Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking back, looking ahead

As the year comes to a close I have been thinking to myself: What have I gotten done this year? Did I meet any of my goals? The second question would be easier to answer if I had actually SET some goals. But I didn't enter 2009 with any specific goal in mind besides writing as much as possible, and increasing my efforts in finding an agent. So I ask myself again, what have I gotten done this year? Here are some of my answers:

I finished writing and revising my first verse novel!

Wrote several PB manuscripts with my writing partner, Corey. Many of them are still in need of revisions and rewriting, but it is always good to have something to be working on.

Finished a few drafts of my own PB ideas, including a fairy tale spin-off and a rhyming story for two voices (just finished that one a couple of weeks ago!).

Started a poetry journal that I keep on my nightstand (I haven't written in it for a while, but who's keeping track?).

I read a lot!

Had a craft article published in Highlights.

Wrote about 18,000 words of a novel for NaNoWriMo.

Sent out more submissions than last year, which isn't saying much, but at least it's something!

I guess the most important thing is that I spent 2009 pursuing my writing, and (for the most part) loving the results!

So that is my advice for other writers looking at facing the new year. Just write! Settle yourself into a project you're in love with and don't stop until you've finished. Yes, submit if you have something ready. Sure, go to conferences if you think they'll help. Of course, keep reading. But most of all, keep on writing and have fun!

That's my only real goal for 2010--to write what I love.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Recommended reading: The Wanderer

Sharon Creech is OFFICIALLY one of my favorite authors.

I just finished reading The Wanderer. What a beautiful story! In this book The Wanderer is a boat, but the real wanderer in the story is the main character Sophie. She and her uncles and cousins go on a journey across the sea, but the real journey is in Sophie herself.

It came as no surprise to me that I loved The Wanderer so much. But the reason I've moved Sharon Creech up a notch on my favorite authors scale is because of her ability to make me crave reading books (specifically, her books) that are outside my favorite genre. If you were to ask me what my favorite genre to read is, I would say something like "speculative fiction with sci fi and/or fantasy elements." The Wanderer has neither. But Sharon Creech's storytelling draws me in, makes me feel like I'm part of the story. Her writing is poetic (even when she's not writing in verse), her imagery is stunning, she really digs into the hearts of her characters. Ah, to be able to accomplish the same with my own words!

If you're needing an idea for a book to read and you've never read The Wanderer, run out and buy it (or check it out at the library) and get lost at sea with Sophie and her family. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday Tip (on Wednesday)

Quick tip: Use Forever Stamps on all your self-addressed stamped envelopes! You never know 1) how long it will take to come back to you and 2) when a postage hike will sneak up on you. If you use the forever stamp, you don't have to worry about not having enough postage on those reply letters you're so anxiously awaiting.

Happy Submitting!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Now that it's over

My final word count for NaNoWriMo was 18,835. It's a long way from 50,000, but I'm pleased anyway. Considering how much time I actually spent writing, I think I did pretty darn good!

It feels good to be able to work on the book without the pressure of NaNoWriMo. But at the same time, that pressure was a big part of what kept me going during November. I'm grateful for the challenge it gave me, and that I have a new novel in the works that shows promise.

If I had to guess right now, I'd say that half of what I've written is going to get tossed out. Even as I was writing during those crazy weeks, there were times when I knew I was writing something--anything--just to keep the story going. There is a draft to finish and then the work really begins! Scenes will be cut or moved, dialogue polished, all those "telling" paragraphs rewritten to show the story happening.

I wonder how much of that I can get done in December?

Now, join me in congratulating Daughter #1! She joined the Young Writers Program for NaNoWriMo and set a goal of 20,000. She did it! She wrote a little over 20,000 words of her fantasy novel. This is her second time participating in NaNoWriMo and her first win. So, congrats J!