It is nearly November 2005 and it seems as good a time as any to look back on my year. One of my 2005 New Year's Resolutions was to have something published. I have not accomplished my goal.
But I am closer.
I am very hopeful in what the next two months will bring for me. In 2004 I don't recall writing anything for myself that was not based on my characters in EverQuest. Mostly these writings came from situations my characters were engaged in. Looking back on it, it doesn't seem too much like writing because I intimately knew these characters. However, it was writing as there were hours where I sweated over the right phrase or the best way to convey what was happening. It was just a lot more natural than what I've been trying lately.
Thinking on it some more, there were writing prompts I participated in on the Corruption of Reverie boards. These were evocative and inspiring. Initially I tried to do them at least once a week but I fell behind and never caught up. I wish I still had some of them.
This year I've entered two Ink Slingers Writing Contests. Two!?! I think that is awesome. I never would have had the nerve to do it before this year. I also started an entry for a third contest but never got around to actually working on it and finishing it. I just didn't find myself too much into it.
One thing I've tried this year is to find a writing schedule that suits me. I think I've found that what works best for me is setting aside time and sticking with it. I used to write in bed after waking up but usually I'd write and end up running out of steam. These days, since I get up early on the weekends, I recharge my batteries by reading writing books before I actually dig into working on plot, characters or ideas. It's like it gets the waters churning so the best stuff floats to the surface. During the weekdays I need to start setting aside time to work on writing. Right now I've been making goals (write synopsis, interview main character, etc.) and I've been working on them. I know this is the next step for me.
I've signed up for newsletters and writing prompts. I have a specific email for my writing emails so I'll minimize the loss of my writing information. These have been helpful because it keeps me connected to other writers. Sure, some of these people are probably like me and not written a thing to completion, but that's okay. I love writers.
This year I've been attending author readings. I attended only one in 2004 at The Ohio State University as part of the movement to get college students to vote in the Presidential Elections. Most of the readings in 2005 have been at The Wexner Center for the Arts but I did attend one at Borders. I signed up for a LiveJournal community that keeps up on author events in Ohio. Most of the postings are for events in my immediate area but if I saw something really interesting I would drive out of the city for it.
I started keeping a writing journal. I keep a hardcover black notebook in my purse with a pen. As ideas occur to me, I hear funny dialogue, or observe things, I grab my journal and start writing them down.
I signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I have set a challenge to myself to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I started getting excited about it at the end of September and started actively planning for it in October. I joined my regional members for a kick-off party this month. I met some new people who like to write. I joined the Yahoo Group for the regional members also. Looking through their posts from after last year's NaNoWriMo event was inspiring. Through the winter they kept doing writing activities together. As the weather got nicer, things fell off a bit. There are presently 61 members. Including myself, about four people joined the group this year due to NaNoWriMo 2005.
I have daily word goals to reach which I've not done before. I had always used time writing for increments of 10 to 45 minutes. This will be a new challenge for me. I've devised a reward system for various things. For instance, I get a star on a calendar for the days I reach my word count goals. For every 5,000 words I get a reward. It could be as simple as a big bowl of popcorn, or as complicated as a fancy dinner at The Top. Through EverQuest I realized that I like seeing goals reached. When the Xegony Alliance had a database that kept track of number of raids, roles during raids, etc. it was nice to see the numbers creep up with each event. I've not really had concrete goals with baby steps for anything the last few years. The calendar with a star on it will remind me of how great I am doing. Other writers do these types of rewards and include rewards for their rejections. For instance, every 10 rejections they get their nails done or get to attend the movies in the middle of the afternoon.
My husband has always been supportive of my writing but this year he has known that it's been on my radar more than ever. He's been suggesting books for me to read (like he always does), has pointed out author events around town (which he started in 2004), and has inquired if I needed time for writing or working on my writing. He's actively supportive. I was afraid that he might feel neglected during November but he knows how important it is for me to not only get my novel done but to have people around me that will support me. For that reason, he's been encouraging me to meet the other writers in my NaNoWriMo region, and when I've mentioned that I want to attend a write-in with them he tells me to go for it. Having a supportive person in my life is a wonderful gift. Now, if I told him that I'd just quit my job this afternoon and planned on making a living as a writer from now on he might not be so understanding and supportive. I'd have to have a few published writing credits to my name first.
In summary, so far in 2005 I've been trying to find what works for me. I've become more involved in my local writing community. I've set a new goal for myself of writing a 50,000 word novel in November. I think the goal of being published in 2005 was just too abstract of one. I didn't plan out my steps to actually reaching the goal. Instead, I've been taking the steps to get there. Being published in 2006 is much more attainable in my present view. In the meantime, I am going to think of a new goal for 2006. Maybe it will be to write a short story each month. After all, won't twelve short stories give me something to work with and submit during 2006?