Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Resolutions

Last year on Dec. 28th I posted some new year's resolutions for writing on my blog post at Utah Valley Writers Blog.

So it's been a year--time to check up on myself.

The black are the goals and the blue are the results:
Write another novel--Finished "Damnation"
Attend a writing conference--Went to LDStorymakers
Pitch a finished manuscript to an agent--pitched to Sara Crowe
Join a critique group--nope, didn't do this one
Query agents for a manuscript--yes, sent queries for "Wish Thief"
Read a professional book on writing, revising or editing every month--no, I've missed some months
Meet regularly with other writers (Maybe at the League meetings! Oh–and bring friends.)--yes, with League of Utah Writers and with ANWA
Set a word count goal of ______ words per (day/week/month)--no, didn't set a word count goal
Enter a piece in a writing contest--entered the first chapter contest
For the 2012 year, my goals are:
Finish Delia's Story
Start and finish another novel
Take a writing course at the college
Pitch a story to an agent
Query "Damnation"
Read professional books
Set monthly goals (on paper) and keep track of progress

Henry Moore (Artist & Sculptor) said, "I think more in terms of the day's resolutions, not the year's."

Maybe the habits I want would be more successful if I set little goals that I could track each day. Like: Each day this week I'll add to Delia's Story.

What goals are you setting for the new year? What do you think of resolutions?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

To Indie (self)-Publish or Not




It used to be that self-published books were looked at like poison-at least initially. Times have changed quite a bit since then. With the ease of publishing and the prevalence of e-readers, traditional publishers are having to scramble to change their platforms if they want to survive.
Don't get me wrong, indie-publishing faces great hurdles still, but the hurdles are getting easier to jump.

The choice to indie publish is not one to take lightly. There are many things to consider:

1. How much time do you have to spare?
2. How much skill do you have with editing, formatting, graphic artistry, marketing, promotion?
3. Do you have a lot of energy?
4. Are you flexible?
5. Can you stay positive when faced with great criticism?
6. Do you have money to spare?
7. Do you have a far-flung web of friends, colleagues, writer friends? A great support system?
8. Are you tech savvy?

Join me each time I post over the next several months, and I will discuss several of the above considerations to help you discover if you should even consider indie-publishing.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Secret

When I was a girl, my mother had a Christmas album by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Fred Waring. There were a number of songs we enjoyed but one in particular that I learned to love a lot. Some of my fondness is because the song reminds me of her, and she died when I was fourteen.



But some of my love for the song is because of the lyrics, which culminate with

So may I suggest the secret of Christmas
Is not the things you do at Christmastime
But the Christmas things you do
All year through?


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Writing: The Gift We Give Ourselves

It's December, which means it's almost time for Christmas. Right now, we're all making our lists and checking them twice to make sure we haven't forgotten anyone. Chances are, though, that most of us have forgotten someone - ourselves.

It's not selfish to place ourselves on our Christmas list, and it's not selfish to take time for ourselves during the holidays, or any other time, for that matter, to write.

Yes, you heard me. Writing is not selfish.

I've known many women who have the desire to write, but feel that taking time away from their families to do it is wrong. They feel that their loved ones will feel neglected if they indulge themselves with the fulfilling of their dream. Of course, if you lock yourself in your room for twelve hours a day and ignore the pounding and the screams of "Mom! Jimmy's on fire!" then yes, you may need to reevaluate that. A man who quits his job and stops providing for his family so he can write, without any other source of income, might want to rethink that. But there is nothing at all wrong with taking an hour in the afternoon or a few hours in the evening and writing down your thoughts and working toward your goals.

If you have the writer's bug, you will not be happy unless you are writing. I know this to be true. Due to life circumstances, I've sometimes had to take a month or three or six off from writing, and I have to tell you, I'm miserable until I get back to my project. Writing fills a need in me that nothing else can. I'm deeply devoted to my family, I ardently believe in my religion, but writing hits a spot that neither of those can. It lives in a different place in the brain and in the heart. If I'm not writing, I'm not complete.

So, this holiday season, I encourage you to think about your writing. Does it fulfill you, as it does me? Can you make time for it in your life, and can you do that without the guilt? If you recognize that it makes you happy, and you know that you are a better parent, spouse, and employee when you are emotionally fed, it's not selfish. You need to take care of yourself in all aspects in order to give the best of yourself to those you care about, and writing just may be part of that for you.

Merry Christmas, and don't forget to keep your needs on your giving list this year.