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Posts tagged with: goals

I FEEL THE TEARS

With the close of the Winter Writing Fest only days away, the Ruby sisters can feel the spirits of those who’ve participate dwindling. We feel the same. We love the company and the enthusiasm that our writer friends bring with them.

Like the Olympians Ruby Vivi referred to in her blog on February 9th, we worked and we achieved our goals —some even blasted them. And now, also like those champions, we need to carry on. We need to set the bar a little bit higher in the next few months and afterwards we need to continue to strive to improve our craft. Titleholders always set goals, both personally and professionally.

As we have stated on this blog many times and in numerous ways, everyone’s dreams are distinct and everyone’s life circumstances are special. We should NEVER compare ourselves to another, especially during times that our personal lives are in an uproar.

You’ve proven writing is your passion. Nurture it. Study. Read. Set weekly word goals. Absorb industry news. Network with other writers. And don’t be afraid to put your words out there for feedback.

Like last year, the chat room will remain open for those writers who would like to continue to work together. There are a great bunch of writers participating year-round. Join in anytime.   

 

   

Using the Power of Words to Reach Your Goals

This is the time of year when we make goals or think about where we want to go or what we want to do in life. Some of us make lists with steps. Some of us just ponder or “dream.” Wherever you fall on the goals measuring line, I have a powerful tool to help you reach them. The tool is called a positive affirmation.

You may have heard of them before, but are you using them? Hmmm…? Even though I know how helpful these statements are, I stop doing them too. So, let’s take a little refresher together.

An affirmation is a statement, repeated either verbally, mentally, and/or through writing. When we review the words, it makes our body and mind believe they are real. And when we believe, we realign our world around that truth. Of course, we can’t bring back the dead, cure incurable diseases, or win the lottery just by saying positive affirmations – but they can help us immensely.

We’ve all seen the horrific impact of negative affirmations on people. People become their own bullies by mentally or verbally telling themselves they are failures or worse. This is self-sabotage. If you berate yourself, try talking to yourself as you would to a friend or even an acquaintance. Chances are you’ll speak kinder to yourself.

Be careful to create the positive affirmation correctly. You don’t want to inadvertently make things more negative!

  1. The statement should be specific and about something you are not yet, but want to be. Don’t feel like you’re lying. It is supposed to be something that is NOT true – yet (or that you don’t feel is true).
  2. It must be in present tense. If you say “I will be a successful writer,” that describes the future, and you won’t get there because the future is always out of reach. Replace “will be” with “am”.
  3. Use ONLY positive words. If you say “I never stop writing” your psyche will hear “stop” and leave out the “never”. Don’t say “I hate sweets.” Instead say “I love healthy food” or your mind will focus on “sweets”. There is always a way to make a statement positive.
  4. Write the statements down and post them somewhere visible. Say them out loud at least two times a day.

At one time I had ten stickies stuck to my bathroom mirror with affirmations. I recommend starting with just a few so it doesn’t seem like a chore. Some people put them in their cars so that every time they get in, they repeat the affirmations. I’ve also seen posters, which people have made with pictures and words, representing their goals – a vision board.

You may want to warn spouses or people who share the area with you. When I was trying to get pregnant I wrote “I am pregnant” on a sticky note for the bathroom mirror, so obviously I had to tell my husband what was up (BTW – I got pregnant : ).

Right around the time I submitted my manuscript, which was a finalist in the 2009 Golden Hearts, I was writing and saying “I am a published writer.” Before I even found out that I was a finalist, I sold two manuscripts.

When I was fighting ovarian cancer with grueling chemo and surgery, I said a list of thirty positive affirmations at least twice a day. I wrote new ones each night. “My body is full of health.” “My stomach is calm.” “I sleep deeply and peacefully through the night.” I used to cry them, pray them, scream them, but I made certain to say them. They served me well, helping me to calm down and shift my focus from panic to determined survival (and now I’m a 6-year survivor).

Positive affirmations.

They are simple. They work.

At this time of year, when goals are in the forefront, write a few positive affirmations and watch how powerful they can be, moving you toward positive outcomes. Here’s a brief list of some of my favorites.

 

 

 

 

I write on my manuscript every day.

I love to eat healthy food.

I do yoga and get 10K steps in every day.

I am calm and peaceful when dealing with my kids.

Every part of my body is healthy and comfortable.

I am living a long and healthy life.

I am powerful, confident and successful.

 

What are some of your positive affirmations?

