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Back in January, I talked about my approach for this year. Basically, I wanted to keep up with my serials, focus on longer fiction, and try to tackle one major project per quarter.

I did keep up the serials (with the exception of this past month for the newsletter serial), and I released both Corn Maze Murders and Bodyguard of Lies. I made good progress on Bodyguard‘s sequel, but it won’t be ready to go for a while yet. Quarterly projects? Not so much. In fact, I didn’t get to writing any of the four that I originally thought would be this year’s projects.

I submitted a couple of short stories I hadn’t expected to, including one I wrote specifically for an anthology. Still didn’t focus on the short fiction, but I decided it has its place.

So my plan for the year didn’t work out terribly well. However, I’m still pleased with what I got done, and I’m hoping next year will build on things I started this year.

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Conclusions” — December’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret, D. M. Bonanno, and Margaret McGaffey Fisk.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!


Subscribe to my newsletter now — receive updates twice a month, including a newsletter-only serial and recipes:


Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Back in January, I talked about how I was planning out my year — one major goal per quarter, keep up my serials, get Corn Maze up for sale, and make progress on the 50 States mystery series.

Yeah . . .

I’m still finalizing Corn Maze edits, I’ve set aside 50 States for now, and I finished nothing new in the second quarter. I have kept up on the serials, though, and I’ve tried to be better about blogging.

New project I’m pitching, though, involves a comic book miniseries. I didn’t get the pitch sent in by the end of June, but the publisher is supposed to reopen to pitches in September, so we’ll see how that goes.

I’ve also been looking at older work, novel manuscripts that I set aside because I didn’t yet have the skills to fix them, to make them the best they could be. At this point, that’s probably going to entail writing them over from scratch, rather than patching up sentences and paragraphs here and there, which on the one hand is a little depressing (more time and work involved) but on the other is a testament to my growth as a writer because I don’t think a simple edit is good enough.

Goal for the rest of the year is still to complete two more projects. Let’s see how that goes.

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Midyear check-in” — July’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret, D. M. Bonanno, and Margaret McGaffey Fisk.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!


Subscribe to my newsletter now — receive updates twice a month, including a newsletter-only serial and recipes:


Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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So what am I doing — or planning to do — with my writing in 2015?

I have specific goals, some of which I’ve talked about in my newsletter: still need to get Corn Maze Murders up for sale, and I’ve started the new 50 States series. I’m continuing my serials, both the one in my blog and the one in my newsletter. I’m not really planning on much short fiction for the year — some drabbles for SpeckLit, but not a lot else.

Instead, I want to focus on just getting a few things done, and maybe setting up for future work, doing research and the like.

Inspired by M.C.A. Hogarth, I’m basically focusing on one major writing goal per quarter, with perhaps smaller goals on a monthly basis. I was really amused this morning to discover a post on Fast Company about how 90-day goals were better than annual ones, which just reinforced this plan.

Hence, I have a lovely board (whiteboard-style posterboard, so I can make changes as necessary):

planning calendar

Whiteboard for the year

So far, I’ve got quarterly goals, a few things up under “Year” for things to think about and consider, and only a couple items on specific months, such as the release date for The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk (which has my story “Blood and Gold” in it) and the expected end date for Bodyguard of Lies (followed by its publication as an e-book and POD). Right now, it’s looking reasonable. Let’s hope I have the sense to keep it that way.

Not on the board are things like my daily sketching, and my freelance work isn’t on it at all. This is just my writing board.

How are you planning out your new year?


Today’s post was inspired by the topic “New Beginnings” — January’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonanno.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!


Subscribe to my newsletter now — receive updates twice a month, including a newsletter-only serial and recipes:


Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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I mentioned this in my last newsletter, but I know that not everyone subscribes to my newsletter, so I’m letting everyone know here, as well: next year, I plan to do a sketch a day and post it to DeviantArt. I’ve had an account there for around five years and never done anything with it, so you can see my work from the beginning.

Sketches might range from a ballpoint pen drawing of a bluejay (I’ve been doing those in my daughter’s lunch already, so that’s not really a challenge) to trying my hand at colored pencils on a dragon. I don’t know; I have 365 days to fill.

