2005 GDRs Revisited
Original Responses are in blue; results are in red.
Where do you want to be with your writing in the long-term?
I want to work in a variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction. I want to write whatever interests me and be paid well enough to have both financial security AND financial freedom.
That still holds.
Where are you with your writing now?
I am doing an ever-widening variety of writing, but I need to raise the income level.
The variety has widened. Now the income has to go up.
What project did you leave unfinished last year that you need to finish for your own peace of mind?
The biggest priority is to revise and market the first hockey book, Clear the Slot.
I wasn’t ready to work on it – for many reasons. Now, it’s pulling at me. So that becomes a priority for 2006.
Once that is done, I need to get back to work on Periwinkle.
I did some work on it, but it kept getting pushed to the back of the line. It’s now further up in the queue, and I hope to give it the attention it deserves earlier in the year, rather than later.
The two most important projects to work on/finish at least in first draft form are Ransagh and Intricacies of a Labyrinth.
I finished the first draft of Volume I of Ransagh and realized that the overall story needed to be three volumes, not one. The second and third volumes are back in the queue. This piece is unique because I must write the first draft of all three books before I can go back and edit. It’s a big undertaking. It’s in the queue behind Periwinkle, which becomes the priority as Fix-It Girl and Shallid are complete.
Depending upon the time and the paid writing gigs, the following are also waiting in the wings to be completed and demand attention:
Change on the Fly
The Curse of the Moon-Faced Clock
The Cooking Cure
There are others, but these are the priorities.
None of these got any attention this year, except for The Cooking Cure, which I decided to leave set in pre-Katrina New Orleans.
What creative goals do you want to achieve over the next year?
Continue with the serials - did so until I left KIC.
Write 3 novels – wrote the first volume of Ransagh; wrote the novella Elusive Prayers; wrote half of The Fix-It Girl and more than half of Shallid.
Write 1 article per week - sometimes I wrote more; sometimes less. It certainly did not average out to be 52 articles. That was not an intelligent goal. The article goal needs to be more about supply and demand than simply cranking it out.
Write 2 short stories per month – I wrote several short stories this year, and revised others. However, I don’t believe it added up to 24 short stories. Had I not spent so much time and energy on the serials, I probably would have met this goal.
Write 1 or 2 plays over the course of the year – I did the first act of Three Artifacts.
Expand the business writing – started this, but not enough. Splitting the DE site and the Fearless Ink site to deal with each type of writing will help.
Expand the workshops, coaching and manuscript critique areas of the business – did some of this, but, again, not enough.
Write columns – “Literary Athlete” is back up; the weekly Scruffy Dog Review Blog entry might as well be a column; Kemmyrk needs to become a column.
Investigate radio work - I’ve come up with a solid list. Now I need to pursue it.
In addition, there are three far-reaching publications I want to crack: Glimmer Train, Espresso Fiction and Woman’s Weekly. This is interesting. I stopped submitting to GT because I felt my new material didn’t suit them; I stopped submitting to EF, but yesterday happened across their revised guidelines and now may submit some work; as for the latter, the only reason I wanted to crack it was for the money – I don’t like the publication. And I think that showed in my work.
I also want to find homes for all unpublished stories/articles that are sitting around unsubmitted; either that or decide which need to be “retired” and do so. I did some of that, but it’s a long process, and it is not complete.
What financial goals do you want to achieve over the next year? Yearly? Monthly? Weekly? (Note: There is no need to post this information, but you should have a figure that you feel comfortable with in your own notes).
I didn’t hit anywhere near this. And the only person I can blame is myself. I used the serials as an excuse not to be more aggressive about pursuing higher-paying work.
What steps do you see necessary in your life to achieve these goals?
Limit the backstage theatre work – I did this, but, without pushing harder in the business writing, it bit me in the butt.
Market the business writing more aggressively – I got behind on this in the first month and never caught up.
Widen the audience – this I did; and the audience continues to widen.