Have a fabulous, full-of-positivity day!

Heather

E-mail: Heather@HeatherMcCollum.com
Website: www.HeatherMcCollum.com
Face book: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherMcCollumAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HMcCollumAuthor

Welcome to 2018!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2018!!!  Eights have always been lucky for me, so I’m hoping this is a sign of an amazing year to come.  I can’t wait for the Olympics, I’m pumped about the Ruby Writing Festival (starting in less than two weeks!!!), and I’m busting with optimism for a GREAT year for all of us.  

Last week, RWA asked on twitter what our writing goals were for 2018 and I said mine were to:

  1. Write all the words.
  2. Read more.
  3. Enjoy the moment I’m in.

I’m hoping I can achieve each of those!  (And maybe also be better about getting to the gym than I have been during the holidays – those cookies are adding up.)  

What are your goals for 2018?

You can see one of my goals is to read more.  I haven’t managed to carve out nearly enough time this year to refill the well and in 2018 that is gonna have to change.  And I can’t wait!  So many books to read!

What books are you looking forward to in 2018?  

Are there other things you are excited about in the coming year?  The Olympics?  Will you be heading to RWA in Denver?  Other writing conferences?  Joining us in the Winter Writing Festival chat room?  

If so, please share!  Let’s ring in the new year looking forward with a great big anticipatory grin.  🙂

WHAT IS 13?

It’s Friday the 13th and today’s topic is fear.

What is fear?

Fear has been defined as a vital response to physical danger. If we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. However, often we fear situations that are not life threatening but pose an emotional danger and thus avoid them in the name of sanity. But by not facing our fears, we are feeding the gluttonous monster.

Think about fear in terms of your desire to write, or your lack of writing. What is stopping you from being who you are? Have you let someone else’s goals become your goals? Are you intimated by the productivity, or success, of others? Did you reach for a star only to it have fade away before you could grasp it?  Did you receive love from an editor or agent and then found that relationship wasn’t meant to last? Has life in general attacked you?

We all let outside factors affect our productivity from time to time. There is no shame it, but at some point, we should recognize that we’re causing ourselves harm by tying ourselves into a knot of stress, and by extension hurting our love ones.

Great works take time and love. You can’t give your muse love if all you feel is angst because….  So you’re not the writer who can pound out three books a year. Personally, when my life is over, I want to be remembered as writing that one memorable book for my readers rather than one-hundred toss away novels. I continue to work on my skill as a writer and I want my next work to be better than my last one.

So you haven’t made USA Today or NYT best seller list. I have my opinions concerning those publishing crowns, which I’ll keep to myself today.  However, if that’s your goal, you’re not done writing yet, right? The next book might hit a list. The same goes with gaining the interest of a publisher or agent.

So life has encroached on your path? We all have priorities. Family and friends top my list. If I walked away from them during times of need to write, I wouldn’t respect myself. I can write any minute of the day and any day of the week. Some of my best ideas came during stressful times.  A truly great story mirrors life. Take notes.

My motto has been since I started writing and continues to be; Word By Word, Line By Line, Page By Page.

So today, on the day others have imposed on us to be fearful of black cats, cracks in the side walk, mom and pop hotels, strangers, bright lights in the sky, let’s examine our fears for what they truly are and then brush them to the side and enjoy our passions.

 

 

Autumn Jordon is sneaker-wearing Ruby who authors light-heart contemporary romances and seat-edging mystery/suspense novels. Her newest release, Perfect Fall is the book of her heart. Check it out at www.autumnjordon.com and while you’re there join her occasional newsletter.   

Kids Are Back in School=Let’s Get Down to Business

It’s that wonderful time of year when the kiddos go back to school. There should be some holiday songs to accompany this like:

Silent Day, Wholly Productive Day

Rudolph the Brown Nosed Teachers Pet

Over the river & through the woods, back to school we go…

 

 

Don’t get me wrong – I love my three darlings and sleeping in a bit over the summer, but my writing takes a hit when I’m hauling them to all sorts of activities or encouraging them to entertain themselves. So when the end of August and early September roll around, I’m ready to get back into my school year routine. I treat this time like New Years, and re-energize myself to jump back into writing.

So let’s talk about productivity goals for the “New Year.”