If you’re interested in following along, you can find me here: Eimarra on DeviantArt.

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Looking at what I’ve done this year. There have been some very slow months, but overall, it’s gone quite well.

  • I’ve written more than 120,000 words to date (which would be enough for two full cozy mysteries or one nice-sized fantasy or science-fiction novel if I hadn’t done so many short projects and flitted around from flower to flower).
  • I have three current serials running: one on my blog on Tuesdays, one monthly in the newsletter, and one (illustrated) in my daughter’s lunch notes.
  • I’ve read a ton of books (and realized yet again that I will never read everything I want to). I’m currently reading a few nonfiction works, but I’m still working on the piles of MG and YA titles as well.
  • I did volunteer work at the school store for the boy during the first part of the year, formatting the SFWA Forum, and reading for the Norton Award jury.
  • I picked up one steady copyediting gig and received other freelance work from both old and new clients.
  • I joined some new social media networks and launched my newsletter (subscribe below if you haven’t already!).

On the flip side,

  • I haven’t been exercising much, my ankle is in almost constant pain, and my muscles get cramps more easily than they used to. (Why yes, these are all inter-related.)
  • So much to read!
  • And, as always, still trying to figure out the best time balance to get enough paying work done and write as much as I want, while still spending time with family and doing my crafts and my reading and . . .

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Conclusions” — December’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonanno.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!


Subscribe to my newsletter now — receive updates twice a month, including a newsletter-only serial and recipes:


Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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I didn’t post goals back in January. This doesn’t mean I didn’t have ideas of what I wanted to accomplish — mostly writing, reading, and getting more consistent work. The details don’t matter much.

So how’ve I done?
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Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Back in January, I talked about my grandiose plans for the year. Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.

I didn’t finish the fantasy novel yet, although I did submit it to Viable Paradise.

I’m still working on fine-tuning the next cozy mystery, and I haven’t started the other series I mentioned I was thinking about.

I haven’t written the other middle grade novels nor the Dreampunk series novellas.

In fact, the only things on the list I’ve managed were the application to Viable Paradise and getting The Christmas Tree Farm Murders into paper (but not audio).

Yet for all that, I feel I’ve made progress this year. I’ve isolated things to work on improving, I’ve tweaked my work flow, and I think I’m finally getting a handle on how much I can reasonably expect myself to get done in a given time frame (the fact that it will never be as much as I want is depressing but must be accepted).

I’m going to see how some of what I’ve learned shakes out over the next two or three months before I set solid goals for 2014. I think the one thing I’m sure of is hat hey won’t be as far-reaching as this year’s were.

How about you? At the 5/6 mark of the year, what are you still aiming to get done in the next couple of months?


Today’s post was inspired by the topic “2013 project review” — November’s topic in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Be sure to check out the next posts in the series, by Sandra Barret and D. M. Bonanno.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on first stories, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

eimarra: (Default)

What projects lie ahead this year? Well, I posted recently about everything I’m working on, and all of it’s still in process (especially those items in the planning stages): the cozy mystery, the next paranormal romance, the middle-grades, the fantasy, the SF. What else is there to say?

Well, I’m playing around with planning another cozy mystery series, but it probably won’t see the light of day until 2014. I’m hoping to do the planning and start writing this year, creating a backlog so that I can publish the books at one-month intervals.

The fantasy — Sundered Sword — I’m hoping to use to apply to a writing workshop because although I’m reasonably comfortable considering myself at a pro level (well, okay, there are entire weeks I keep thinking someone’s going to realize I don’t belong doing this), I know I can still improve, and concentrated work for a week with half a dozen pros and a couple of dozen others at the beginning stages of their careers could be immensely helpful. (And if I don’t get in, I’ll publish the book and spend the week with a pile of writing books I’ve been meaning to get to.)

I’m also aiming to publish a couple more novellas in the Dreampunk line.

Other than that, I’m not really defining what I’m working on. I have a lot of ideas, a lot of possibility, and something new may turn up. I’m keeping myself open for the cool things to show up in my life.

