Yes, yes, I know it’s the first day of September. But it’s a new year for students, so let’s get on the bandwagon with them and think about what we want to accomplish over the next several months. Especially with RWA National coming to Atlanta next year. If I know the ladies and gentlemen of GRW, they started planning for this two years ago and are already well under way into making 2013 National the best conference ever.
So that being said, What are you doing to get ready for National? What goals have you set that are yet unmet? What do you want to accomplish? Let’s take a look at the gentle art of goal setting.
1. Identify your publishing “house.” These days, that could be an e-publisher. Make sure you know what they’re looking for and their requirements. Easy enough, right? On to…
2.Finish what you start. Start small. If you want to write a series, complete the first one. That doesn’t mean if you get ideas for the next books, you won’t write them down. But too many people see the BIG Picture, create characters and worlds, and never get there. So finish project one. DECIDE on a project and work on it until it’s finished. To paraphrase a Chinese proverb, Every series starts with Book Number One.
3. Making time to write. You know your schedule and the demands life is making on you. Some things you can’t avoid. But some things you can. Keep the TV off(OK, football can’t always wait)cook in advance. don’t check your e-mail while writing and stay off the phone.
Set a certain period of time, the number of times you will write each week and how many words you’ll write. (Words turn into pages, and that means progress!)That second book will never be done if you don’t finish the first. Remember, write, write, write!
4. Take care of your health. I can’t stress this enough. Having recently become a “gym rat” again(Boy, do I love Zumba!)I think I can already tell the benefits. Many health articles claim exercise will help improve sleep and concentration. And boy, do we authors need concentration! If your health problems are serious, please talk to your doctor. National is ten months away. Imagine enjoying it in better health. If you’ve never been to RWA National, you’ll need all the stamina you can get!
5. Learn To Love Your Writing (Again)Many writers fall out of the habit of writing. The reasons are as varied and as many as there are writers. We stop, and enough time goes by we dread going back to it. Which is the best reason of all to stay with it. If you don’t like the way the story is going, you have the benefit of hundreds of websites that can help suggest ways of doing things differently. Use them. Don’t be wedded to just one version of the story. Start it in a different place or from another person’s POV. You may create a stronger, even better story. Because if you don’t love your story and your characters, no one else will. Make no mistake, writing is hard, solitary work and we often want to do anything but write. Laundry and scrubbing the bathroom floor sometimes take on more appeal when it comes to wrestling our ideas onto paper. But do it anyway. You’re a writer. That’s what you do.
Because in the end, if you don’t love writing, why are you doing it?