Do I really need to make goals? Yes. What do you want to accomplish before the end of the year? Without knowing where you’re headed, you end up wandering around until you realize you are hung over, trapped on the roof of a hotel in Las Vegas (wasn’t that a movie?) when you really want to be lying in a cabana on the beach, drinking Sangria. So write down some overall goals and then the little steps to help you navigate toward them. My personal little goal is to write at least 2000 words EVERY week day. It’s doable with my current schedule, not too taxing, and really moves me forward in my projects.

Find the surface of your desk. Take a day or an hour to sort your desk, clear it off and make your work papers easily accessible. I’ve recently installed a drop down pocket system that lets me keep information about each of my WIPs in separate, but easily found, places. This helps me spend less time looking for things and more time writing.

Just say no to drugs (I have kids. It just rolls off the tongue) and say no to bake sales and community newsletters and hosting in-home retail parties and …. Take fifteen minutes to list out all your responsibilities. Whew! There are a lot of them. Then look at each one critically. What can you knock out of your über busy schedule so you have more time to relax, write and/or breathe?

 

Couch diving for extra minutes. Finding time to write is sometimes like digging for coins in the couch cushions. A dime here, a quarter there, but they add up. Little snatches of writing time can be found the same way. Instead of in the couch cushions, they can be found in carpool, doctor’s offices, at hair appointments and sports’ practices. I use a lightweight AlphaSmart Neo electronic notebook, but you can use a regular paper notebook. I’m amazed some days at how many words I actually write in these little periods of time.  

Creative Feeding of the Brood. I cringed at how much time I spent feeding my family. Coupon clipping, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning – it’s massive! On average I spend over an hour a night on dinner prep alone. So I spoke to my hubby and kids, and we’ve implemented a few changes. Instead of cooking seven nights a week now, I’ve implemented “Take-out Tuesdays” with some success (sometimes it’s a different day or just a left over day).

I’ve also dusted off my crock pot and made room in my freezer. I signed up for the New Wellness newsletter, which sends out free (and to purchase) crock pot recipes for the freezer. Here’s some of their free stuff:

21 Healthy Freezer Meal Prep Sessions for Back-to-School

 On Sunday I prep freezer bags with meat, sauces and vegetables. I label them and put them in my freezer. Then once or twice a week, I take one out the night before and throw the whole thing in my crock pot in the morning to save me a lot of time cooking. I usually only have to make a pot of rice and cut up veggies as a side. My kids don’t always love the all-the-food-is-touching dishes that you get with a crock pot, but I can usually pull out some meat for the picky eaters. Here’s the link to the page.

I gave birth, now it’s your turn to work. I have one kid in high school (one just left for college & took her dirty dishes and laundry with her), so he helps clean the kitchen at night. And my 10 yo can empty/fill the dishwasher now and clean the table. So after a little time training, (and yes, they forget, but then I re-train so they know they can’t get out of it because they suffer with spontaneous amnesia) the two of them clean up while I catch an extra forty minutes of writing after dinner (or relaxing time – you know that’s allowed and encouraged, right?).

Sprint your fingers off. Writing sprints are timed periods where you write as fast as you can for 20 or 30 minutes, and then see how many words you’ve created. Many writers find it a highly productive time, without their internal editor nagging at them to back up and re-write. NaNoWriMo has sprints in November. The Rubies host sprints as part of the Winter Writing Festival in January, but you and your writer friends can set up sprints anytime. Meet on a private FB page and agree how long to write. Someone times it, and then you all talk about how you did. It’s a fun way to write fast and interact with others.

Keep your body going. Writers are often sedentary creatures. We spend so much time in our own minds that we forget about the rest of our bodies. But the brain needs the body, hopefully for several more decades, so you HAVE to take care of it. Please make time to exercise. Ideally we should exercise an hour a day and stand up and walk around a bit every hour throughout the day. Now that the kids are back in school, I walk the dog and do some yoga first thing in the morning. I also try to fuel my body with some good food in the morning, so I don’t snack all day.

Okay, my chai latte is warm and cinnamon-topped in my favorite cup. The soundtrack for my latest WIP is playing softly in the background, and I have my collage with WIP pictures set where I can see it. I’ve cracked my proverbial fingers and am poised to make magic with my words. Ah sweet back-to-school, let’s start this “New Year” off with a strategic and productive rush.

Does anyone else have helpful tips for finding your productive groove?

Alert! Alert! Only Four Weeks of Summer Remain!

I just checked: there are four weeks left in summer.

