2020 Goals and Plans

Well, hello there blog. It’s that time of year again where we pick up the WriYe Blogging Circle again… Just in time to talk about our goals and plans for the upcoming year!
What’s your WriYe Word Count goal for 2020? Why did you chose it?
My word count goal for 2020 is 200,000 words. The reason I chose this goal this year is because I plan on writing two complete novels this year, both with projected word counts of 90,000 words. That along brings my total up to 180,000, but then there are things like genre stretch, a shared collaborative project that my writing group and I are working to get off the ground soon, and any other sort of random writing decides to grab my attention this year… So, I figured an extra 20k wouldn’t be terribly hard to come by.
What are your plans for the year? What do you want to accomplish with your writing?
My plans for the year are pretty intense and scary, if I’m being entirely honest. The “easiest” of my goals is writing two complete novels. In quotes because I know writing a full novel is never as easy as my brain wants me to think it is. It doesn’t matter that I’ve finished several in my life already, each book is a wildly different experience and some are much more difficult than others. The two I’m working on this year brings my most familiar / oldest character (Audrey) to the forefront and finishes up her story. I’m expecting the novel I’m starting off the year with to be the easier of the two because I know 100% what happens and where the novel needs to go. The emotions in the novel are easier to access… But the other novel? The final in her trilogy? Well, that story is much less clear-cut and there are aspects of it that are just completely foreign to me. So, we’ll see how that one comes out.

Then is the editing. I’m looking to edit at least 3 novels this year. Two are already in various stages of editing already (one is getting ready to go to betas for the FINAL edit, one is in the process of going from the first to second draft) and the third is a novel that is still being written. This is honestly probably the stage I’m looking forward to the most. I like taking things that are already written and making them into something much more interesting to read and playing with the way specific words sound.

But, the scariest part of all of my writing goals in 2020? Is finally starting the publishing process with my Lazy Tequila Afternoons series. There’s obviously a lot that goes into that whole process that I’ll be going into here throughout the year. I’m currently finishing up the last bit of the line edits I did on the novel over the summer, then by the end of the month, I’ll have it out to my lovely beta readers for them to tear apart… All the while working hard to do all of the other steps alongside the day job. I have big plans and such for this, but I’ll go through that in a dedicated post soon. Just know that there’s a lot of (positive) nervous energy around that right now.

 

Bonus:
What are you most looking forward to in 2020?
The thing that I am most looking forward to in 2020 is actualizing my dreams. I’ve wanted to publish / be published for a long, long time. I’m also really excited to get to work (hopefully) with friends in a lucrative and creative way.

Reflection: Write Like a Pro

After a long 10 weeks of a challenge, Write Like a Pro (WLaP) has come to an end. I’m not sure how successful it was as a site-wide challenge, but it was interesting enough within my personal writing group, so at least it was a semi-success? I know it was long and people were unsurprisingly unwilling to give up their opportunity to sleep in on their days off from their day-jobs, so that definitely hurt the challenge a little. But, there were a handful of people who tried to do the single day each week, so overall, I’m calling it a win. Will I run it again? Probably not. But it was a fun summer experiment that served the exact purpose that I wanted it to serve — figuring out when, where, and how I prefer to write and helping me to start to figure out what an “ideal day” would look for me as a full time writer.

It helped me confirm something I’ve always known: I am a morning person. Through and through. Which works well because apparently most non-substance-abusing writers are also morning people. Maybe it’s because they want to still appear to be humans, rather than vampires, maybe it’s because they’ve read and believe the studies that people are scientifically more productive once they’re accustomed to waking up earlier, maybe it’s because in order to get things done, they’ve decided to actually get up and treat writing like a serious, full time job. Regardless of the reason, the majority of the “known” writing schedules started before 7am. Which was not ideal for my summer vacation mindset, waking up to an alarm on the weeks that were earlier than 6am, but… For the challenge, it was worth it.

It also helped me learn that I do best with a short burst of writing and then a break for some sort of physical activity. Don’t be fooled, I’m no Murakami, running a 10k daily, but working out and getting some sort of physical activity in was surprisingly helpful for my creative process.

And lastly, something the final week taught me was… I do not have the brain power to be creative at work all day and then turn around and be creative at home. If I weren’t completely starting from scratch this year at work, I’m fairly confident that would be different. Unfortunately, this year, that wasn’t in the cards for me. Maybe I’ll try Kafka’s schedule again another time when I’m a little more equipped to split my mental capacity between multiple different endeavors (which, I actually am doing technically, teaching 3 brand new classes, but that’s beside the point).

Now, the real end goal from this is going to be coming up with an ideal writing week. So… I’m still working on coming up with my own, but that’s a thing for everyone to look forward to.

What’s your ideal writing schedule?

