Current Project: Proofing Sugar High
Status: 1/3 done!
All weekend, I worked on an awesome post about how failure is sometimes the best possible thing that can happen to us. I was upset about not making GH, but I was *good* upset--the kind of upset where you resolve to make what you want happen. THEN, as you can see from Eli's sweet announcement on the sidebar, I got AWESOME news with winning the Great Expectations Contest and a request for the full from the Editor. So, um, yeah, about that failure blog . . . I think I'm a little too giddy right now to don my Commando Wavy attire and get all up in your grill. But, I'm going to try because I still want to talk about planning and goals.
Now, excuse me while I go channel Genene and Lisa for this very un-Bethany posting topic. Oooooom Oooooom Feeling the Need to Buy Office Supplies Ooooom Ooooom Feeling urge to make a spreadsheet Ooooom. Okay. I'm in the right headspace to plan, now. And really, I think that this is 90% of the battle with goal setting. For the last year, I haven't really committed to a plan. Oh sure, I've made goals. Aspirations really. Ideals. And while it looks awesome cross-stiched on a wall (gathering dust, natch), "Write Everyday" hasn't exactly landed me anywhere near my goals. Instead, I miss a day, and I feel guilty and stew, and then it's been three weeks, and then suddenly it's 2009, and I last had a finished MS in 2007, and my purple book of ideas has expanded to Ideas-Exceeding-Life-Expectancy Levels, and lordy, was I really surprised when I didn't final in the GH when I only decided to enter to justify keeping my RWA membership?
Alexis Morgan spoke to our chapter two weeks ago about "Getting Organized to Write." Her talk was my getting organized to get organized moment as it got me in the right headspace to think about what I really want right now. I mulled this over and tried to get myself to drink the "I'm 100% happy being a professor right now. I'm a professor/mother. I don't need another slash right now" kool-aid despite the gnawing ache in my gut whenever I finish a really good book. Maybe I could recommit to this whole writing later . . . a decade or two . . .or get a new goal . . .
I'm really good at lying to myself. Scary good. When I found out that I didn't get GH this year, I realized that I had been holding a lot back from myself. It was a bit like reaching page 303 and realizing that OMG! The heroine has an evil twin! I had this whole fantasy spun out in my head most of which centered around passive success. Lo! I would be discovered! With no further work required on my end.
Except, okay, yes. Lots of work. Something Alexis said that made a lot of sense for me was that you have to know your pace so that when you sell(not if, if is now banned from my vocabulary), you can tell your editor when to expect book 2. Light bulb! When you sell, you have MORE work. Better get started now, as there isn't such a thing as a Book Two Fairy or Publicity Elf. She also talked about having realistic goals that keep you accountable and take fate out of the equation.
Thus, while my driving fire right now is all "Golden Heart," I don't control the judging gods. However, what I do control is putting myself in the best position to reach that goal. So here's my GH 2010 or Bust Plan:
- Weekly goals. I'm breaking down my goals into weekly goals that CHANGE each week. Small concrete tasks that either get accomplished or not. I need recovery from all the XXX words by Y month goals that I never met. New week = New Goal. This lets me take into account what sort of week I have ahead of me and pick that week's goal accordingly. I've got enough small and large tasks to keep my momentum going if I choose wisely each week.
- Overall goals. Keeping my eye on the prize, I'm looking at what needs to be done. I would like to enter three manuscripts.
- Manuscript #1 is the YA which won Great Expectations. I've done revising based on awsome judge feedback from the contest, and this is in good shape, but I'd like to get it a shiny new synopsis and consider whether I need to upsell the romance to suit RWA tastes.
- Manuscript #2 is one of two long-languishing contemporaries. I need to just get over myself already. I'm planning to enter more contests over the Spring and the summer to force myself to draft a synopsis and cut-and-burn along the way.
- I need to get over myself where Manuscript #2 is concerned, because Manuscript #3 is hopefully going to be a new finished MS. As in, yes, actually moving beyond Chapter 1. Right now, I have . . .gulp . . .SIX first chapters rattling around my hard drive. I might need to return in a future blog to play WIP idol with y'all as judges . . .
- I'm including little details in my plan to make it easier this year. For example, I'm putting aside a little money each month to cover contests and to have enough to cover three entries and postage for 3 tons of paper heading to Texas. And postage would be much cheaper if I could ship via muletrain instead of two-days-before deadline concord. So I'm planning to enter and ship #1 & #2 as soon as the contest opens, saving #3 for a last-minute NaNoWriMo push worthy of paying a small fortune in stamps.
**The picture is the best one I found during a quick search, and the only one by far to feature a smoldering hero worthy of a romance blog. It's from this neat historic photo website.