I’m not talking about official summer. (That ends September 22). I’m talking about school-year summer, the time when the kids are sitting next to you doing Legos (instead of being in school) while you try to write a blog post. (Oh, hai). Then they want to actually, you know, DO stuff with you. 

And you want to “do stuff” with them, too. That’s part of why you had kids, right? So you could sit in the bleachers and watch them solve a Rubik’s cube in 45 seconds flat?

Talk Your Way to Success – the Power of Positive Affirmations

Who are you? What do you want to be? A “real” writer? A published writer? A NY Times Best Selling author? I’m going to teach you (or remind you) about a secret power that you have. The power of the positive affirmation.

 

Repeat after me – “I am a successful writer.” Say it out loud in the mirror. Repeat twice a day.

 

This is a positive affirmation and watch out – it’s VERY powerful. An affirmation is a statement, repeated either verbally, mentally, and/or through writing. When we review the words, it makes our body and mind believe they are real. And when we believe, we realign our world around that truth. Of course, we can’t bring back the dead, cure incurable diseases, or win the lottery just by saying positive affirmations – but they can do a lot of good.

We’ve all seen the horrific impact of negative affirmations on people. People can be their own worst enemies by mentally or verbally telling themselves they are failures or worse. This is self-sabotage. If you berate yourself, try talking to yourself as you would to a friend or even an acquaintance. Chances are you’ll speak kinder to yourself.

Next step is to come up with some positive affirmations. Be careful to do this part correctly. You don’t want to inadvertently make things more negative.

  1. The statement should be specific and about something you are not yet, but want to be. Don’t feel like you’re lying. It is supposed to be something that is NOT true – yet (or that you don’t feel is true).
  2. It must be in present tense. If you say “I will be a successful writer” that describes the future and you won’t get there because the future is always out of reach. Replace “will be” with “am”.
  3. Use ONLY positive words. If you say “I never stop writing” your psyche will hear “stop” and leave out the “never”. Rephrase to take out “never” “not” “won’t” and any of those reverse words. “I write everyday,” works better.

At one time I had ten stickies stuck to my bathroom mirror with affirmations. I recommend starting with just a few so it doesn’t seem like a chore. Some people put them in their cars so that every time they get in they repeat the affirmations.

Bk 1 of The Dragonfly Chronicles

You may want to warn spouses or people who share the area with you. When I was trying to get pregnant I wrote “I am pregnant” so obviously I had to tell my husband what I was up to (BTW – I got pregnant : ).

Bk 2 of The Dragonfly Chronicles

Right around the time I submitted my manuscript that was a finalist in the 2009 Golden Hearts I was writing and saying “I am a published writer.” Before I even found out that I was a finalist I sold two manuscripts.

When I was fighting ovarian cancer with fifteen months of grueling chemo and surgery, I said a list of thirty positive affirmations at least twice a day. I wrote new ones each night. “My body is full of health.” “My stomach is calm.” “I sleep deeply and peacefully through the night.” They served me well, helping me to calm down and shift my focus from panic to determined survival (I’m a 6-year survivor).

Positive affirmations. They are simple. They work. With conference season coming up, it is the perfect time to write some out and start saying them. “I love to pitch my book ideas.” “I am confident and love to meet new people.” “I am a talented writer.” “I am a NY Times Best Seller.” You get the idea.

Feel free to send me some positive affirmations if you’d like to bounce around some ideas. 

http://www.HeatherMcCollum.com

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Not So Fast…

The idea for this blog post on writing speed came after reading some responses our readers made to Shelley Coriell’s 1/25/17 blog post, Write on 2017! Strengths and Weaknesses. (Awesome series! Check it out.) In retrospect, writing speed has been on my radar since the Ruby Blog’s early days, when I jokingly called Ruby Sister Darynda Jones and me “The Tortoise and the Hare.” (Make no mistake, I’m the tortoise.) While reading comments people posted to Shelley’s blog, it didn’t take long to notice a distinct theme starting to emerge: writers were identifying their writing pace as “slow,” and further identifying this pace as a weakness they wanted to overcome.

I’m here to say…not so fast.

What follows are a few snippets from that conversation, all from published Rubies. First, Elizabeth Langston, who’d identified her writing speed as a weakness earlier in the thread: 

I need to let the comparison thing go. But it’s been bothering more than usual since I attended an RWA chapter meeting in November. The speaker is completely indie. I think she said that she releases 4+ books a year. I have another author friend who averages 6 books per year (which is insane). I can’t sustain either pace.

