Filtering by Tag: new year

2015: Best Year Ever?

It’s New Year’s Eve. This time tomorrow, we will be at the start of a brand new year. Can you believe it? 2015 is almost gone, never to be seen again.

I hope your year was filled with all things that were good. I know mine was.

From start to finish, my 2015 was a lesson in changing and learning and growing. On a big picture level, there are a few things that stand out:

I wrote. A lot. Like, a lot, a lot.

At the beginning of the year, I attended a writing conference put on by the fabulous Capital City Writers Association, called Write on the Red Cedar. It was, hands down, the best conference I have ever been to. I paid extra for a workshop with Donald Maass, and, OMG guys, I learned so much. I went in to the workshop with my completed NaNoWriMo novel (the sequel to the one I had finished the year before), and when I left, I had a plan for rewriting the entire last half. That workshop was a game changer for the way I write.

As a side note, the CCWA is doing another conference in January, and this year's headliner is Bob Mayer. Interested? Ya better hurry. They're almost sold out!

So, I rewrote the last half of that book and turned it in to my wonderful writing group. The verdict? It was a solid first draft with minimal issues. The entire experience—writing that book, attending the conference, rewriting half of the book—guys, it changed me. As I’ve mentioned before, I spent a LONG time working on one book. Over and over and over and…well, you get the picture. I wrote that book so many times. I was stuck in a loop. When I decided to write something new last November, I had no idea how it was going to change me.

In about March, armed with notes from my writing group for revisions, I cracked open my manuscript, ready to revise. Only…I couldn’t. Because I had learned so much about writing and about my abilities as a writer, I knew I had to go back. I had to go back to that FIRST book. If I was going to present the two novels I had written as a series, then I had to rewrite book one. It didn’t match the tone, the voice, the everything of book two. So, with a sharp edge of hesitance, of nervousness, I rewrote book one. 

In July, I had MAJOR SURGERY!!!!! My gallbladder had been trying to kill me for a while and so I finally got that sucker yanked out. Life has been much less painful since.

I finished my rewrite somewhere around mid-August, and threw the whole thing to my writing group. At this point, it wasn’t even a rewrite. It was an entirely new book. The character names were the only constants between the new and old. And it was the right decision. My group loved it—of course, there were suggestions to make it better, but overall…I couldn’t have asked for a better critique.

From September to October, while putting together a plan of action for revisions, I went back to school. I finished one class before I decided that now was not the right time. I was finally onto something with my writing, I was excited, passionate, confident about it for the first time in forever, and I didn’t want to split my time between writing and school. It was a hard decision to make, because I don’t have much left for my Bachelor’s degree, and we all know writing ain’t a logical career choice (at least if you’re looking to quit your day job). But in the end, I had to follow my heart, and my heart was with the writing. It always has been.

So, I withdrew from school. One of these days, I’ll get back to it, finish up that degree. Hopefully by then, I’ll have a few published books under my belt.

Also in October, I took my first solo trip. I flew to New Jersey to spend a week with my best and oldest friend and her family. Jersey was beautiful, her boys were beautiful, and I finally got to see the ocean! 

It was a wonderful trip, and it gave me a confidence I needed to know that I COULD travel solo. Because that is a huge dream of mine: to hop on a plane aimed for Europe and see everything on my own. Now I know that I don’t suck at traveling.

In November, I started a new book. I didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo, but I got damn close. And by the end of the month, I had 42k’s worth of a new draft I was excited and passionate about. The third book in my series was well on its way.

Not to mention, my writing lobster and I rang in the end of NaNoWriMo the best way possible—in a cabin in the woods, no wifi for miles. It was gorgeous and inspiring. It has since been decided that this must become a tradition.

Now, at the end of December, the end of 2015, I have not added to my NaNo word count. Instead, I’ve spent the month rearranging what I wrote in November. Once I’ve got everything in its place, I’ll finish writing the book (even though I don’t have an outline, so I don’t know how it all ends), and then I’ll move on to revisions—for all three books. Because that’s not crazy or anything…

So…yeah. That was my year in a nutshell. 2015 just might be my most favorite year so far. 2016 is going to give it a run for its money, though. Which, let’s be honest, is a good place to be in.

Stay tuned for a “things I’m going to do in 2016” post.

How was your 2015? Do you have any big plans for 2016?

