Tag Archives: goals

Some modest writing goals for the first quarter of 2014

The email reminding us to post our first round goals went right under my radar somehow, so I’m coming a bit late to the party this time. I’m going to start out this round with very modest goals. Seeing as I’m behind on the translation, I really have to get caught up with that, and until I do, I’m going to have to allow my writing goals to take back seat for a while. Not only that, there’s been a bit of a setback. I found out today that I was sent the wrong version of the file to translate, an older one that doesn’t contain current changes. Not sure yet how much extra work that’s going to entail, sigh.

Writing:

– Write every day, aiming for at least a page, or 250 words. This is really low for me, and once I manage to catch up on the translation, I can raise my goals. At that point, I will also add some specific project goals.

Business:

– Be done with the Big Translation Project by the end of the round

Writing business:

– Publish Chameleon in a Mirror

– Publish Island of Glass

– Publish “The Shadow Artist”

– Upload “Leaving Sweater” to Smashwords and make it free

– Publish Shadow of Stone to B&N, Smashwords and D2D

– Publish “Mars, A Traveler’s Guide” to Amazon and make it free

– Make Author Page for Amazon.de and Amazon.uk

– Update my blog’s book page

– Submit a short story a week to traditional publishers

So that’s it for me for the moment. Once I have more time to write again, I’ll revise!

Wishing everyone a very successful first round. 🙂

Deliberate practice and the next round of goals

For this Round of Words, Kait has challenged us to keep “deliberate practice” in mind when putting together our goals. I’m going to take her up on it, and in this round I want to concentrate on FOCUS and becoming more effective with the time I have. I’ve downloaded a program for the Pomodoro technique, a time management tool, and I’m going to try out the program Freedom with it, which shuts off the Internet for a specific amount of time. Before my writing sessions, I will also work on planning the writing I want to get done each day, having a better idea of where a specific scene will go before I start writing it, which will hopefully make it less likely that I’ll get stuck.

So that’s the deliberate practice goal. On to the specific writing (and other) goals:

Writing:

– Write an average of at least two hours a day, five days a week (10 hours a week)

– Finish the first draft of A Wasted Land

– Brainstorm the next two novellas in The Glassmakers trilogy, Facets of Glass and Shards of Glass

– Start (finish?) Facets of Glass

Business:

– Be at least 240 pages into the Big Translation Project by the end of the round

Writing business:

– Publish Chameleon in a Mirror

– Publish Island of Glass

– Prepare CreateSpace version of Shadow of Stone

– Publish Shadow of Stone to B&N, Smashwords and D2D

– Publish “Mars, A Traveler’s Guide” to Amazon and make it free

Wishing everyone a wonderful and successful round!

Clarion West Write-a-thon, goals for the next quarter, and a sale on Yseult

I’ve taken a rather extended break from blogging, for a number of reasons, the only one that is relevant being that I had enough distractions and I wanted to get some writing done. And I have made progress on a couple of projects, despite very full days. I mentioned a while back that I wanted to make a stand-alone version of an episode from Shadow of Stone, and I finished a first version of “Gawain and Ragnell” with it’s own chapter breaks and appropriate quotes from Arthurian literature. While writing the episode originally, I took my inspiration both from the tradition of the “loathly lady” as well as “Gawain and the Green Knight” and a few other medieval tales of Gawain, conflating them all to what I hope I made into a coherent whole. None of the readers of Shadow of Stone have complained yet, so I think I must have been at least partly successful. 🙂

I’ve also returned to A Wasted Land, trying to make sense of the notes and scenes I wrote in March. I printed everything out, cut pages off at scene breaks, kept the pieces of scenes together with paper clips, and started reorganizing everything, moving scenes around and writing scene descriptions on separate pieces of paper in long hand (purpose, who, when, where, what happens, decision), and adding those guidelines to the cut up pieces of paper from the original scene. Doing all this, I realized I had some major flaws in chronology, which I hope my current pile of paper will correct. I’ve now started writing the new version, but I don’t have much in terms of words: only 1200 so far. And I have signed up for the Clarion West Write-a-thon again this year, with my goal being 30,000 words on A Wasted Land by the end of July. AND we will be going on vacation in a couple of weeks, so I should try to get most of those words done before that …

For the curious, here’s the cover:

I want to try to some new fast writing techniques this round anyway, testing what works for me, so it’s all a part of the plan. *g* I’ve read a lot of blog posts and Kindle Board discussions on increasing your output, and I’m at least ready to give it a shot.

