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Shifting Goals

#writemotivationGood grief, how can another week of 2012 already have flown by?  But here we are at another #writemotivation check in.  I’m happy to report that I’ve maintained my resolution of writing a tweet tale every day.  And since we’re halfway through January, I think this might possibly be the longest I’ve ever kept a New Year’s resolution.  I even had two personal blog posts this week, so whoo hoo to exceeding expectations!  And even though it’s not part of my #writemotivation goals, I also wrote a bunch of very overdue posts for my movie blog, which lifted a big weight off my shoulders.  So that brings up the big question…have I done any work on my novel WIP?

After last week’s post where I got more honest than I anticipated about my fear of failure, I was bolstered by the support of old and new writer friends and finally read through my WIP again.  It was great for reminding me how much I love my characters and story, but it also showed me there’s more to be fixed than I can squeeze into the time before the Amazon novel contest.  So I decided I’m not going to try to rush a rewrite for the contest.  I’m going to really dig in and identify what’s not working and the best way to fix it.  I made a few notes on my initial read, but now I need to dive back in with the red pen and really go to town.

But since I won’t be frantically pushing myself toward the Amazon deadline, some of my creative bandwidth has been freed up.  So I’m adding two new items to my #writemotivation goals for January: entering the Highlights fiction contest and a Glimmer Train contest.  For the Highlights contest, I’ll need to write a new story based on a newspaper headline; and for the Glimmer Train contest, I’m going to rewrite one of my NYCM flash pieces.  The deadline for both is January 31st.

Part of me worries that turning my attention to these two short stories is just another way to procrastinate revising my novel.  But I love writing short stories, and I have a better chance at doing well in these two contests than I do rushing my novel through a rewrite for Amazon.  And writing is writing, so I've decided that any I do is a very good thing . . . even if the underlying motive is procrastination!

Hope you all are making great progress with your 2012 goals!

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?  Have your goals shifted after these first two weeks?  Am I cheating by changing my goals or is it good strategy to keep things realistic?

Fear is Not an Option

It’s Monday, which means it’s time for a #writemotivation check in.  It also means it’s been a week since I posted my New Year’s resolutions.  So how am I doing?  Well, this blog post means I have successfully posted once a week for the first two weeks of 2012.  I have also written a tweet tale every day and am having lots of fun with it.  Hooray for small victories!  

The bad news is I STILL have not started the rewrite of The Hunt, so now it’s only two weeks until the Amazon contest deadline.  But that’s not really the bad part because I can always submit it as is.  The bad part is WHY I can’t make myself start.  I have friends and family encouraging me.  I’ve met incredible new people through #writemotivation who are waving their pom poms furiously.  And I WANT to rewrite it.  I love this little story, and I think it has shot, but I know it needs a bit of spit and polish before it’s ready.  But I just can’t start the rewrite.
 
It almost feels like there is a physical wall blocking me.  I open my laptop and stare at the screen, but I can’t make myself double click on the document.  I also have a printed version sitting on my desk, which I look at multiple times a day, but I can’t make myself pick it up.  It’s frustrating.
 
I was a psych major, and I’ve had enough heart-to-hearts with the people in my life to know what the problem is: fear of failure.  I’ve rewritten The Hunt several times already, so I know this last rewrite will be THE ONE.  Once it’s done, I’ll have no more excuses not to start querying.  And we’ve all heard the stories about J.K. Rowling and Kathryn Stockett – even bestsellers are rejected a heart-numbing number of times.  So as long as I have a manuscript that needs “just one last rewrite” then I can’t be rejected.  I can’t be unsuccessful. I can’t fail.
 
But the truth is, this limbo of not finishing is the worst kind of failure.  To not be willing to take the chance . . . to have taken these characters so far and then abandon them this close to the finish line is a betrayal: of my story, of my craft, of myself.  I recently saw a quote from James Cameron that said, “Failure is an option, but fear is not,” and I need to always keep this at the front of my mind.  Since I’ve finally reached the point where I am beyond disgusted with myself, I’m hoping it’s the breakthrough I need to make myself start.  It will only take rewriting one sentence to get the editing ball rolling.  So please excuse me while I go open a certain word document. . . .
 
What challenges do you face when it’s time to rewrite a novel?  Do you struggle with fear of failure?  If so, how do you deal with it? 

My ‘Do More Writing in 2012’ Resolutions

When I look back at 2011, I accomplished some pretty big things.  I finished my first short film Saying Goodbye, which is screening at film festivals around the country and has won several awards.  I won another grant to make a new short film called High Heels and Hoodoo, which we’ve almost completed.  And I had a childhood dream come true when my story "Seeking a Hidden Hive" was published in Highlights magazine.  I am so grateful for these things, and my face goes into automatic grin mode when I think about them.  

The only problem is I didn’t actually do much writing in 2011.  Those accomplishments were set in motion with writing I did in 2010 or even earlier.  While I did adapt High Heels and Hoodoo into a screenplay in early 2011, I wrote the short story it was based on in 2010, so I’m not sure that even counts.  I did plenty of other things that needed to get done, including finally starting this blog after dilly-dallying for far too long, but it’s now time to get serious about my fiction writing.  

I hereby declare 2012 my year for prolific writing!  

However, I attended enough management seminars during my years in the corporate world to know a vague objective like write more isn’t going to cut it (in fact, the procrastination imp camped out inside me is currently doubled over in hysterical laughter).  I need specific goals to keep me accountable, so here they are:

  • Write one blog post each week.  Ideally I’d like to blog more often, but I want to keep these goals attainable so I don’t fail the very first week.
  • Each month rewrite at least one short story I wrote for NYCM contests, research appropriate places for publication, and submit them.  It’s an affront to my muse to leave those stories sitting on my hard drive, and she’s moody enough as it is.
  • Submit The Hunt to betas, collect feedback, and do a final rewrite to be ready to query agents by June.
  • Rewrite The Spirits Within (my current WIP screenplay) in time for the PAGE screenwriting contest on March 31st. 
Too much to do!These goals might end up being too aggressive, since we’ll have a lot going on with both movies in terms of film festivals and marketing, but I need to push myself.  And fortunately I’ll have cheerleaders in my corner for the month of January.  I met K.T. Hanna during the last platform building campaign, and she is a generous spirit – always the first to offer fellow writers much needed encouragement.  So it’s no surprise she started #writemotivation month for a group of writers to cheer each other on toward our January goals.  I’m looking forward to meeting everyone, and I’ve pulled out my fluffiest pom poms.  
 
And since today is the first check-in Monday for #writemotivation progress, I’m happy to report I wrote tweet tales for the first two days, and this post meets my blog post a week goal.  Hooray!  The bad news is I have yet to crack open the novel WIP.  I’m not sure where to start (yeah, I know, at the beginning), but hopefully I’ll venture into the void tonight.
 
I hope 2012 is off to a great start for everyone, and I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year!
 
What are your resolutions for 2012?  What writing projects are you excited about?  Any tips for a rewrite that just doesn’t want to happen?