Friday, December 6, 2013

Reader Friday: Taking Stock at Year's End

Let's take a year-end inventory of our writing. What areas of progress have you made in your writing during the past 12 months? What areas need improvement?


  1. Discipline has improved. Writing every morning is a habit now, like brushing my teeth.

    I still need to work on my organizational skills. What I do with the time allotted to promoting my book. Social media is fine if you're working it to your advantage, but when you realize you just spent four hours surfing puppy pictures, you should make an effort to step back.

    1. Cute kitten videos are my downfall, too. When I start looking for them, I know I'm just looking for ways to avoid work

  2. Overall this has been a dud year for writing. But health issues, returning to school in desperation for a career change (finally getting to take classes I enjoy!) and major stressors at current job have made writing a non-entity. But I'm okay with that. In my life I have to go through seasons for everything I do, and right now this is the winter of my writing, and it'll resume whenever it's supposed to.

    However, I DID edit one manuscript that I wrote last year and I put away for a year to cool off. So it wasn't totally without benefits.

    I don't know where writing fits into 2014. We'll see.

  3. Finished the final draft on my WIP, which I really think is "the one," the book that'll kick in the door. Now if I could just get someone to read it.

    Started a new WIP with a lot of promise, but got bogged down by job (I'm a news writer/editor, so I write constantly, but an awful lot of time I'm writing for the rent instead of for me.)

    Read a lot of great stuff. Just discovered John Green and have devoured everything of his I can find.

    But need to work on my organizational skills and getting my employer to recognize that there are times I need to write for me. Standardizing my schedule is a must. (But that's probably the definition of news, isn't it? If I could schedule it, it might not be newsworthy.)

  4. To all,
    I echo Amanda's discipline comment. I've succeeded in becoming a full-time writer. One example: I've made my muses temporarily put away their tasers by releasing four new books.
    On the other hand, I echo BK's frustration. I never seem to have all the time I'd want to write, even writing full-time. Moreover, my book promotion skills are terrible and I don't have many readers. I expect people to tell me to hire PR and marketing experts. I just don't have the money to do that. I'm also not convinced there's a good cost-to-value ratio. It seems like a vicious circle sometimes, so I just work on the next book.
    Now that I've depressed everybody, just let me say that I hope everyone stays safe over the holidays--traffic and malls are crazy!

  5. I have made writing more of a priority. I write every day now. I feel like I'm starting to better understand story structure.

    I need to get the rest of my life under better control so that I can write more and study writing more!

  6. On the plus side - finished a novel and self-pubbed a few days ago. Started the next novel before this one cleared my editor. Progress.

    The flip side - still not consistent about setting aside time. The day job intrudes, as does the concerns about putting food on the table.

    The craft - nearly everything needs to be dramatically improved. Expected with a new writer, but I've never exercised much patience with myself.

    The future - head down and keep grinding. I'm good at that and it seems a useful skill for a writer.

  7. I wrote two books this year, but I'd like to work on organizing my time. My desk looks like a landfill. I did manage to squeeze in time to write a rather dark short story. Fingers crossed it sells.

  8. How encouraging and inspiring you all are. I'm still editing my WIP and I think it's getting better and better (as opposed to not so bad). In preparation for my Big Launch (not lunch), I'm building my super-website, and that's going great. I'll be hooking up with a zillion social networks soon. I've been avoiding this like the plague. I'll start some kind of blogging, too. (sigh) All this "stuff" (aside from writing) is a lot like herding ducks, eh? But it's exciting, too. I hope to have one or more (3?) eBooks up and working before the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention 2014 in LB. My WIP is set in LB-Seal Beach-Orange County. So I better be ready, eh? See y'all there!

  9. I made a vow to myself to set goals and follow through for 2013. One was to put my work out there. I did and I had a story accepted and published by Combustion Books for their Steampunk Magazine.

    Another was to complete one of my unfinished novels (why, oh why do writers start so many stories?) I am nearly finished with the first draft of one and have full intention to complete it by the end of this month.
    Still needing attention: more confidence, more discipline, less online solitaire and social media.

  10. Well, I didn't realize it on my own, so I needed to be told the cover for my mystery The Anything Goes Girl was all wrong in terms of branding (whatever that is), and the mystery genre. It had to be changed. And then the book-formatting company I hired turned over my manuscript to someone who had never before formatted an ebook. That certainly set the old A-fib in motion. So, on balance, it's been a year given over to fixing things and learning hard lessons.

  11. I try to pick one area of improvement every year. In 2013, it was plot structure. And I think I've got a decent handle on it (thank you Mr. Bell). In 2014, I want to improve my character development. I'd also like to set a goal to read (via print and audio) 100 fiction titles. Possible with my library audio books for the drive time.

  12. I have several projects to self-publish so I'll have a big learning curve ahead.These are in addition to my ongoing series.

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  14. While I am happy to have outlined three books for my next series, and to have completed the first draft of ICE HAMMER Book 1, and to have have done a whole lot of audiobook narration there is one thing I've done this year that really stands out above the rest because in many ways it makes possible everything else.

    At 2735 hrs, on the 42nd day of the month of Gebrrrrr, after more than five years and many centuries of my cousin Leonard travelling the chrono-cosmos in my Time Machine, I finally crossed the timeroll-flux abyss over the souls of 'the not quite damned but not really blessed either so the boatman doesn't really worry about them very much' and was able to ever so briefly touch the blue-red sola-gem and elicit the celestial-giggle-of-the-soul which instantly transmitigated the primordical gel-pac and freed my hexpiritual elf-sprite into the iconosphere to enable oneness with the great cup of super-comfy cosmic cocoa with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkles.

    At least I think that's what happened .... I really looked forward to what comes next.

  15. I've put my novel writing on hold and signed up to learn new computer languages and techniques. :)

    Something I needed to do to keep up my skill where my paycheck lands. I'll catch up again when I write a successful application in my new mastered language.

  16. I would sum it up as 'close but no cigar'…yet...

  17. 1. Got some serious peer/editor recognition with the Claymore Award.

    2. That WIP has reached and passed some major milestones, but is outlined all the way to the final scene and gaining ground every day. I'm still homing in on "The End" on 12/31/2013.

    3. I now not only write for a living, but run a small community newspaper. Yes, it is just as glamorous as it sounds, I have 3500 copies of the monthly shopper in the back of my car right now, waiting to be delivered and I can't make the printer talk to the computer.

    4. Not point-on writing related, but still important. I have a warm safe dry home after last summer's hailstorm left me living in a leaky moldy hulk. Not even close to being settled, there are still 100 boxes in my carport, but I am warm and dry.

    5. Made tremendous friends and expanded my network exponentially.

    The biggest obstacle is the day jobs. Three of them to be exact. I'll be at one of them for 12 hours tomorrow, taking my lunch break to go photograph a
    Girl Scouts event.

    Still all in all, considered net/net, 2013 was a good year for words, even though it was a hateful disaster in many other ways.