Research more markets – this I did. Now, in addition, I have to sort them and realistically look at the markets to see with which I’m a good match.
Each month, pick one step and work on it.
January is about marketing.
Because I fell behind early on, everything needed to be about marketing, but I never caught up.
What will make you refer to yourself, first and foremost, as “writer”?
Still holds true.
What steps do you need to take on the technical front to achieve your goals (such as improving spelling, grammar, and a general widening of skills)?
A copyediting refresher.
10. What steps do you need to take on the creative front to achieve your goals?
Not be afraid of working in unfamiliar genres or crossing genres.
I’m better at it, but still need to build more confidence. And that is only done through writing.
11 .What changes do you need to make in your daily life (interaction with friends, family, job) to make this work?
Figure out e-mail schedule to stay on top of the mail without wasting the most energetic part of my day on the e-mail – I’m better at this, but still don’t quite have the system I need in place yet.
Schedule filing and organization time so that I stay on top of it all – Made a huge leap with this one.
Don’t forget to leave room in for fun – too regimented a schedule and I start to sabotage myself. That includes not giving up the yoga the minute I get busy. I tend to let self-care go by the way side first – it’s a form of punishment when I don’t feel I’m working hard enough. That has to stop.
Build up more physical stamina so that I don’t wear out so quickly at the keyboard. Still not where I want it.
What marketing steps do you need to achieve your goals?
More aggressive marketing, especially for the serials and the business writing. –Serials are moot. Business writing must be pushed.
Polish the business package/portfolio – didn’t do enough here; a good website is the first step.
Build my prospect list and go after them – I started to build a good list, but didn’t pursue it.
Create a direct mail piece for the serials and send it out – this is now moot.
More ads/direct mail in general – have to invest in the proper tools to do so; can’t do that without the money coming in to justify it.
Utilize libraries and reading groups – I have to have something to entice them. Since the serials are no longer available, this must be redefined.
How much time each day do you vow to devote to your writing?
4-6 hours on creative work – easily.
2-3 hours for business/marketing/research – didn’t stick to this and must.
After all, if the bulk of the energy is not used on the creative work, there won’t be anything to market.
With what new type of writing will you experiment in the coming year?
Food writing – didn’t do enough.
Research Shakespeare’s life - yes
Research the court of Henry VIII -- yes
Also began the research for the whaling saga. And I expanded the travel writing.
What new non-writing interest do you wish to add to your life this year?
I’d like to explore painting. Didn’t.
I want to revitalize my interest and expand my abilities with photography I did and I enjoyed it.
A long term goal is to learn to play the piano. Still a long-term goal.
Non-writing goals that will fuel the writing:
Pay down debt – I’m working on it. Now I need to achieve it.
Buy a house – I’m working on it.
I’d like to clear the year’s deadlined work by Oct. 30, so that I can have a go at National Novel Writing Month and enjoy the holidays, even if it means double issues during August and September for the serials.
I did NaNo and I’m glad. Not sure I’d do it again, though.
From this list:
Market more aggressively -- partial
Build up the business writing -- partial
Revise and market Clear the Slot -- moved to 2006
First draft of Ransagh -- first volume done; Volumes II & III moved to 2006
First draft of Intricacies of a Labyrinth – moved back
At least one new full-length play in draft -- first act of one
Write columns - yes
Explore radio writing -- explored, but not pursued enough
Do more photography - yes
Pay down debt -- partial
Buy a house – no, needs more time
Crack three so-far uncrackable markets – this was redefined during the year as I realized why I resisted those markets.
Buy a house – working on it
Experiment with both painting and piano – didn’t do so
Develop the craft to write poetry – instead, I started Circadian Poems to support other poets in their craft.
Try Kindness first – sometimes I think it’s a waste of time, but I still want to reach towards it;
Write every day – I would say I achieved this 98% of the days.
Remember to balance freedom, discipline and creativity -- sometimes, it’s hard to remember.