The big news for 2013, though, is expansion of options. Print books are coming, and later in the year, audiobooks as well. My goal is to have everything longer than a short story available as e-book, print book, and audiobook.

Today’s post was inspired by the topic “2013 Goals/Anticipation”– January’s topic and theme in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The next post in the tour will be on the 4th, by D. M. Bonnano. Be sure to check it out.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out their thoughts on crossing genre lines, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!

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Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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My two goals for the year, you will recall, were to finish something each week, and to get something up for sale each month. Here’s how that went.

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Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

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Some of the things I did this year were things I set out to do:

  • I took my son with me to Boskone this year.
  • I sold a story to a SFWA-qualifying venue.
  • I became eligible to join SFWA (Associate level), although I haven’t done so yet.
  • I finished writing 1 book I’d previously started (Daniel).
  • I wrote more than a dozen new short stories.
  • I wrote a new book for NaNoWriMo.
  • I wrote and submitted a new novella for the UPC SF contest.
  • I attended my first WorldCon.
  • I ran a 5k race. (Okay, the original goal was a half marathon.)
  • I read, on average, more than a book a week (including magazine issues).

Some of the things I did weren’t on my agenda to begin with:

  • I started a sole proprietorship publisher, Hartshorn Publishing, to put some of my work up as e-books.
  • I got my first book contract (with Moongypsy Press, for Touching Time). (Didn’t actually get a formal contract yet, but then, I don’t have a complete book to deliver yet, either.)
  • I put four short works and a novella up for sale as e-books.
  • I lost a fair bit of weight and a couple of inches as a result of my running. (Honesty compels me to admit that the lack of said running through the summer and fall did away with the majority of this progress, especially with holiday treats to cap it off.)
  • I participated in the A to Z blog challenge in April.
  • I wrote another A to Z series of blog posts, focused on women writers of science ficiton and fantasy.

And, of course, there are things I planned to but didn’t:

  • I wanted to complete the quilt I was working on for a contest deadline in January.
  • I wanted to finally get a raised bed put in to grow vegetables and herbs.
  • I wanted to have more novels under contract with publishers.

Making money from my writing? (These numbers combine all avenues of income.)

  • Short stories: $558.48
  • Articles: $38.25
  • Novellas: $20.77
  • Novels: $0

Overall, definitely a very good year. Now, having exceeded expectations, I need to start working on my dreams and goals for 2012. Onward and upward!

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Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

On goals

Dec. 26th, 2011 03:47 pm
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It’s coming up on the end of the year, and I’m noticing people posting about how they’ve done this year or making plans for next year. (I’ve got a wrap-up post of my own that’ll go up Saturday, so I’m not immune.) If you need help in thinking about goals, I suggest you take a look at Dean Wesley Smith’s blog. Annually, he does a series of posts on goals, how to set them, and how to make sure they’re realistic. Right now, only the first one is up for this year, New World of Publishing: Failure is an Option. Quitting is Not. Here’s the meat of the post (in my opinion):

Check through all your goals for 2012 and make sure they ONLY concern your work level that is in your control.

Nothing more.

No action from another party can be involved, otherwise it is not realistic.

He’s also got a lot in there on failure (hence the title of the post), and how it’s going to happen. Anything that’s out of your control (which, as a writer, includes a publisher picking up your title or readers buying your work) is subject to failure. But you only fail completely if you give up. Definitely worth a read.

So . . . looking at posts like this, I get in the mood to think about all I’d love to accomplish next year. I could probably write a huge list. I usually do, including lists of books I want to finish, new projects I want to do, and on and on. This year, however, I’ve already set my new goals, and I’m keeping them simple, as I already mentioned.

  1. Finish something every week. This can be a novel, a short story, a haiku, a drabble, or a paying project for work. Paying work often leaves me exhausted and not wanting to do much if any writing, so taking that into consideration keeps me from beating myself up. Still, it’s a concrete weekly goal. Do something!
  2. Get something up for sale every month. By only asking myself to get one new thing up per month, that gives me time to make sure I have covers, and when a month is filled with family or with paying work or unexpected turbulence, it still gives me a chance of success.

