Saturday, December 28, 2013

Writing Resolutions for 2014

2013 proved to be a good, momentous year for this writer. A contract for the debut novel (YAY!!!), a second finished manuscript, a nearly finished manuscript for a prequel to the debut novel, and another YA novel mapped out and ready to start writing. And I’m getting better about identifying myself as a writer. But, as always, there is much more to accomplish in the new year, and so I have created my Writing New Year’s Resolutions for 2014. I'm sure some of it will look quite familiar to you.

  • Prepare the recently finished YA novel for submission: revise the query letter, write the synopsis, identify the publishers and/or agents to whom I will send the novel. Send it.
  • Pour my heart and soul into the next round of edits on the contracted book. Make it the absolute best it can be.
  • Set up promotions for the release of the novel. These may include blog tours, contests, launch party, etc.
  • Have my author website up and running before the book is released. The sooner the better.
  • Finish the prequel for the debut book. As I want to self-publish this book to allow it to be released close to the release date of the contracted book, I need to: have it professionally edited, contract a cover designer to create the cover, learn all the ins and outs of getting it out into the world and take those steps.
  • Set up the promotions for the prequel.
  • (I’m getting very tired just thinking about this list so far!)
  • Start the new YA novel. This is the book of my heart, the one I have thought of off and on for 15 years. As such, it terrifies me to start writing it. The fear of screwing up is massive. I will take the plunge! I will write it. Or at least a good portion of it.
  • Attend to all of the important things that support my writing: time management, exercise, relationships, reading. This list could go on and on, but right now these are the golden four.
As I read through my resolutions, it feels daunting. I’m sure that many of the items on my list are similar to the ones on your own list. However, I know we can do it. We just need to keep in mind all we accomplished in the past year and be resolute in our endeavors to tick off each of those boxes. 2014 will be a productive, rewarding year!

Happy New Year, and Happy Writing in 2014!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Coming Out of the [Writer's] Closet

During the many years of my teaching career, I was never free to attend the Christmas Coffee a dear friend always puts on each December. I was busy teaching. She never failed to send the invitation, knowing full well I wouldn’t be able to join her and our mutual friends and acquaintances, but always wanting to make sure I felt welcome—not forgotten. This year, having left full-time teaching behind, I was able to attend. And of course this meant seeing people, many of whom I’d lost track of, for the first time in many years.

After the obligatory, “So, how are your kids?” the next question invariably is, “What are you doing these days?” My answer varied, depending on the person doing the asking. For two or three old friends the answer included my new venture—my writing. But I did NOT handle it the way I wish I had, nor how I know I SHOULD have.

I’m still acting apologetic, self-deprecating, and unwilling to own my passion for writing. One, typical revelation went as follows: “Oh, I’m pretending to be a writer. I sit at a computer, type in words, and hope they will arrange themselves into a compelling story.” REALLY, MONICA?? I actually heard myself say Really, Monica as I was giving my flippant answer. Is that the best you can do?

I have read and heard proclaimed time and time again, that I must own what I do. As I heard at the Willamette Writers conference, when you say, “I am a writer, (or author, or novelist)” you make it true. It becomes real—it becomes the truth. I have been writing steadily for over two years now, I have a contract for my first novel; I am past the point of someone thinking I might be a dilettante. I should have no fear telling the world, truthfully, what I do. Nor should you. Say it. Own it. You are a writer.

I am Monica. I am a writer. More specifically, I am a novelist.

Happy Writing.