No matter what I manage for the write-a-thon, my main goal for the quarter will be to finish a complete draft of A Wasted Land. I’m trying to learn from my previous publishing mistakes, and this book is planned more modestly, with fewer sub-plots, etc. I’m shooting for a first draft of no more than 50,000 words.

This quarter, I also want to do another pass of Gawain and Ragnell, make a cover, publish it, and try to make it free on Amazon.

I’ve started posting Island of Glass to Wattpad, and I want to continue testing such platforms. (Island of Glass is another priority, but I’m a firm believer in letting a work sit before rewriting.) This round, I really want to try and make the writing a priority, as long as life allows.

I have a bunch of “maybe” publishing and writing goals, but those really depend on how far I can get on A Wasted Land. Given how atrocious sales of short story collections are these days, I’ve given up on collections of my previously published stories for the time being.

I wish everyone a very successful round!

(For those who don’t have it yet, Yseult is presently on sale for only 99c.)

I Has Book Trailer! *g* (For The Pendragon Chronicles)

I got the first big thing off my horribly long to-do list today: I MADE A BOOK TRAILER!

Sorry about the yelling, but I’m ridiculously proud of myself, even though it was super easy. Anyway, here’s my major accomplishment for the week, my trailer for The Pendragon Chronicles series:

What inspired me to finally get this done was that I’m going to be having a Kindle Spotlight for Shadow of Stone in a couple of weeks, and one of the things they ask for is a link to your book trailer, if you have one.

Then – serendipity – a discussion popped up on the Kindle Boards on resouces for doing book trailers, and someone mentioned Animoto, which I had never heard of before. I’d messed with the free slide show thingie that comes with Windows, had saved all kinds of discussions about freeware that could be used for book trailers, but it all made me feel kinda overwhelmed. Where to get video clips, so it isn’t all horribly static? Would it really be worth it to buy them from iStock or elsewhere? How to decide what kinds of effects to use?

But Animoto, I learned, has styles and clips and stock photos that you can use to create your video — and it’s easy as pie. (Which isn’t all that easy, but that’s another matter.)

So yesterday I signed up for the free version of Animoto. Free membership only allows you to create a 30 second video which can’t be downloaded. Played with it for an hour and showed the result to the hubbie, and he agreed that it looked surprisingly good. Today I paid the five bucks for a one month subscription and made the video above.

A lot of the images are stock I downloaded last fall when I had a one month subscription to Shutterstock (quite an investment, but worth it). The video clip is from Animoto. I would have loved some stampeding medieval warriors, but unfortunately, they didn’t have that.

I didn’t spend ALL my free time on this — I’m also four chapters into the read through of Chameleon in a Mirror — but it’s surprising how much time such a project can eat up, even when it is super simple. 🙂

Let me know what you think. I can easily change the video and upload it again, oh joy. *g*

My ridiculously long writing to-do list (revised, 2nd quarter, 2013)

Since I’m in the terrible habit of constantly adding more projects to my plate, rather than just finishing things and crossing them off, my revised list of goals for the 2nd quarter of 2013 is very long. In my own defense, it seems like every time I finish another project, it only adds MORE work to my list rather than less (creating covers, finding editors, promotion, etc.). A lot of that will be reflected in these goals. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read the whole blasted thing. It’s mostly here for me, so at the end of the quarter I can compare what I wanted to do with what I actually did do. But the basic, overarching goal is to write (or revise) every day, except when I absolutely cannot manage it. 🙂

Writing goals

Chameleon in a Mirror:

– Fast editing pass (reading for flow)
– Send to crit partner
– Start posting to Fictionpress or Wattpad?

Island of Glass:

– Address crit concerns
– Clean up manuscript
– Send to my niece (my beta YA reader)

Ygerna:

– Write last scene
– Brainstorm missing scenes
– Finish complete first draft

A Wasted Land:

– Brainstorm character arcs for Celemon, Taliesin, Nerienda
– Add those to notes
– Finish complete first draft

Various other writing projects:

– Write another novella in the world of Looking Through Lace

– Write more short stories in the world of Rolynka, Alaska (“Tales from Far Beyond North”)

– Finish alternate Rhodes novel

– Finish YA alchemy novel

Publishing:

– Create a book trailer for The Pendragon Chronicles

– Get the rest of the Alaska stories coming out of KDP Select ready for publication in other venues

– Get my fantasy collection Story Hunger ready for publication

– Add blurbs to the beginning of my books and republish

– Finish cover and publish Oregon, Elsewise (two previously published short stories)

