Thursday, December 09, 2010

January 2011 is around the Corner!...New Goals!

The month of November is now a fleeting memory. December wrapped it within a deep chill and tucked me inside along with a full calendar of activities and festivities.

HOWEVER...the writing must occur!

Brenda Ferber, a fellow SCBWI member, recently challenged her blog readers to pick up a daily goal (writing a few pages a day, working on a new hobby, etc.) and to maintain that goal for 365 days. A full year. Yep, a full year. She has a fabulously inspiring story that accompanies her challenge. (You can read it at:

Thing is, I agree with her. We all need to take a challenge, to set ourselves a goal, and to work hard (sometimes it definitely will be hard) towards meeting that goal.

After completing the ever-daunting demands of meeting the NANOWRIMO (1667+ words a day), I have realized that it can be done. There are so many wonderful things to get out of working hard towards a personal goal!

For instance, when it comes to making writing your goal, here’s what I’ve discovered:

1. That story, you know the one, that has been floating around, taunting you day after day—well, you can finally give it the time and space it needs to calm down. Putting the words on to paper are like trapping a wild animal. (At least it seems that way at times!) The truly marvelous part of it though, is that the animal will change. What may have started out a hungry, carnivorous T-Rex, can end up being a sweet, fluffy bunny. And what joy! As a writer, you get to decide if you still like it or not.

2. Writing every day gives you that freedom to become distracted. Maybe you don’t have a topic to focus on. So what? I’ve found that writing about the mundane can often become the little seeds I need in a story I write later on.

3. It doesn’t take long before you feel that you are actually a writer. I mean, really a writer. One that writes. Every day.

I save my files daily and label them by date. During NANOWRIMO, my files were labeled like this: Nanowrimo 11122010. Subject, month, day, year. Simple and yet still a huge chunk in a writing folder!

My notebooks (for my “old-fashion” writing) has always been the same. Date in the corner.

Another kudo once you are a REAL writer…and you have been writing DAILY…you can buy new pens. Nice pens. And no one will question why you dropped $10-20 on a pen.

4. When you finish, when you are overcoming your goals, the next hurdle doesn’t seem so impossible. For me, it was the NANOWRIMO 50,000 mark. I’ve written middle grade manuscripts before, but never 50,000 in a month. That seemed nuts. Seemed. Now, I know I will do it again and again. With 50,000 words or more in a month, maybe 100,000 words or more per manuscript, I feel more comfortable and confident than ever! For once, I can cut/trim/edit without so much apprehension. I have options. I have alternate scenes and story lines. It like the Clue movie. I can choose which ending is the absolute best!

All I have to do now is decide what my personal goal will be. The 50K was too big for me during the school months. (I have to keep teaching to pay the big bills.) But 25,000 or 1000 a day doesn’t seem too far from possible. I’ll give it some more thought and let you know by next week! Meanwhile, check out Brenda’s site and think about setting a goal for yourself. Good luck!