I’m resplending here as I sit cross-legged, hair disheveled, in my oversized sweats and knee-high stegasaurus Valentine socks (a gift from my five-year-old brother), so it seemed only fitting that I should partake in the Beautiful People meme (brought to you by the marvelously hilarious Paper Fury). All the cool kids are doing it, after all.
This month’s topic: Writerly resolutions and goals for 2016. I have a bad habit of setting inhumanly ambitious goals and then wracking myself with guilt when I fail to meet them, so here’s to a year of challenging though attainable goals and the endurance to meet them.
What were your writing achievements last year?
I don’t have a great deal to show outwardly for last year’s writing achievements, but I accomplished much within: most notably, learning to peck away at my manuscript, a little (or a lot-ish) each day, and to not irrationally despise what came out and chuck crumpled pages across the room and release bloodcurdling screams when I reread my work (I’ve learned to cry out with my face buried in a pillow). All of that was one small step for my writing, and one giant leap for me as a writer. With that foundation laid, I hope to accomplish much this year.
Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?
I am determined to finish the first draft of my current project. My self-imposed deadline is February 7. I’ve been writing scenes out of order as they come to me, and my plan from here is to complete a sort of skeleton of the story and then flesh it in. Once I’m finished, I’ll turn my gaze to another story and then come back to begin editing this one later in the year.
List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.
1. Revisions. I can handle editing at the cellular level, but I’ve yet to complete a full-length manuscript, so I don’t have much experience analyzing macroscopically. This year I hope to change that.
2. More efficient writing sessions, in which I spend less time staring at the wall and picking at hangnails and tapping my pen on the desk and hanging upside-down from the chair wishing the whole ordeal could be over already, and more time actually writing.
3. Learning how I write. Just like knowing how you learn best is a tremendous asset to studying effectively, I think knowing how your brain is wired to produce stories must be quite helpful to the writing process. I want to find the strategies and routines that work best for me so I can start whipping out all of these stories fulminating in my brain.
4. Interact more with my writer friends. Really. It’s immensely refreshing and encouraging. I couldn’t go on without them.
5. Find a fifth area in which to improve.
Are you participating in any writing challenges?
Yes, determining how long it takes me to complete a first draft. My current estimate is 15,000,000,000 years, give or take a few eons.
Unfortunately, I have just over three weeks remaining before my deadline.
What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?
I’m not sure when the thing will be fit to be seen by eyes other than mine, but once it is, whether later this year or next, I will kidnap some of my writerly friends and shove it down their throats and ask for their thoughts. Just a heads up, friends.
Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?
I’d like to finish On Stories, a compilation of C.S. Lewis’s essays on literature. They are fascinating and I highly recommend them. I’m not sure what other instructional materials I may read this year; mostly I’m trying to put the concepts I’ve already learned into practice and hammer out this draft. And study classics. I do foresee, however, many books for research in my near future. Early Urbanism on the Syrian Euphrates, here I come.
Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?
Probably Hillalum, my antagonist-but-not-really-antagonist. Or Adrahasis, my protagonist-but-also-antagonist. It’s complicated. And their dynamic is integral to the story. I think I’ll have to learn by actually writing.
Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?
Some day. For now, I write, so that I will have something to edit. And I will edit, so I will have something worth querying.
Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?
Good books. However many good books are out there, more must be written. The literary world is a bottomless pit; there can never be enough good books.
(I could be more specific. But I feel like making generalizations. So I will.)
What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?
My first draft completed and revisions begun, and some work done on another story in the interim (I’m not yet sure which). Also, finding joy in writing amid all the agony.
We’ll see how 2016 goes.
Tell me, dear reader, what about you? What do you hope to accomplish? And if you are participating in the meme this month, do share.