– Get “Shadow Artist” ready to publish on Amazon (May – four months after publication in Abyss & Apex)

– Publish “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” to Amazon and see that it goes free

– Put together a collection (or two) of my stories co-written with Jay Lake

Marketing & promotion:

– Create a trailer for The Pendragon Chronicles

– Write at least one blog post a week and try to keep up with people who comment

– Make some ad banners and set up promotion with Project Wonderful

– Post more regularly to my Facebook author page

– Update web page: publications, links

That’s what I have on my to-do list. Don’t know how much I’ll finish in the next three months, though. 🙂

Good luck to everyone in this round!

A new round of goals for the new year

I have to admit, this year I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions, not a one. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. I have plenty, and with a new Round of Words, it’s time to organize them a bit.

As usual, I’m not quite sure what I will be able to accomplish in the next 80 days, or even what will work for me going ahead, so my goals are sure to see some revising in the weeks to come. But one thing I have decided on, given my recent Fast Draft Fail — I’m returning to lower word count goals. And I am going to try to get my word count in first during my allocated writing time. Once I have my modest 500 words a day completed, then and only then will I allow myself to tackle my (horrendously) long list of business / publishing goals. (An alternate daily revision page count is still TBD.)

On to the specific goals and projects. Writing:

– Finish the novella version of “City of Glass” (Alternate history Venice / Murano with magic)

– Revise Chameleon in a Mirror and send it to my critique partner (in February!)

– Finish Ygerna

– If I suddenly transform into a writing machine and get all those projects finished, write another “Looking Through Lace” novella, rewrite my Rhodes novel, get back to Fragments of Legend and / or my alchemy novels, start brainstorming Kustennin’s story … (fat chance)

Writing business:

– Publish “The Leaving Sweater” (another story in Tales From Far Beyond North) and make it permafree

– Figure out a way to publish to the iTunes store (I don’t have a Mac that’s new enough to handle the software); upload my Mars story as a freebie; publish to Kindle and get them to price match so I’ll have a permafree story there

– Get Yseult up for Createspace so that those who want it will finally be able to buy hard copy (ditto Shadow of Stone)

– Edit web page and add links to my ebooks

– Make a book page for my blog

– Publish my “Story Hunger” collection

– Put together a collection (or two) of my stories co-written with Jay Lake

– Finish cover and publish my mini story collection “Oregon Elsewise”

Whew! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I think it’s clear I won’t be suffering from boredom any time soon. (I think I’ve said that before … I can’t remember the last time I was bored … )

Good luck to everyone on their goals in the new year!

Sorting out my goals

Like usual, I have lists and lists of things to do scattered all over my desk; now is my quarterly opportunity to compile all those lists and figure out what I really have to do.

1) Since I am still not done with Chameleon in a Mirror, getting that in shape to send to my critique partner is a top priority. Part of the problem is that it’s longer than expected. I now have over 100,000 words of Time Travel, with three chapters left to go. I’m hoping I can finish that before flying to the States to visit my family this month.

2) Get the next Alaska story, “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” (see my last post), up in time for Halloween, preferably within the next week. Since I want to participate in a Halloween group promo, this will be my first priority, seeing as it has a specific deadline.

3) Write a short story for a Kindle Boards anthology, for which I volunteered.

Those are the absolute HAVE TO DO items. Following are the goals from which I will need to choose once I’ve sent CIAM to my critique partner:

4) Write another novella in the world of Looking Through Lace.

5) Write more short stories in the world of Rolynka, Alaska.

6) Get the rest of the Alaska stories that are already written ready for publication.

7) Get my fantasy collection Story Hunger ready for publication.

8) Publish Never Ever After to B&N and Kobo.

9) Publish “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide” to Amazon and see that it goes free.

10) Write a prequel to Yseult and Shadow of Stone.

11) Brainstorm another novel in The Pendragon Chronicles.

12) Write at least one blog post a week and try to keep up with people who comment.

13) Get Yseult ready for Createspace (paperback)

14) Get Shadow of Stone ready for Createspace (paperback)

It doesn’t look like I’m going to be bored anytime soon. 🙂

I haven’t decided yet whether to participate in Nanowrimo this year, but when I look at my list, I realize I do have two projects that might work for it: I could do a couple of novellas in the world of Looking Through Lace, or I could write a prequel for The Pendragon Chronicles. Must ponder. Obviously I don’t have all my goals sorted out just yet. Hope others are farther along than me! *g*

Laid low by a virus

The best laid plans and all that … not that I can claim anything of the sort for my plans in the first place. And I knew weeks ago that I wasn’t going to finish Chameleon in a Mirror when I had originally intended. But this week, I ended up in bed with a fever, probably as a result of grandmother duties. I’m confronted with a lot more bugs these days than I was a couple of years ago.

