but I've finished another novel (the sequel to the one I wrote in November) and have been slowly chipping away at the third part to that series. I also finally got around to epublishing one of my stories (the one I wrote just before getting married, actually).

(as always, please consider checking out that ebook on Amazon. I'll link it again for your convenience and mine.)



So today I was trying to focus on what to do next . . . well, actually, today I found a pile of notepads that I had bought at one of the back to school sales simply because I have a notebook addiction and I can't pass a display of notebooks without at least checking to see if they are a good deal and because I had these notebooks I decided I needed to justify having them and write something in them. . . so, now that we are being honest, my first thought was to write down all the story ideas that are currently the most laid out in my mind and put them in order of potential so I could narrow in on what order I should do these projects. So I started writing down the ideas and then went back in and added self-inflicted deadlines of when I would like to see things finished. The following is what I ended up with.

Story Prioritization:

Finish 3rd Dragon Prince Book-Finish Deadline 8/31/13 

Start 4th Dragon Prince Book 12/31/13

Edit and Prepare Dragon Prince Series in order 2/28/14

Consider 5th and further installments of Dragon Prince, low priority. Also optional prequels.

Finish Jonas Story 6/30/14

Finish Flight Story 12/31/14

Finish Egyptian Story 6/30/15

The deadlines looked nice at this point but from my own experience sitting on a basically finished novel for seven years before I finally got around to self-publishing it (I did submit book proposals/query letters/sample chapters etc to a few publishers a handful of times but obviously never was accepted), I knew that having a book written in a file somewhere and publishing it are not even close to the same thing. So I continued with some more concrete goals.

My current goals:

  1. to prepare at least one book a year for publication for the foreseeable future. 
  2. to see each project through to the end, including necessary editing.
  3. to be open to new story ideas without letting them derail my existing projects. 
  4. to find a way to glorify God through my writing and increase my sense of purpose as an author.
The last one is going to be the most difficult to realize because while you can force yourself to write, you can't really force a spirit of purpose or a spirit of submission to God. While I consider myself a Christian author, there are various reasons why I don't try to write "Christian fiction." Growing up I never appreciated preachy books and I was skeptical of Christian fiction that was basically just normal fiction with a salvation message or a moral shoehorned in. I decided I didn't want to write that way, so I decided just to write what stories interest me but every so often to slip in something that was important to me. My characters will occasionally reference God or prayer, but the few times I have tried to add in a salvation story line or a spiritual moment, it always does bring me back to those shoehorned moments in novels I read as a kid, probably because I still have too much immaturity, both as a writer and a Christian, to write said scenes more believably. 

Still, I have principles by which I live my life and write my stories. I believe in the concepts of good and evil and write accordingly. I believe in loyalty and fidelity. I believe in love and marriage. I believe in children. I believe in valuing someone according to their character first. While I try to allow my characters to have real and believable faults, I try not to glorify the faults. . .so while I want to write a good story first and foremost, I also very much want to write something that inspires good things, inspires hope, and maybe even gives readers a sense of a loving and magnificent Creator. 

7 comments:

  1. Hi Heidi!! I found your blog from your post today on the wifessionals blog. I just want to say I am so thankful for what you shared. I can never truly say all that is on my heart when it comes to that subject and you just put it all out there. I can sense the genuine concern you have for other women in just your post alone. In faith we are called to care for one another and we are also called to share the truth. By the way I recently moved from Florida to NY. Our home in Florida is by the Homestead Airforce base....do you guys know it?

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    1. No, I wasn't familiar with it, so I had to look it up. We haven't explored much of Florida since we got here and we are in the pan handle so Homestead is about as far away from us as you can get and still be within the same state.

      Thank you for your encouragement. I do get emotional about the subject. I think that women while we have gained a lot of ground in some important matters have lost other battles because we've literally thrown babies out with bathwater.

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  2. Hi Heidi - good to meet you here on the Blog Hop. Thank you for sharing your goals.
    I was surprised when I asked God which of the story ideas I had, like planes in holding patterns, He wanted me to tackle next and He said the one I saw as little and late in coming.
    It was a delight to write and seemed to flow out of me.
    I say this because of your 'I won't let myself get derailed' comment. I think there's a balance between getting down to it and being open to doing things otherwise than what we think.

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  3. Hi Heidi,
    Glad you've jumped on board this blog hop. Like you, I am not big on spending a lot of time crafting goals, I'd much rather just jump in and write. It does make sense to have an idea of where you're going though, and you've done a beautiful job of laying out your plans for the future, while keeping yourself open to new ideas, or new paths God may be leading you down. Just one suggestion, and I've mentioned this to several of the writers on this blog hop, I had a really difficult time figuring out whose blog this is. As a reader, I connect much more quickly with what is written if I have at least a name, if not a face, to connect with. A name at the top of the blog, unless you are attempting to stay anonymous, welcomes anyone dropping by, and makes it much more likely that they'll stick around for a bit, or come back again. Just a thought. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

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    1. I'll take it into consideration, but honestly, while I am not panicky about anonymity, forming connections it not even on my list of reasons why I blog. To me blogging is a creative outlet and a way to share interesting ideas.

      I prefer to keep my name associated with my author website where there are direct links to purchase my books (at least in google searches) rather than my blog which is simply my ramblings about motherhood, writing, homeschooling, crochet, and whatever else pops into my head at any given day.

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  4. Thank you for sharing! Brenda J Wood http://heartfeltdevotionals.com

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