An Inauspicious Start

One of my goals for 2014 is to blog at least weekly.  While this is a weak goal compared to previous years (every day, anyone?), take a look at the calendar.  It’s already the third week of the year, and only my first post.  Ah, well, I’m not going to give up because of an inauspicious start.

Another goal I have for 2014 sounds a lot like last year: I want 12 reject letters for Dragon.  That means I’ll at least have a few Query Count updates I can use for posts! 🙂

Believe it or not, even though the gap is gone and story has taken a backseat to life, a few new ideas are perking in my head.  There are still some scenes I want to write for Mara’s tale.  A young dragon has raised his head and suggested that perhaps another novel in the same world as Dragon is in order.  I would also like to go back and revise Unexpected – there are some good bones there, they just need a little more meat.

So perhaps 2014 won’t be a banner writing year, but at least I can make some progress on a few fronts.

Considering 2013

On the last day of the year, it feels like a good time to think about what has happened in my life, good and bad.

My life this year was dominated by work.  I worked hard, and a lot, at a job that I love, and fortunately I got some recognition for it at the end of the year.  We don’t talk about work, though, so let’s move on.

Personally, 2013 was somewhat mediocre.  I didn’t travel anywhere exotic, I didn’t see any new birds.  However, my sister got married, which was pretty awesome; I made some friends outside of work (which is nearly impossible); and I did get to go see my Houston friends, even if only for a few days.  As the year began to end, I also met someone who I’m crazy about; it’s very new, so we’ll have to see how it turns out in 2014.

2013 was not a good year for writing.  Sure, I got eleven rejections for Dragon and started the process of re-writing Butterflies, but I didn’t finish a book, I didn’t complete NaNo, and you know how well I blogged this year (not so well).

With any end of the year reflection comes a chance to turn my gaze to next year.  I don’t know what it will bring, but here’s hoping that it exceeds 2013!

NaNo Update, Day 15

Given the fact that I haven’t blogged for two days and assuming you’ve read my NaNo advice this week, you can guess how Mara’s Tale is going right now.

Some of you are probably being generous and thinking “you’ve written a little bit, every effort counts,” because you’re nice people.

Sad to say, you are wrong.  I have written nothing on Mara’s Tale since Sunday.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I have not written since Sunday.  I’ll also be blunt and point out that I’ve only blogged once in that time as well.

I’m not sure what the reason is, other than it’s likely not just one.  I’ve been busy (theater ticket on Wednesday, social event Thursday) and as usual work has been somewhat stressful.  I’ve gotten more involved in a local group that I’m part of and I’ve been playing “pen pal” via email with someone from another state.  There is also the element of setting myself a challenge; I knew going in to the project that dismantling and expanding Butterflies would be difficult.  Even though there is an argument to be made that a new novel would have been easier, I suspect that the story itself is not the problem.  I haven’t had much (any?) inspiration to write this year, Mara or otherwise.

Honestly, my heart isn’t in it, and unless something drastic changes, I will not be finishing this year.  I’m sure I won’t be the only one.

This wasn’t meant to be a pity party, just a statement of fact.  Maybe a little abrupt reality will give me some impetus to get going again.

NaNo Update, Day 8

Let’s start with the bad news: I’m about 6000 words behind on my word count.

Of course, as I mentioned yesterday, I’m working with a couple different layers of goals.  When I look at where Mara’s Tale currently stands, I’m actually quite pleased with the status.  The story starts when she’s born, and follows her growing up.  Right now I have all of the gaps filled, plus some new stuff written, through her 6th birthday.  There’s also a fun new scene that occurs a few months later, leaving one more gap to fill.  (At least I know what goes in that gap!)

I hope that your NaNo adventure is going well, and that you are accomplishing at least some of your own personal goals.  For now, I’m heading back into Mara’s world – maybe I’ll get another few hundred words written before bed. 🙂

NaNo Update, Day 1

As in previous years, I am aware that you (probably) don’t want my blog to deteriorate into a daily NaNo blow-by-blow.  Thus, I will continue the tradition of years past.  I will post a weekly NaNo update and utilize the experience of NaNo to provide new material for writing about writing during the rest of the week.

(I do have a quick question for you.  Last year I also did a weekly piece of NaNo advice.  Should I do the same this year?)

So far today I have accomplished much with Mara’s Tale, but that has not necessarily translated into a high word count.  I started today with something I should have done before November, reading through and cleaning up the existing material as well as making a list of the gaps I left during previous writing.  There are also a few other good ideas that came from this effort, too, but right now they are just notes on a page (and those words don’t count, either).

I also managed to fill in one of those gaps, finishing a scene that had previously hit a wall.  That’s where today’s initial word count of 822 comes from.  I’m taking a little break right now, to do some research and to let an idea process, and I’ll be going back to writing a bit later.  There is one more gap I’d love to fill today, if possible.  If I do get that hole bridged, it will mean that the first four years of Mara’s life will be complete.  It should also mean that I’m at (or hopefully past) par for today.