Jamie Michele weighed in:

Damn it, I’m all done with the cult of productivity within our community!! Like most of us, I’m not in a position to perform at that level, so I will not tolerate any career plans that include producing four books a year!!

I think of one of my favorite books — The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It took her ten YEARS to write that thing, and it was worth every second she slaved over it. I’m grateful to her for that book, even if she never writes another.

YAAASSS – and for what it’s worth, I feel the same way about Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks.  And here’s my reply:

Beth and Jamie, my sisters! I have the same issues and concerns. An admission: Over the last year or so, I’ve pulled away from some corners of the romance writing community out of sheer self-preservation, because the focus on pace of production just clobbers my self-confidence. My ‘natural’ writing pace right now is one book per year. Compared to most writers in our genre, I will always come up short in comparison. Always. I think my stories would start to suffer if I tried to pick up the pace. My health, and my work/life balance, would certainly take a hit.

Only in Romancelandia is writing one book per year considered “slow.”  Regardless of writing pace, I’d like us all to stop beating ourselves up. 

Seriously, when did pace of production become the dominant metric by which romance authors measure success? And what does this mean for those of us who can’t measure up? 

What it means is that some of us pull away from our writing communities out of sheer self-preservation. It means we come home from conferences and RWA chapter meetings feeling inadequate rather than energized. It means we too often compare ourselves to others, and always come up short.

Needless to say, this mindset is not great for one’s creativity.

As someone who used to design processes for a living, I’ll be the first to say that work methods can improve, evolve and change over time – but I’ve been writing for a decade now, and one piece of self-awareness I’ve gained is that  I’m a slow food writer. I like to focus on the individual ingredients, and careful and precise preparations. I revise. I refine. I need things to simmer and cook, testing – tasting – as I go along.

I BUILD WORLDS. This takes time.  It takes me time, at any rate. I don’t produce my best work quickly. If I tried to write faster, quality would suffer. I’m not willing to make that trade-off, and I’m tired of feeling guilty about it.

As Ruby Sis Hope Ramsey so wisely says later in the thread, we each need to accept our process for what it is, and set our personal goals accordingly. One size does NOT fit all. 

So, I’m here to say: I reject the Cult of Productivity. I reject it utterly and completely. The Cult of Productivity won’t help me produce my strongest, most satisfying work. It certainly won’t preserve my joy in the process, which is the most important thing about this wacky business that’s under my direct control. 

Ultimately, we each need to find our own, right rhythm. Our own optimal pace.

Me? I’m a happy tortoise. I’ll be back here, taking in the scenery. Marching to slow and steady the beat of my own drum. 😛

Q:  Any thoughts about the Cult of Productivity? How satisfied are you with your writing pace? I look forward to your opinions and insights.

-tammy

P.S. And speaking of slow food…

I recently got publication rights back to Taste Me and Chase Me, the first two books in my award-winning Underbelly Chronicles series. After a light revision pass on all four books, I just reissued the entire series on Kindle/KDP. (More on that process in my next blog post.)  But I wanted to give our readers a peek at my pretty new covers!! and supply some Kindle links if you’re inclined to Buy or borrow.

Taste Me Chase Me Touch Me Tempt Me

Tamara Hogan is the award-winning author of The Underbelly Chronicles paranormal romance series. An English major by education and a software developer/process engineer by trade, she recently stopped telecommuting to Silicon Valley to teach, edit, and write full-time. Tamara loathes cold and snow, but nonetheless lives near Minneapolis with her husband and two naughty cats.

Her debut, TASTE ME, won a Daphne du Maurier Award for Mystery and Suspense, was nominated for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award®, and won Prism Awards for Best Dark Paranormal, Best First Book, and Best of the Best. Catch her on line at www.tamarahogan.com, or on Twitter, @TamaraHogan1.

Happy Tortoise by digitalart at freedigitalart.net

Tips For Writing Faster

Happy Monday! And Happy Release Day to the first book in my new Scottish Historical Romance, Highland Isles series! THE BEAST OF AROS CASTLE is about 65K words, and I wrote it in two months. I wrote the sequel in two months also, with Christmas thrown into the schedule.

Do I live alone, with only a fish to feed once a day, and eat frozen meals? No. I have three very busy kids, a hubby who works late, so I do all the cooking, and six animals that the kids said they’d look after. (Yeah, right!) I feed, walk, clean and love (okay, they help with the love) all six of those fuzzy creatures.

So how did I get 65K words written in two months without locking myself away?