So anyway, on to the accounting. CIAM is now at 90,000 words. I still intend to finish this draft by the end of the month. Aside from fevers and the like, things are going pretty well, so I’m hoping that by the beginning of next month, I will have to start creating completely new writing goals!

I hope everyone else is coming along swimmingly with their goals, and not being distracted by fuzzy-head-syndrome. (Another day, and I’m sure I’ll be myself again!)

First attempt at a new cover for The Future, Imperfect

My last post inspired me to get to work and make some of those goals reality. Easiest first, right? And that has to be a new cover for The Future, Imperfect, even though I’m not a graphic designer. So I went searching various stock photo sites and googled tutorials for Photoshop and found this lovely, mostly-understandable tutorial on How to Give your Photos a Distressed/Grunge Effect. I have an ancient copy of Photoshop, bought used, so the instructions in tutorials are not always easy to use, since menus change and options can be different. But the tutorial did teach me how to use textures as layers to help distort photographic images for a certain effect. And then my architect / Photoshop-expert daughter helped me with the rest. This is what we came up with:

New Cover for Future Imperfect

For comparison, here’s the previous cover:

Future_imperfect

Since my sales on The Future, Imperfect have been Utterly Dismal(tm) compared to my other titles, I will probably upload the new cover no matter what. It can’t get much worse. 🙂 But I would love feedback, if anyone cares to share!

And, ah yes, writing. I’m behind on that, but marketing matters and grandmother duties take their toll. And today Mira told me, “Oma, du bist die Beste!!” (Grandma, you’re the best!) She’s not quite two-and-half years old, and she speaks mostly in complete sentences, snapping up new vocabulary like a wildwoman, understands nearly everything I say in English, even though I only have her a couple times a week, and charms the pants off me, despite her tendency to throw the kinds of temper tantrums typical of the strong-willed. But, being a grandma, I interpret that in a positive light: she’s a little alpha gal, and no one is going to get her down. Unless it’s a spider.

A New Round of Goals

For a year now, I’ve been participating in A Round of Words in 80 Days, and it’s been amazing. I’ve published half-a-dozen ebooks, sold several stories to traditional markets, and made enough money off my writing (after a big dip in writing fortunes last year), to once again dream that I might yet be able to make it as a full-time writer. One of the sticky note on my monitor is a wonderfully practical quote from James Lee Burke to keep me grounded: “One of the things an author can always rely upon is that if he has success, it will go away from him again. When you have some success, put it in the bank because you will need it.”

Although in this day and age, who knows if the bank will still be there when you need it …

Anyway, my goals for the next 80 days:

– FINISH the new version of Chameleon in a Mirror, my Aphra Behn time travel. I’m 40,000 words in, so I think it’s doable. Yes, I thought so in the last round, but getting Shadow of Stone ready for publication took a lot more time than I expected. I don’t have any other projects that big slotted for this round, so I hope finishing CIAM and getting it off to my critique partner is fairly realistic.

– Do a new cover for The Future, Imperfect. The sales for this collection are way below that of all my other ebooks, and when I recently ran it through “Why Isn’t My Book Selling?” almost everyone said the cover was a problem — looked too much like litfic. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much …

– Get the next installment of Looking Through Lace up as ebook and brainstorm further episodes. My sf novella Looking Through Lace is one of my most popular titles, and one of the comments that frequently pops up in reviews is that readers wish there were more. Well, I have more. I once envisioned writing a series of novellas in the same world, and have quite a bit of material already. And now in this brave new world of indie publishing, I can return to it and maybe make a bit more out of all the work I put into those conlangs way back when. 🙂

– Release at least one more mini story collection of previously published fiction at 99c. The more the merrier, and the more books I have, the more often I can have a free promotion to get my name out there among the indie-reading-public.

– Revise and submit at least three short stories to traditional publications. I have too many stories I never got around to polishing and submitting, something I used to be so good about before I sold my first novel. But in the epub-world, the value of various lengths is shifting dramatically, and there is now a lot more potential income for novelette and novella-length fiction.

Good luck to all on their goals, whatever they may be!