Best of luck on your own November Adventure, be it NaNo or otherwise. 🙂

Goal Complete!

I just wanted to give you a quick update on Query Count 2013: I have received the tenth rejection letter for Dragon for the year!

There may be some of you thinking that I’m strange for being happy about a negative response.  At the beginning of the year I decided to remove the teeth from rejection.  Yes, the bite of a “no thanks” still stings, but it no longer has the power to leave me bleeding and anxious.

How did I do this magic, you may ask?  Some of you already know that I set a goal of ten rejection letters this year.  That way each letter, while still a negative, also had a positive side.  I got to make a little tick on the goal sheet, making the “no” something at least a little bit more desirable,

If you remember my last query update, I do still have one pending letter because I sent one more than I needed to reach the goal.  Regardless of the results of that letter, I at least met my goal for 2013.

Now I need to figure out what my publishing-related goal will be for 2014.

Query Count 2013: Rejections: 10, Pending: 1, Still to Send: 0

The Last Two (and an extra!)

Tonight I sent the last two queries for this year’s query goal of 10.  While I was perusing agency websites, I found three that I liked, so I figured I’d send an extra.

When you are sending queries, it’s recommended to direct your submission to a specific agent, if possible.  Some agencies are just one agent; if that’s the case, things are easy.  Many multiple-agent literary agencies have bios of their agents on their websites, usually including what each one is specifically looking for.  As I looked back over my 2013 queries, I realized that a majority of them went to female agents.  Since Dragon is about a strong female main character, it makes sense.

I can’t officially claim that I’ve reached my goal for the year, since sending queries is different from getting rejections and my goal was 10 rejections.  (Of course, if I end up with an agent, that would be good, too!)  I have, however, taken all the steps I can to reach the goal.  Now it’s just a matter of patience, and as usual, I’ll let you know!.

I also realized that I haven’t updated you since my last submission, so I should also tell you that I got two more rejections in the last month.

Here’s the count to date:

Query Count 2013: Rejections: 8, Pending: 3, Still to Send: 0.

Let the Fun Begin!

On July 22 I decided that I would restart my efforts to blog daily, and that once we hit the first of August, I would post something every day until the end of the year.

Today is August 1; let the fun begin!

I’ve done a pretty good job of posting since the decision was made, starting the process of reestablishing the habit, and I’m optimistic that I can maintain it.  I already have a couple of post ideas for the next few days, and writing has gotten easier as I do it every day.  (That’s the reason “they” tell you to journal, after all.  The more you write, the easier it becomes.)

In addition to starting the daily once again, today also marks the end of the three-week window on the last two query letters.  I plan to give it a few more days before I send some more, but I think we can officially count them as rejections.  You know what that means: time for an update on Query Count 2013!

Query Count 2013: Rejections: 8, Pending: 0, Still to Send: 2.

I’m looking forward to investing a little more time in Leigh the author in the next few months!

Time for more query letters!

Now that life is rolling back towards normal, I decided to work on a couple of my 2013 goals.  I went jogging, to work towards my target weight, but you don’t really care about that.

No, what you care about is that I sent two more query letters tonight!

I had a whole row of tabs across the top of my web browser, each with an agency website loaded, so I could decide who I should query next.  I ended up submitting to two agencies with a similar response time, of about three weeks.  One I’m very excited about, because they are closed to queries more often than they are open, so it was a no-brainer to snag the opportunity when I had it!

Now comes the fun waiting (again) but at least I’m working on it.  I’ve also decided that if I hit my goal of 10 before September, I will increase the goal number for the year!

As always, I will keep you posted.

Query Count 2013: Rejections: 6, Pending: 2, Still to Send: 2.


Back and… well, not rested, but at least back

It’s the first day of May, and I said I would return to the world of blogging.

Like all breaks, this one would have benefitted from a little bit more time.  I didn’t end up getting to rest my brain as much as I would have liked, and I really did very little writing-related stuff, but at least I spared you from the drivel that would have poured out of my ears during that time.  (I was a touch stressed last week…)

Here’s where everything stands:

Query Count 2013: Rejections: 6, Pending: 0, Still to Send: 4.  That’s right, I haven’t sent any query letters while on my break.  But if the goal is ten, and I’ve gotten six at the beginning of May, I’m somewhat ahead for the year.

The only update I have about the Butterflies overhaul is that the timeline fell off of the wall.  Nothing exciting, but I have been turning to Mara and her tale to help quiet my brain when work-related noise won’t leave me be.  I have a couple of ideas now that I hope to write up soon.

And what about the two big work projects?  I got one completed, and the other one is barely started.  The first project took longer than anticipated, plus we’ve had a round of sickness and injuries in my office, which meant I had to pick up tasks for a few of my team.  At least I made the deadline for project one, and the project two deadline was extended.  (It’s nice when you’re the one setting the deadline…)

I should be getting back to normal (maybe) so hopefully I can get back in the swing of things!  (Thank you again for your patience!)

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