One word at a time.

I’m not here to tell you it’s easy, although it is for some. I’m not here to tell you it’s crazy hard either. What works for me, may not work for you. As writers, we each must tap into our creative process in our own unique way. Although, there are some strategies that can help across the board. Here are my top five.

1. Identify if you are a long-stretch writer or a small-chunk writer. Do you like to go hours without interruption to get your words in? Or do you like to write in thirty minute increments and prefer taking breaks?

You would think that the long stretch writer would be the one who gets the most words in, but that’s not always the case. Often, the long stretch writers can’t get any words down because they can’t find an uninterrupted stretch of time. Whereas the small chunk writers will take every 15 minutes they can find.

I am very fortunate to not have to work outside the home, so theoretically I have large stretches of time to write. But I have found that I do better writing in small chunks, thirty minutes to an hour, and then I check FB or my e-mail or walk the dog. My mind and muse need a breather, even if it’s just two minutes.

Collage for CRIMSON HEART – 3rd book in the Highland Hearts series

2. Keep inspiration and information front and center. I’m terrible at remembering details like character eye color, the heroine’s horse’s name or where exactly the hero has that sexy scar. If I have to look it up in my manuscript, I lose at least five to ten minutes, searching, reading, editing, instead of getting those words down. So, I keep my book information close by, either pasted into a collage with notes written in, or on Notebook on my computer. I jot down those important details, knowing I’ll forget and need them again.

I also write out the theme of the book and the ultimate destination for the hero and heroine on a sticky note. It sits stuck to my desk where I can see it every day to help keep me on the right track. Otherwise, being more of a pantser than a plotter, I would wander.

3. Have a goal. Some days the words just don’t want to come. It’s like my muse has gone AWOL. A part of me wants to throw my hands up in disgust and yell “If my muse won’t show up, I’m not showing up,” and walk away. But I set myself a goal of 2,000 words minimum per day during the week. It helps me keep my butt in the chair. I took the advice of Roxanne St. Clair and decided I would not eat lunch until I had at least 1K words written.

If I’m editing, I set a goal of 2 hours minimum per day. I check it off in my tracking log when I make it, which is very satisfying to me. Now, if you are more of a free spirit, then set other goals like two days of brainstorming, one day of plotting, one day of writing, etc. But to get the words down, I find shooting for a certain number of words per day gets you there faster, whether it’s 500 words or 4K words.

Tracking word goals in my bullet journal

4. Think Ahead. If you know there will be a snow day, and your kids will be clamoring for hot cocoa and playdates instead of leaving the house quiet to go to school, get up at the normal time and write while they sleep in. If you have to take kids to sports practice or you have doctors’ appointments or a long hair appointment, take your lap top or notebook and write during the waiting times. If you are not a short-chunk writer, just jot down notes about plot or characters, or a snippet of dialogue to use when you have a longer stretch of time to write. But use the short bits of time wisely.

5. Write every day. I read a fabulous quote:

“Write until not writing makes you anxious.” During NaNoWriMo, I made sure to write every single day. After two weeks, I noticed I was writing faster. I was emerged into the world of my book so that I could hop back in each morning. By the end of the first month, I was able to reach my daily 2K goal before lunch. And sure enough, on certain days when writing was impossible with holiday happenings, I felt…off, like I hadn’t had my morning cup of tea or hadn’t done my daily yoga. Something that was part of my happy, normal routine was missing. So, the next day, I sat down to my book and relaxed back into it.

Those are my top 5 tips for reaching THE END as quickly as possible, without losing your mind. Of course, I still needed to edit, but as Nora Roberts once said at a conference I attended – “You can’t fix a blank page.” So, get the words down first, and then go back and mold them into a masterpiece.

Do you have any tips for getting your books finished?

For more information about me or my new release, here are places where I can be found. Have a fantastic day! Heather

Website: www.HeatherMcCollum.com

Face book: https://www.facebook.com/HeatherMcCollumAuthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HMcCollumAuthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hmccollumauthor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/heathermccollumauthor/

P.S. I’ll be taking part in the It’s Raining Dukes and Earls Release Party on FB tomorrow, Tuesday 2/21. Stop by for fun and prizes! 

 

 

 

Write On 2017! – Goal Setting

Today we’re getting to the heart of any writing plan: Goals. Goals drive us, inspire us, frustrate us, but ultimately transform us from dreamers into doers.

