Goals for 2015

As always I like to make a few goals for myself for the new year. I like to cement it here on my blog for accountability, but also I feel when I put something in writing I am more likely to get it done. I try not to go overboard and do unrealistic goals that I couldn’t get done in five years if I tried. In fact, this year I am keeping it simple with just a few things I want to try for, but they are significant to me.

Goal 1… And I know I’ve been saying this for the last two years, but for once I really do see this as a possibility… finish my novel Blood Feud. I’m at the halfway point in the fourth draft. All I have to do is finish the fourth draft and go through and do a quick polish draft and it will be DONE. I think it’s very reasonable to think I can get all that done in 2015.

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What’s in Store for 2014?

I can’t believe it’s a new year. What happened to 2013? Well, it’s gone for better or for worse. Now I have to decide what I will accomplish in this new year. After answering the question, Did I Make my Goals for 2013?, it’s now time to set a new course for the new year. I don’t see myself adding much to what I already am doing. So far it seems to be working. Why fix something that isn’t broken? So here is a baseline of what I will be trying to accomplish in 2014.

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Setting Goals and Keeping Busy

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted that’s mostly due to the fact I have been spending all of my time on different writing projects these last few months. In fact, I’ve barely had a chance to catch my breath. This all has transpired, because I’m trying to set realistic goals for myself and reach them.

My goals for March were…

  • Start and finish 2 new short stories
  • Complete the 2nd draft for Part 1 of Blood Feud (prologue- chapter 12)

Which I managed to do. Yay! For me!


My goals for April

  • Start a new short story for June Anthology
  • Complete the 2nd draft for Part 2 of Blood Feud (chapters 13- 29)

So far it’s looking promising. First draft of short story (Ulave) is complete, and I’m currently on chapter 18 on my novel. The rest of the chapters should go much faster since I’ve already added all the new scenes.

My goals for May

  • Complete short story for June Anthology (Ulave)
  • Start and finish short story for a Creature Feature Anthology
  • Complete the 3rd draft of Part 3 of Blood Feud (chapters 30-48)

Tough but doable goals if I stick at it and write everyday. I really enjoy setting these goals and feel a great sense of accomplishment when I reach them, but if I don’t reach them I still feel fulfilled because I made the effort. So what are your goals for April and May?

Are Deadlines Hurtful or Helpful to the Writing Process?

I have always been in the belief that goals are important, keeping a person focused on what needs to be done and usually giving a time-frame for when said project needs to be completed. It keeps us from running around in circles and gives us purpose. In a sense deadlines are the same, but on a smaller scale. Deadlines are usually for very specific projects and have a definite timeline. It’s a strict date to work towards and a feeling of doom if said project is not completed by the expected date. Deadlines too can be helpful in motivating a procrastinating body (such as myself) to keep moving forward and having a sense of accomplishment from completed deadlines, but what if this strict process creates a pressure that stifles the creative spark?

What if in the process of moving forward becomes a double-edge sword that leaves a person used up like a dried out husk? The creativity is gone and the mental concentration breaks down under the weight of too much pressure. Would it make sense to continue in such a manner?

 

A person, like myself, who has the tendency to shoot for the moon and hope for the best can put up such grand expectations that not even an astronaut with the right equipment could ever hope landing on the moon. In these expectations, lies a minefield of pitfalls that scars the soul and leaves a person disorientated to the point of self disillusion. In a sense, maybe the key to reentry to the world of progress would be a reversal of deadlines and instead have set aside time of mental healing.
One has to wonder too if the mere fact of the striving for deadline after deadline creates a hole inside a person, leaving it a void of emptiness. Where once resided the spark of creativity now sits a black hole of darkness and air. Is this because the fragile well of imagination has had such high demands that it became dried up in trying to supply?
If this is the case then maybe what a person seeks in such a time would be a break, so a person can fill up their well once again. Unfortunately, people are so focused on the act of completing the deadline(s) that this fact becomes lost or forgotten (which seems to happen to me quite a bit).
Deadlines can be a wonderful thing to progress the creative soul to a finished product, but if deadlines become too much a part of our lives without the effort of stimulating the creative spark into a freedom of self discovery, then certain failure will be found. There may come a time when setting aside the deadline may become necessary and even essential to regaining solid ground, but even when the practice of implementing deadlines is reinstated, remembering that deadlines have a distinct fault may keep the struggling creative soul from falling back into the void.
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Want some ideas of how to find that creative spark again? Check out The Missing Muse Part 2: Rediscovering the Magic. And I also found this wonderful article done by Leo Babauta who has 31 Ways to Find Inspiration for Your Writing.

NaNoWriMo: An Alternative Challenge


It’s almost that time again. November is just around the corner, which means it’s NaNoWriMo again. Are you ready to pump out 50,000 words in 30 days? It’s a great way to work on that novel or novella you’ve been putting off. It’s a great challenge to see what you are made of and how far you can push yourself. I did the challenge in 2009 and managed to complete 50,000 words with two days to spare! It was fun, exciting, as well as, an eye-opener of my limitations and capabilities as a writer (when I started it, I really didn’t think I would be able to make the 50,000 word goal, but I pushed through anyways). It taught me how to write without the inner editor, the creative benefits of writing everyday, how to organize my life so that I could write everyday and that I could push myself to reach any goal if I wanted it bad enough. It also taught me how exhausting writing 50,000 words in a month is and that I really don’t need to do that again any time soon. One time was enough, but I highly recommend the challenge if you have not tried it before. If you want to learn more about the official NaNoWriMo check it out here.

Even though I don’t intend on sweating through 50,000 words, I still would like the benefit of working towards a goal. I was inspired by a friend’s blog to do my own alternative challenge for the month of November.

This is how it works (information from A Writer’s Journey)…

The focus of this challenge is to get writers to finish their projects, or work through writer’s block, or just get a block of writing done, they might not normally be able to achieve.

  • You can write on ANY project, regardless if its fiction or non-fiction.
  • You can write on any project you’ve already started, and hope to complete.
  • You can select any word count daily or weekly to achieve at the end of the November month.
  • You must stick to your word count. Break it up into daily but also weekly challenges. This will allow for sick days or breaks you might require. For example, you can select 1000 words a day, which equals 7000 words  a week. Providing you’re writing that goal at the end of the week, you ‘win’.
  • You do not have to show your writing, or the word count. We’re trusting you to be honest with yourself.

Want to know more? Check out A Writer’s Journey to find out how to participate and some great benefits of being a part of this alternative challenge.

I for one plan on signing up. My goal will be 500 words a day for a grand total of 15,000 words on a novella I already have in the works. I also plan on blogging and working on another short story for an anthology commitment that I have, but this won’t be in the official word count, so I will actually be writing much more than the 15,000 words. It will be tough to fit in my shedule, but I think with some perseverance and forethought it can be done. I welcome the challenge and motivation!

I will be keeping track of my word count on my blog (can be found at the top right column of my blog under NaNoWriMo Alternative Challenge heading) and updating it at least once a week, possibly more. Feel free to post your own word counts in the comment section of this post or on your own blog. I look forward to taking the challenge with you!