August Knows Best

We’ve all heard “Write What You Know.” What do you think? Truth or fallacy?
Is there an option for both? Because I’m going with both. #OwnVoices is a genre for a reason. And right now? When the world seems like it’s quickly going up in flames and headed off the side of a cliff simultaneously, while the only possible course to fix it is by understanding each other and showing compassion? Yeah, writing what you know is more important than ever. But, that in and of itself is a double-edged sword. What if you end up outing yourself / someone? What if feelings are hurt when the truth is put down on paper? Relationships can crumble under the pressure, the reality you know falling apart around you.
And, maybe an even harsher reality: what happens if all the agents you submit to reject you and no one wants to hear your side of the story after all?
Writing books is painful. Especially when you’re writing what you know. But that’s also part of what makes it so great.
Of course, that’s also assuming you have a story to tell. Maybe you’re just an average person with an average life doing average things. Should you create a novel / character based around your life if you’re just sitting around your house watching TV and going to your 9-5 job? Probably not. There’s enough of that in the real world that I can’t imagine a book really being able to find and fill a need in that niche. So, for those people, I encourage them to get a hobby, go out and see the world, and pull pieces from those experiences into the novel you’re wanting to write.
Do you have to live in a city to set a novel there? No, of course not. Does it help to build authenticity? Absolutely. Do you need to get a job as an accountant to write a novel with a protagonist who is one? No. That’s what research is for. With information being easier than ever to obtain online, you don’t have to go out and experience those things to be able to write about them effectively. It will always help, of course, but as long as you’re good at your job researching and finding editors / betas to help nitpick the small stuff?  There’s not a desperate need to do it.
Bonus:

Do you write what you know?
A little bit yes, a little bit no. With locations, I tend to write about places I’ve either lived or spent enough time visiting that I felt like a local in the time I was there. I want to know where the weird bumps in the sidewalk are from tree roots pushing them up or about the way a certain traffic light always knocks up against a branch if the wind blows hard enough. But I don’t have to live there to experience those things. A visit is enough for me. Sometimes, Google Maps / Streetview also works — or serves as a decent reminder if I’ve forgotten.
I listen to people’s conversations or watch them in the streets and make up background stories for them in my head. Both of those things get adopted into my novels. But that person up above who just sits in their apartment and goes to work? That’s me. I’m boring and okay with it. But my life as it is right now? Wouldn’t make the best novel (unless I wrote about my day job. That would be heartbreaking, honestly) for anyone other than me. So, sure. There are bits and pieces from my every day life mixed in, but I don’t rely on just the things I know. Research is great.

August Plans and Goals

August is a very busy month for me. To the point where several times during the month, I will forget to eat and accidentally skip up to a third of the meals I’m meant to be eating. With that said, my goals writing-wise are very minimized compared to last month’s progress.

August Goals:

  • Get through first 25% of edits (85 pages)
  • Keep working on putting paper edits of SoL into the computer
  • Finish watching / working through the Publish and Thrive courses (Modules 4 & 5)
  • Add 10 completed pages to the Lazy Tequila Afternoons story binder
  • Update the “books” section of my website.

That’s it. Very low pressure, not a lot to focus on because honestly? Getting through the month of August at the day job is more than enough to work on and survive at this point.

I’m hoping as time goes on to be able to slowly incorporate more writing / loftier editing goals into my daily routine, but not in August.

And, similar to the goal list, today’s post is short and simple. Hope that’s okay with everyone and I’ll see you next week!

Happy Birthday, Harry! A Harry Potter Fandom Tag

Seeing as this post is going up on Wednesday, July 31st — Harry Potter’s birthday — and Elizabeth Szubert tagged me to complete this tag. It also seemed fitting, having just had the most successful writing week in my 2019 using the HP Word Crawls and following JKR’s writing routine. Plus, so much of who I am as a writer can be credited to all of the fanfic I wrote in high school (a large chunk of which was Harry Potter!) and a lot of the reason why I love reading as much as I do is, I’m sure, because I started reading Harry Potter in 8th grade, so… It’s as much a part of my writing life / journey as any other aspect. And now, on with the tag!

1. What House are you in? Slytherin — ambitious, cunning, manipulative, and always looking out for my #1 (me. that would be me.)

2. What is your Patronus? I go between three animals for this, so I’m not completely sure. It’s either a SharPei, a cow, or a manatee (according to Pottermore it’s a fox, but… IDK I’m not feeling that. Plus, I just Googled a list of all the potential answers and NONE of those are even on the list. But, I retook the quiz and tied with a Newfoundland and an Adder. Both of which I accept much more than a fox.).

3. What is your wand? According to Pottermore: Hawthorn wood with a unicorn hair core, 10″ and unyielding flexibility. Which tells people that I’m complex and intriguing, good at curses, and going through a period of turmoil (which I guess means my life is always in turmoil, since you don’t really “grow out” of your wand…). The wand is also difficult to master and shows that I’m a beast at tackling my skills.