Why am I posting today? To remind myself that I don’t need a huge to-do list. Just following through on these two goals is sufficient, and it should be instructive to look back next year and see just what 52 things I’ve managed to finish. It’s even conceivable that, say, the week I decide to finish sewing up my son’s quilt that that will be my finished project for the week. I don’t know, but it should be a lovely adventure to find out.

What about you? What goals are you planning to work toward in the next year?

Originally published at Erin M. Hartshorn. You can comment here or there.

eimarra: (Default)
Everyone knows there's a lot of information on the Web about writing -- both craft and business. Lately (well, okay, starting at the end of last year -- I can be slow to post), I've noticed that there are a few different books being blogged that are well worth following.

Dean Wesley Smith: Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing --- DWS is a lot of the inspiration for me to actually get moving on my submissions this year. If I hadn't been reading his blog (including his set of posts on motivations at the end of last year*), I probably wouldn't have submitted the two books I have this year.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Freelancer's Survival Guide --- Very long (almost 60 entries right now), covering everything from negotiating to networks to vacations.

Tobias Buckell: It's All Just a Draft --- Basics, short stories, workshops . . . each installment available as a downloadable RTF.

###

Not a book, but a series of posts that might be worth your time to look at are Stroppy Writer's looks at a publishing contract (Anne Rooney, in the U.K.). Currently, a dozen posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. Note that not all of these posts have the tag "publishing contract" on them, so you can't just click the tag to get the entire group.

An older set of posts on reading a contract were posted back in 2004 by [livejournal.com profile] msagara. I found them well worth reading at the time. Although I haven't gone back to them recently, I can't imagine that that has changed.

###

So, there you are. Lots of reading for a rainy day. Have fun!


* Motivation posts: 1 (motivation and year end goals), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (fear), and 10 (extra help). The early posts talk a lot about Heinlein's rules and how DWS has implemented them. Later, he gets into five-year plans and how to set your goals based on your dreams.
eimarra: (Default)
I took a look at my stated goals for the year, and although I've made progress on them, I'm certainly not going to get all of them met before this December 31.

Edit two novels and get at least one out to agents. I edited one, sent it out for crits, read the crits, and prepared a new edit plan for it. For the other, I've read through it and prepped an edit plan/outline. Nothing has made it as far as an agent.

Submit one novella and one novelette. Novella done, submiited, results posted. Novelette was supposed to go to Nocturne Bites; I've decided to shelve that project indefinitely (i.e., trunk it), even though I am almost finished with the edits.

Outline NaNo 2007. Done as part of above editing plans.

And a new novel for NaNoWriMo? I certainly participated. I even won. What I did not do was write a complete novel, and Jim Bob is not going to be finished this month, either.

So the final score for 2009 goals? Actually, pretty good. I didn't get as much done as I wanted on novels, either writing or editing, as I wanted, but I did make progress.

What does this mean for 2010? I'll roll over the editing and writing, of course, as a minimum. However, I should get more done in the coming year. My youngest is in daycare now, which will give me more time. Also, we're not taking as long a family vacation -- thus, I'm expecting to get far more done and will be posting 2010 goals that reflect this.
eimarra: (Default)
Okay, I'm a bit behind on the "six month" update. I listed my goals for the year on December 31, and I'm doing pretty good so far.

I have:
  • edited one novel and sent it off for crits
  • submitted one novella (today)
  • finished writing and editing one novelette and sent it off for crit
  • reoutlined my 2007 NaNo (which will probably be my second novel edited for the year)


Still on the agenda:
  • second novel edited
  • one novel out to agents
  • novelette submitted
  • new novel for NaNo 2009


I'm hoping to send out the novelette soon, and then there's family vacation. A good reward for good progress!

on goals

May. 21st, 2009 05:02 pm
eimarra: (Default)
So . . . goals. I've certainly posted about my own goals here before. Clearly, I am in favor of setting them. But this post is going to dig a little deeper into the what and why of goals, prompted by two recent articles (on the same research) and a blog post by a literary agent.