Goodbye, 2012

There are roughly four and a half hours until 2012 comes to a close. How was your year? Did you accomplish all you'd hoped to? Did you learn a few lessons, take a few falls, learn to pick yourself up, dust off and move on?

What about your writing? Did you finally finish that novel you've been working on? Did you get through the muck of revisions and come out on the other side with a shiny, beautiful draft? Did you finally dip your toes in the querying waters?

It's this time of year that I usually recap my goals from last year and determine whether or not I made them. Well, I looked back at my Revolutions post from last year and...I didn't make any. Weird, huh?

So instead of my usual New Year's post, I thought I'd share with you what I've accomplished this year, and what I hope to accomplish next year.

One of the biggest things I accomplished in 2012 was getting my driver's license. It took me years to get over my fear of getting behind the wheel, and in March, I finally passed my road test. Now, I drive all over town. I can't believe it took me so long, and I definitely can't imagine going to back to living without it!

Over the Summer, I joined a writing group, Pigasus Pen. It's my first one, and I cannot fathom being in a different one. The three girls in my group are all wonderful and amazingly talented and genuinely nice people. I've already learned so much from each of them, and I look forward to every one of our meetings in 2013. May the year bring The End to each of our stories and the beginning to new ones, as we send our babies out into the world. Thank you, Jeannie, Christina & Victoria for all your knowledge and patience and talent. And thank you for sharing this writing journey with me. I am lucky to have you ladies!

As a result of my wonderful writing group, I have made a ton of progress on my Work-in-Progress. You know the one. The five-plus-years-in-progress novel, that's gone through many different phases, from Harlequin-esque to slapstick to a workable contemporary romantic comedy. I have learned a lot throughout writing this particular story, and even more once I started sharing it with my group. It's changed POVs, Chapter One's, and Scene Order, just in the last six months. I'm getting somewhere, though. I can feel it. And I can't wait to read the final product!

Dana and I started house hunting last month. It's something we've wanted for a long time and, after five years together, we've finally taken the steps necessary to find our forever home. We haven't found The One yet, but we're confident that we will -- soon, hopefully. The lease on our rental is up in March and we refuse to renew. Refuse!

I think that sums up the high points of 2012 for me -- a great year, I'd say!

As for 2013...what does it have in store? What would I like to accomplish? Hmm...

Firstly, I'd like Dana and I to find the perfect house for us and get all settled in by March.

Secondly, I'd like to pass the gosh darn math class I'm taking this upcoming semester. It's the last credit I need to obtain my Associate's Degree. Then, I'd like to get started on my Bachelor's.

As for my writing goals...I'd like to keep on the track that I'm on right now, with regular revisions and continuous improvement. I'd like to come up with an outline for the novel that's been niggling in the back of my mind for the last few months. And I'd like to read more than I did this year.

I have also decided to steal an idea I saw online somewhere. I'm starting Good Things Jar - each time something good happens, we'll write it down on a slip of paper and put it in the jar. On New Year's Eve next year, we'll pull them out and read them. I think it's a cool idea, and I can't wait to fill the jar!

Those goals sound feasible, right?

So, what about you? What are your goals for 2013? Let's hear 'em!

Writing Resolutions

I purchased a cheap planner from Target last week while I was out finishing Christmas shopping, and I plan to use it to track my writing progress. On the first page, I made a list of my writing goals for 2010. They include:

1. Write at least 500 words a day. (Much more feasible than the 1667 that I did this past November)
2. Finish NaNo '09 project. (My poor pregnant MC needs to have that baby!)
3. Revise NaNo '09 project. (It needs to NOT suck when I get my CreateSpace copy!)
4. Finish the Tierney/Jack story. (This is the one I've been working on for years. This is the year I finish it. I swear it!)
5. Revise said story. (For peace of mind, if nothing else, this project needs to be done.)
6. Plan NaNo '10 project. (No last-minute scribbles of plot points on scraps of paper again!)
7. Do at least one "mini-NaNo" before November. (Maybe use it to finish one of the above.)
8. Go to writing groups regularly. (They help make me a more productive writer.)
9. Read more books. (Yes, books. Not just magazines or blogs. But real, actual BOOKS!!)
10. Write in journal or blog daily.

There, 10 goals for 2010. I am determined. I am serious. I am 100% dedicated to getting back into the swing of things. I am a writer.





And I will write, damn it!