Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year, New Goals!!

http://www.gardenlist.com/

"Resolution" conjures up thoughts of the workout plan that lasts two weeks, until you miss a day...then three...then a month! At least for me.

In our writing life or in any other aspect of our life, it's not resolutions that get us there...it's baby steps and perseverance. Continuing to run the race.

Just as Jesus sanctifies us in our walk with Him, finishing a novel is a day-by-day labor.

Talk about baby-steps. I started my novel about a year and a half ago. I made agonizingly slow progress...editing as I went.

But baby steps add up. Finding the time to write every day just wasn't realistic for me, nor was writing in large chunks. But if writing didn't become a part of my routine, it didn't happen in my busy life.

This winter I will finally finish that novel! I know, I know. Some of you have been known to write 50K words during NANOWRIMO or finish your novels in 3 months. Maybe you can't relate. But I'm betting at least a few of you can.

These are some of the writing lessons I hope to take with me in the New Year:

Keep accountable.  Find email accountability partners. Find a real-life group to hold you accountable. Preferably both. The embarassment of havnig nothing to bring to a critique session keeps you going if nothing else does. So does the fact there's someone on the other end of the computer waiting to hear my word count totals.

Don't belittle the little accomplishments. Every word is important. Every time I hit a 10K milestone I will often excitedly mention it to my husband or family. Just repeating the small victories to myself helps me to persevere to the next 10K.

Dream about what's next. No, I don't mean that you're going to land the agent of your dreams and get published this year. (Not that it wouldn't be great if that happened...). The closer I get to writing "the end", the more time I spend thinking and reading about my next character so I can keep the momentum going.

If you get discouraged, remember the growth you have made and will continue to make. At a recent writer's group session I brought an excerpt from my manuscript written about a year ago. I was immediately asked if it was written a while ago. The commenter said they were used to a different level of quality in my writing. It encourages me to know that in little baby steps my writing WILL grow.

What do you need to do to tend your writing garden this year? What do you need to prune back in your writing in order to grow? What are your tricks to finishing well?

Wishing you and your manuscript a happy New Year!



Julia enjoys writing women's fiction whenever she can find a chair free of smushed peanut butter sandwiches and lego blocks. She is a wife and homeschooling mama of two littles. She also enjoys reading and reviewing books for The Title Trakk, a Christian review site.

7 comments:

Jeanne T said...

Julia, I so appreciate your words and encouragements. I began writing my first ever novel 18 months ago. It's taken me a long time to figure out the craft of writing, but I'm getting there. I have a dear friend who critiques and encourages me. She answers my questions and asks more, which show me I need to go back and do more work (mostly on some character issues).

I found NaNo helped me greatly in getting story down on paper. It's "ugly" right now, but I'm excited to go back and make it pretty. My garden, right now, has seeds scattered. Somehow, through editing, they will end up in neat rows, yielding, I hope, the flowers of a good story.

I don't have many tricks for finishing well. I've set a goal of having my wip done by the end of January. Getting up very early is what has guaranteed me time to write in a day.

What are your tips for finishing well?
Happy New Year!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Jeanne,

You and I have the same goal finishing at the end of January...let's keep each other accountable :)

I think Nano is a great idea. I quite frankly think I would drive my family crazy, but I think its a great tool.

Ironically right after writing this, I felt stuck on my manuscript as I was writing last night. For me I have to make up any missing word count as quickly as possible to keep on track.

Lesser_Lumpkin said...

well done dear. I dare say that having your writing scheduled as part of a routine has been a large help too not ust because it doesnt get lost in your busy life but also because it allows the rest of your family to plan for it and help keep you writing. Now get back to writing!!

Mary Vee said...

Thanks Julie.
I would like to find an accountability partner. Haven't managed to do that yet.

Amber S. said...

Thank you for this post, Julia! :) I can certainly relate, and I agree that in the past it helped me to have an e-mail buddy to encourage me - and it does help to see your growth and past accomplishments.

I'm hoping to get back to writing more in the new year!

~Amber

P.S. I hope you and your family are doing well, Julia, and that you had a merry Christmas! :)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Lumpkin,

Yes, this is very true. Aye, aye!!


Mary,

What times do you write? Casey and I write M/W/F 6-7 EST if that helps.

Amber,

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you will get back to writing, although I can certainly understand how it would be hard while finishing college.

sherrindaketch said...

I love the idea of a "writing garden". Tending it, caring for it, nurturing it...that is beautiful!

And I am scheduling writing time this year. I've never done it, but I am going to have to or else I'll never get another book finished!!!!