The references (Feel free to go read them first, then come back here. Or skip them. Either way.):

Does Announcing Your Goals Help You Succeed?

To Score, Keep Your Goals to Yourself

A Post About Dedication

When this subject was brought up over on Forward Motion, Zette chimed in with a discussion of not making your goals dependent on other people for their fulfillment. That's *not* what these articles are talking about, and I'm not going to address that here.

The first article describes the experiments, performed on law students, which measured their perceptions of themselves (as given by questionnaires) against their actual behavior (study of difficult criminal cases). A second study rated intentions for work versus perceived status. In the first case, those who talked about the questionnaires did less work; in the second, those who talked about their intended work habits rated themselves as better jurists.

The second article talks about the application of these results to all issues of identity and high-order goals.

If you talk about something -- and you get the acknowledgment of the work you intend to do -- you may be less likely to do the work. For example, if I say I'm going to start getting up at 5:30 so I have time to do a full yoga workout each morning (not likely! I barely got out of bed in time to make the 7yo's lunch this morning before the school bus came.), the approval and "Atta girl!" comments will make me feel as if I've already done it -- so then, why do I need to do it?

However, that second article points out that it's not true for everyone. It quotes a life coach who credits feedback from others for motivating her to run a marathon and write a book. She says, "Where (public) recognition might get in the way of the goal is when people aren't ready to take on this new and improved aspect of themselves."

The blog post? That takes the opposite viewpoint: "the saying of it makes it real. Makes YOU accountable." However, she does make allowances for being uncomfortable with being public. She says even writing it down in a calendar allows us to dedicate ourselves to the task.

I would even say that how publicizing our goals makes us react may be different from goal to goal for the same person. For example, I have no problem posting my goals and progress with my writing in all its various forms -- outlining, writing, editing, brainstorming, whatever. I talk about them here, I talk about them in chat, I post on the goals threads on Forward Motion.

On the other hand, the two times in my life I got serious about losing weight, I never said a word to anybody. I did it for approval, yes, but I didn't want to tell the person whose approval I sought that I was doing it. That might have led to crushing personal rejection. My personal image couldn't afford the risk involved in talking about it. I didn't keep an exercise diary, I didn't note what food I ate or didn't eat, and I didn't measure myself and record the changes. But the weight and the inches came off.

I think the truth of the matter varies for every circumstance and person. If you feel that it will help you to share, do it. If you're better off holding the cards close to your vest, go with that. And if you find that you're not making as much progress as you hoped with whichever method you chose, try doing it the other way around for a while.
eimarra: (Default)
Around this time of year, many people set writing resolutions and goals for themselves. If you have any you, please share them in the comments.

My goals for the year include getting two novels edited and at least one of them out to agents, submitting one novella and one novelette (different markets), reoutlining my 2007 NaNo so I can work at editing it, and writing a new novel for NaNo in 2009. There's probably some short story work going to happen, but my focus for the year is on the longer works.

What about you?
eimarra: (Default)
One of the things I've realized is that with the new little one, I'm a little more tired--and have less time during the day. Which means, in turn, that I can't get as much work done as usual. It's a sobering realization, and one that I've fought tooth and nail. (Yes, I'm a bit of a workaholic. And I set high goals. But the two tend to go together well.)

So my first step is eliminating some of the goals I wanted to reach. I may well add to this list, but it's a step in the right direction right now.

GOALS DISCARDED FOR THE YEAR:

edit and submit the following short stories:
  • Banded Jade

  • Ophid Dei

  • Soulfire

  • Spiders

  • Succession

  • Unique Talents

  • When Pigs Fly


write, edit, and submit shorts to the following anthos/contests:
  • Bleeding Desert

  • Polyphony 7 (Realized this a while ago; it's not the deadline next week that put it on my list.)

  • The Infinity Swords

  • Spec Fic World

  • Merton Poetry of the Sacred


write new short stories on general principles

write and submit erotica novellas for e-pub

freelance (nonfiction) writing:
  • make at least 3 queries/month

  • write 1 article/month on spec

  • land paid blogging gig


create 2 new back-to-school classes for FM

set up writing Website, including blog

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