4. What would your boggart be? A spider. 100%.

5. What position would you play in Quiddich? Spectator. 😉

6. Would you be a pure-blood, half-blood, or muggle born? Pureblood. Duh.

7. What job would you want after leaving Hogwarts? I honestly don’t know. I feel like JKR didn’t really explore realistic wizarding career options. Like, it almost felt kinda classist — you’re either working for the Ministry (the government), are an Auror (the military), or are a teacher (which, also can be partially the government, especially if Umbridge is any indication). Anything else mentioned for adults was basically shopkeeps in Hogsmeade / Knockturn Alley / Diagon Alley or working with dragons. I guess, if you drew the most like my current job, I would be teaching at Hogwarts, but I feel like in the wizarding world, I’d go for a slightly more outlandish job first… And then settle into teaching later in life. Kinda like I did IRL.

8. Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose? Invisibility Cloak, hands down. I don’t want to live forever and I’m happy with just a standard wand TYVM. To be invisible? Worth more than anything in the world.

9. Favorite book? Half-Blood Prince. I felt like it was the book that the writing was best executed and there were more plot arcs being completed than ignored, like the majority of the rest of the books. It also felt like it was deliberate instead of just tossed in to hopefully be interesting and creating a bunch of plot holes. I actually feel like HBP was one of those first ideas JKR had when dreaming up this series and that’s why it works so well.

10. Least favorite book? Chamber of Secrets. Several reasons, honestly. There were a lot of plot devices thrown in that weren’t fully explained / happened at way too convenient of a time to feel legitimate (flying car, the phoenix, its tears, the sword, the diary, Parseltongue…) and I just don’t like sloppy writing. This was also one of the books where I honestly felt like it was strange that they kept having school in that building and just kinda let the children handle the adults’ problems when they really shouldn’t… And then, the biggest issue? Spider. Giant spider. And lots of little ones.

11. Favorite film? None of them? They’re all terrible. No, seriously, they are. But, if I have to pick the least terrible of them? Deathly Hallows, pt. 2. I’d prefer ton consider both parts as one movie, but I feel like people would see that as cheating, so we’ll go with part 2. It was the only one that seemed to handle things in even a remotely complex way and the changes made were more or less logical.

12. Least favorite film? Prisoner of Azkaban. I am not anti-change when books are adapted to movies. However, I am anti completely ignoring a book even existed and just using a vague likeness to both plot and character and making money off the popularity of an intellectual property… Yeah. PoA is a terrible movie. Down to the very last frame (which honestly, might be the WORST part).

13. Favorite character? Ugh, this is maybe the hardest question in this tag. My default answer to this is Snape because I love a tortured soul, no matter how problematic. But I also adore both Sirius and Regulus Black. And Grindelwald (not the pushover in the movies — the real one that we read about in the books)… So yeah. One of those.

14. Least favorite/most hated character? Harry. I know, I know — hot takes. But, I swear the boy is celebrated as this prodigy of a wizard and he takes credit for all of it… When really he did nothing. His MOM defeated Voldemort. Hermione comes up with most of their plans. Ron carries out most of the aforementioned plans, comes up with the resources to complete them, or pushes Harry into things, at the very least. He stumbles upon things by complete accident — including relationships with basically everyone — and is just this completely unlikable brat… But yet everyone is absolutely head-over-heals in love with / impressed by him. Except Snape. And he doesn’t even dislike him for the right reasons! Harry is basically the textbook definition of a Gary Stu and not a damn person seams to mind, other than me.

15. Favorite teacher at Hogwarts? Tie between Slughorn and Snape. What can I say? I like Potions teachers and Slytherin heads of houses.

16. Least favorite teacher at Hogwarts? I know everyone’s expecting this answer to be Umbridge, but I don’t count her as a teacher. She was an appointed government official inside of a school. So, my real least favorite teacher? Lockhart. There is very little in the world that makes me angrier than people using teaching for fame and glory. Or going into the profession to swindle people out of money. Trust me. I could rant for hours about TeacherGram / TeacherTubers…

17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series? You mean other than the fact that I hate the titular character? Or the fact that I think JKR is actually really terrible at executing her ideas / writing her novels? Don’t get me wrong — she is absolutely brilliant and her world building was amazing (at least until she decided to be “woke” and change things up because she “totally meant it that way from the start LULZ”)… Her ideas are good, but they needed to be ironed out a little bit more before being shared with the world. But, about the series itself? Other than absolutely hating Harry, I’m pretty sure most of my opinions fall pretty in-line with most people’s?

You tell me — anything in this tag get you fired up? Let’s debate Harry Potter in the comments, if so! Or, if you’d like to participate in this tag yourself, consider yourself tagged. 😉