Posts Tagged Writing goals

Moving Forward or Standing Still?

NOT Moving Forward

I feel very embarrassed about this posting. Like when writing an old friend that you’ve neglected to write for a long time and feel guilty about not contacting.  All good intentions have failed to keep you in touch with the one(s) you care about.

It’s been a month since I last posted, something I’ve neglected to do during the month of June. And yet, it was almost expected with all I had going on: a sixteen week class crammed into four, various writing group meetings and workshops, SoonerCon21, work deadlines, etc. Yet, does that really make up for not writing my postings here? Maybe, maybe not.

I hate getting all maudlin and guilty over things, so we’ll just move on, shall we?

I know the reason I haven’t posted is that this blog is about my progress with writing my first novel. Since I didn’t work on my novel this month, it only stands to reason why I haven’t posted.

Well, my first class this summer is over, although I have another online class this month. In addition, I still have my magazine articles to crank out and another writing conference planned for this month. However, it should definitely be a slower month, allowing me to get some writing done on my novel.

I don’t feel June was a waste, as far as my novel goes. I found myself learning some things in class that will be invaluable to continuing my book. So while I may not have written any further, the process continues despite the lack of words recorded.

At the end of May, I found myself floundering with planning and figuring out where my novel should go next; I had no idea where my plot was going or how it would end. I still don’t. However, I gained some tools in class to help me with this and I can’t wait to try it out.

For instance, in my Sci-Fi/Fantasy class we studied and practiced using the three-act structure to flesh out a short story, beginning, middle and end. Exploring the use of this basic structure cemented a process in my mind and helped me to overcome the obstacles I was encountering. I have to admit I work better with a plan or structured environment. This framework only helped me to get past my mental block and continue on.

When it came to critiquing, I could see how I had improved in my writing, which was a great encouragement. I wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t hearing basic mistakes I had heard in past workshops. Now it was more about “voice” and “setting the tone” type comments.

Therefore, I may not have written anything more for my book, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working on some important tools I’ll need to make it a success. Therefore, in a way I was working on my novel all along.

What I came away with this month is this…even if you aren’t writing that doesn’t mean you aren’t still pushing forward toward your goals. Without my class, I’m not sure I would be able to move on with my story.  Even when you feel like you are standing still, you may find you actually have moved forward.

One writing milestone I have to report is my debut as a Freelance Journalist in the July issue of Edmond Outlook magazine, a local Edmond, OK magazine. I have so psych’d to be published and have a job that utilizes my writing skills. Writing is writing, right? It’s great seeing my byline in print! I have four articles in the July issue. Find them on pages 18-20 and 24 of the online digital edition. While I’ve found myself enjoying doing news articles, I retain my ambitions to write one or more books. But it’s nice to get paid to do what I love!

Check out a great blog post I recently read. I think you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Fighting for my writing life by Suddenly Jamie

Happy Writing!

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A Writer Needs a Support System

I know I promised my next post would be on what I learned from the conference. Well, this is related, but not necessarily craft. I think this is something far more important for beginning writers, so I felt it was important to share what I’ve learned.Any goal no matter what it is has a higher chance of succeeding with a support system. I believe no one can achieve their dreams without the help of others. Everyone needs encouragement to keep going, to keep reaching for whatever they want to achieve.

So, what do you do when your family and friends don’t provide this needed support? For a writer, you are already fighting your own internal battle with doubts. I know this is my situation; although not all my family members are negative about my choice to become a writer. But the negativity from others is hard to overcome, and most often the negative comments hold more weight in our minds than the praise.

This leads me into my list of things I’m using to build my own support system. I know that it will help me to achieve my goals and make it much easier to achieve what I want.

Five ways to build a support system:

  1. Minimize the negative. If you have those who put you and your dreams down, avoid them. If they are family ask them to please not comment on your chosen profession. For me I’m finding some family members posting negative comments on Facebook. I’ve asked them to stop posting these negative comments with the proviso that if they don’t stop, I will take them off my friends list. Anyone who is on your list of negative people, NEVER, and I mean never share anything with them. Don’t read your latest writing. Don’t share any ideas you have or are working on. If they bring it up, change the subject. I’ve even had to excuse myself and either leave the room (the bathroom is a good excuse) or leave all together. If they persist, you can even tell them (nicely of course) that you don’t want to talk about it and that if they don’t stop asking you will have to leave. Be nice about it, but firm. This is your life, not everyone is going to agree with your choices. But that doesn’t mean you have to listen to them tear down your choices.
  2. Keep your supporters close. These people can be worth more than gold. If you have friends who keep you positive or encourage you to go farther than you thought you could, keep them close. Use them as much as possible.
  3. Join a writing group and/or critique group. There are a ton of opportunities to connect with others who are in the same situation you are and can provide a lot of encouragement as well as great feedback for development of your craft. Whether in a professional group or not, surround yourself with people who are doing what you are doing.
  4. Go back to school and take classes. I have taken classes that have started groups that continued on after the classes end. Connect with the teachers. They can give you good feedback and encouragement. They know what you’re going through, having gone through it themselves.
  5. Get spiritual encouragement. If this is something you feel God has called you to do, then pray! Ask God to encourage you. Pray every time you sit down to write. Pray every time you encounter negativity. Pray every time you feel down or discouraged. If God has called you to do something, He will equip you to do it. You can’t fail, unless you listen to the negativity and give up!

These are just a few I’ve come up with so far. I’m sure there are other things I could be doing to ensure my success. I plan to continue to search out more ideas because I think a support system is a big necessity if you want to be a writer.

If you have any ideas on this subject, please share. I really need all the support I can get! Thanks.

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