I can't believe it's been over a month since I last blogged. With the loss of Zoey, getting ready for the holidays and everything else in between, that time has gone by in a complete blur.
So, with the New Year just a day away, it's about time I set some concrete goals for 2011. I've been thinking about it already, but I work best with items I can check off my list rather than a vague idea of what I cant to accomplish (see – even in goal setting, I'm still not quite a Pantser). So, here's what I want to do with my writing in the coming year:
Complete & submit 2 stories a month
Finish the 2 NaNo WIPs that are connected
Put together stories for a collection that I've been thinking about
Finish revamping my freelance writing website
Get back on track with my article writing
So, not too rigid but some definite goals there. And room for more! I know i have a few more tasks filed in the recesses of my mind – but I'm still in holiday mode. But I'm sure the list will grow weekly. Hooray for over-achievers!
I wanted to try #write1sub1, but since I'm going away at the end of January, I don't want to start the year of crazed (my trip will be here before I know it!). Plus, I'm not sure if I'm ready for it. A month of madness is 1 thing. But I don't want to set myself up for failure.
I've already got 25 story ideas that are either half-finished or with plot notes worked out. Granted, I'm sure other ideas will come to me (at least I hope!) and my planned pieces will change as the year goes by, so I'm leaving it open to where inspiration takes me. But if worse comes to worse and I have no new ideas in 2011 (I shudder at the thought), at least I've got a Plan B.
So, what are your plans for 2011? Or do you bother making resolutions and just go with the flow?
This is going to be tricky. Normally I tell you, dear readers, how I came up with the idea for my story. But this time, it would be giving too much away. And I want you to truly feel the effect of horror when reading this tale…
So let me tell you this…
One of the themes in the story is the origin of the art that the main character Regan Lockwood, creates. I explore an idea that I hope artists of all types – writers, painters, sculptors – can relate to. That often, what we create comes from another place – and that place is sometimes the shadowed depths of our human nature. Ideas we didn't know were there; images that can intrigue and terrify us. The question is – why does it terrify us? Because they are unexpected? Or because the darkness came from within us?
I've mentioned before that when I first began plotting out the story, I came up with an entire back story and history of the Lockwood family.
Regan is born into a long line of artists. Her grandfather, Preston, was an archeologist, and it is his legacy that she unearths and is faced with the choice of whether to continue this legacy or to bury it so their hidden truth will never be revealed.
In coming up with such an elaborate past, I ended up writing a set of journal entries from Preston that I originally considered using if I were to ever make Lockwood into a novel-length manuscript.
I still have the itch to do so – so maybe you'll be reading more about the Lockwoods in the future.
I'm not sure what I'm doing about my NaNoWriMo book.
Obviously, with everything going on, I abruptly stopped working on it last week. In fact, most of the month, I struggled with hitting my word count until late at night because most of the day I was either cuddling Zoey (on her good days) or worrying about her (when she wasn't feeling well enough to cuddle).
I surprised myself by writing almost an entire first draft of a new short the other day. Maybe it's the comfort of getting back into routine but it was actually a bit of a relief, to tell you the truth. Something tangible to hold on to with so much turmoil going on around me. Either way, I'm not sure if I'll "win" NaNo this year. But I'm not going to abandon my book either, no matter how long it takes me to finish it.
While we knew she was sick (she had a mass removed last December), it was still a shock as her health only took a turn for the worse very quickly within the last month with the disease spreading aggressively to her lungs and it was an awful decision to have to make to let her go.
There are so many things I'll miss about her but one in particular is my morning ritual of showering, getting my coffee, giving her a treat and then sitting down at my writing desk. She got into the habit of joining me and sprawling under my desk between my feet so I put a fuzzy blanket on the floor and she would lay there with her head on my foot and sleep while I wrote.
She would only give me an hour or hour & a half tops before I would feel a little tap on my leg, look down, and see her up on her back feet, trying to get my attention for a proper cuddle and I'm glad that I took her up on her suggestion as often as I did.
It's still surreal – looking at photos of her. Seeing her captured in still-frame when I expect her to come waddling out of the bedroom and bounding up onto the couch or hopping up onto the bed and snuggling between us (stealing my pillow in the process – which I secretly loved because that meant being able to bury my face in her fur and listen to her purr).
Sorry I've been incognito the past few days. The weekend, as I suspected, was taken over by home improvements. Well – sort of. We ended up having to clean out all our closets first so we could do the renos we intended to do. We threw out so much stuff, it looks like we just moved in here. So, it looks like this coming weekend will see the start of work instead.
Either way, I managed to catch up on my word count today and add a bit of padding. Not as much padding as I would like, but there’s still time.
I’m not sure why but simply hitting the daily minimum word count is not satisfying enough to me. In fact, I feel a failure if I am not able to add at least a few extra hundred words to the required 1667 words to stay on track. Even in accomplishing goals, I still manage to lay a guilt trip on myself
Anyway, I’m feeling a little more in the groove. I also feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the story, which is good I guess, seeing as I am aiming for more than 50,000 words at the end of it all.
Whether I am able to completely finish the book in November or will have to carry on workng on the first draft when the month is over remains to be seen.
Words written today: 3,054 Total Words Written: 16,137
Fun facts: When I started the first book in the series for NaNo ‘07, I recruited a cast of characters in the form of celebrity head shots to stand in for my characters. Keeping those images open helps me get back into their voices after such a long time away.