If you’ve joined us for the past three Wednesdays for the Ruby’s Write On 2017! series, you developed an inspiring mission, created a forward-focused vision, and took a candid look at your strengths and weaknesses. You are now ready for the serious and empowering work of goal setting. 

Up first, SMART Goals. These are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.  YOU control these goals. In the bookish world, there is so much we can’t control: rejections from agents and editors, bad reviews, Amazon algorithms. With SMART goals you have the power. Embrace it. Celebrate it. Use it! Some examples:

Not-So Smart Goal: Get an agent.

SMART Goal: Send out five agent queries every month. 

Not-So Smart Goal: Make $10,000 with my self-published series.

SMART Goal: Make the first book in my self-pub series perma-free.

Now on to Long-Term Goals. For our purposes, these are Big Dreams or goals that spark or fuel your writerly fire. They do not have to be SMART or within your control. They are often lofty and speak to people, places, and ideas beyond the writerly self. An example of a long-term goal: Be a keynote speaker at a major writing conference or reader event. 

Your #1 Assignment: Determine your SMART goals for 2017.

We’re not looking at weekly word count goals or to-do lists. With this assignment I want you to put some serious brain cells into determining what you want to accomplish by the end of the year. For some of you, that might be a single line:

  •  Finish MY NOVEL (70,000 words)

Those of you who like check boxes and are motivated by completing tasks might have gloriously long lists that address everything from productivity to promotion to professional affiliations. Your lists might look something like:

  • Revise NOVEL #3 (80,000 word historical)
  • Query NOVEL #3 to 10 first-tier agents
  • Write and self-pub NOVELLA #1 (35,000 word cozy mystery)
  • Write short story and sub to online magazine
  • Fast draft NOVEL #4 (60,000-word young adult) during NaNoWriMo
  • Hire development editor to edit NOVEL #2
  • Renew writer association memberships: RWA, Sisters in Crime; SCBWI
  • Blog once a month on group blog
  • Enter NOVEL #3 in two writing contests
  • Attend San Diego State University’s Writers Conference  or RWA National (writer event)
  • Attend Tucson Festival of Books or Romantic Times Convention (reader event)
  • Take on-line class on How To Write Believable Characters
  • Give mini program at local RWA meeting
  • Read and apply one craft book: Donald Maass’s THE FIRE IN FICTION
  • Revamp website to make mobile responsive
  • Increase newsletter subscribers by 10 percent
  • Go on writing retreat with critique partner
  • Find three beta readers
  • Create marketing plan for NOVELLA #1
  • Whew…but you get the idea!

Regardless of the number of SMART goals, these goals must SERVE you. To that end, review them at least quarterly. In addition, don’t be afraid to tweak or obliterate your goals, especially if you have significant personal or professional shifts.

Your #2 Assignment: Determine your long-term “goals”.

Have some fun with this one. Dream and plan big. Unlike SMART goals, long-term goals might not change every year, if ever. Here are a few examples taken from my personal Long-Term Goal list:

  • Use my writing to travel and meet new people and go new places
  • Support my editor and agent in pursuit of their professional goals
  • Inspire my three daughters to follow and fight for their dreams

In the comment section below, list some of your writing goals for 2017. I’d LOVE to see some of your lofty, dreamy Long-Term Goals. Write on!

This is Part 5 of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s series, Write On 2017! A Writer’s Guide to Prioritizing, Goal Setting and Time Management. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Shelley Coriell is an award-winning author of mysteries, romantic thrillers, and novels for teens. Her debut thriller was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of the Year, and her other novels have been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, Best Paperback Original of the Year from the International Thriller Writers, and a Kirkus Recommended Read. A former magazine editor and restaurant reviewer, Shelley lives in Arizona with her family and the world’s neediest rescue weimaraner. You can find her at www.shelleycoriell.com and Twittering @ShelleyCoriell.

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The Latest Comments

  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: LOL. Thank you, Darynda! 😀 And yeah, that buzzer is a tricksy beast!
  • Darynda Jones: I AM SO PROUD OF YOU, VIVI!!! That was the coolest thing ever, seeing a sister up there kicking ass...
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: It’s certainly tricky, but I did indeed have a blast! 🙂
  • Kate Parker: Wow, Vivi, it sounds like you had a blast. congrats on doing so well. That buzzer sounds like a demon.
  • Vivi Andrews/Lizzie Shane: Thank you, Anna! I tried to give ’em a fight to the finish! 🙂

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