Do you play the watchword game? That is, choose a single word to epitomize your approach to the coming year? It’s not as restrictive as a goal or resolution. More like a theme, defined as ‘an idea that recurs and pervades.’
Elizabeth told us on Wednesday that her word for 2018 is FINISH, to be applied to one project per month, not necessarily writing-related.
Last year I wanted a call to action. I settled on PUBLISH, and here’s how I explained my choice:
That doesn’t mean I expect Alexis to be published by the end of 2017, though that would be thrilling. It means that everything writing-related that I do this year should be directed towards that end. By next New Year’s Eve, at the very least I should know the specifics of how and when that book, and that series, will get published.
I think I did pretty well with that.
- I finished Alexis Book 1 and, with Jeanne’s help, tidied up the ms well enough to win a contest and get some nice comments from the judges.
- I made a final decision to pursue indie publishing, joined Mark Dawson’s Self-Publishing 101 course and worked through the lectures.
- I signed up with Jeanne’s editor, Karen Dale Harris, and sent Alexis to her. I received my report just before Christmas and I’m now working my way through Karen’s comprehensive and challenging feedback.
- I decided to write two more stories from Alexis’s past, one to be given away on my mailing list and the other as a prequel to kick off Alexis’s series. I resolved to get both of these finished before I release the first Alexis book, even if that means I have to let the ‘go live’ date slip a few months.
- I spent a lot of time thinking about my titles, covers, and all kinds of other useful indie-publishing need-to-know decisions I learned about from the Mark Dawson classes. I now have a pretty good idea of how I’m going to handle most of them.
This year I’m going for a different approach, because although I keep inching forward, I’m feeling a kind of mounting frustration that I still have so much to do and it’s taking me so damn long to hatch a book.
I thought about PATIENCE, because I’m going to need lots of it.
I considered PROCESS because that’s what Jenny Crusie used to say in class when we got stressed out: It’s a Process.
I was tempted by PROGRESS, because as long as I keep moving in the right direction, I know I’ll get there.
But in the end, I found my 2018 watchword courtesy of this timely reminder from Michaeline. On 30th December, she said:
We live in a time where we can get online support and critiques, buy the best organizing tools ever, and even publish ourselves with only our own Inner Censors as the sole gatekeepers of our work. Or we could get a pencil and paper, and then publish pictures of our handwritten pages on Instagram. It’s all trimmings. What really matters is the happiness you get from writing.
I love that.
So, although I’m looking forward to another packed year of writing and indie-publishing challenges, I’m also going to remind myself why I choose to invest all this time, energy and hard-earned cash: because it makes me happy.
So—TRIMMINGS is my watchword for 2018. Thank you, Michaeline 😀
What would/did you choose?
I think my word for the year is Trajectory. Even if I don’t reach all my goals for the year,if I keep moving in the right direction–and I feel like I have been–I’ll get there. Maybe not as soon or as readily as I’d like, but I’ll get there.
Jeanne, I love your new headshot, and your hair! When did you go short? (I got mine cut off in October into a pixie cut – great writers think alike ;-).)
Ditto! Jeanne, I love your new pic!
Great word, Jeanne. You’ll definitely get there, and we’ll be here cheering you on!
Well, I take issue with one thing you said: “…it’s taking me so damn long to hatch a book.” Nope. You are hatching much more than a book. A story. A prequel. A marketing plan. Coursework about all things publishing, and probably a website and newsletter as part of it. You are hatching a career, and doing the jobs of multiple people to accomplish that goal. Kudos to you! I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for all of us!
Thank you, Nancy! You’re right, of course, but it can be frustrating and a little embarrassing trying to explain to friends and family that there STILL is no book for them to buy. They’re super-supportive, but I feel as though I’m making excuses.
I heard JoJo Moyes say something similar at a conference once–she went through years of teasing at work on her way to publication, and it didn’t seem to do her any harm.
I’m really grateful to be part of this group. I think 2018 has the potential to be a very exciting year for all of us!
My word of the year so far has been “sleep” — and I suspect what’s going to drive me for a lot of the year is the phrase “catch up!”. I do feel behind the times.
(-: The very nice thing about the word trimmings is that when you turn the word, different facets shine in the light. Trimmings can be the fancy stuff, the finishing touches, lovely little things you do for yourself . . . or even trimming and editing your manuscript until it fits into the Story Shape you desire.
You have gotten a lot done in 2017! Congrats on finishing the Alexis book!
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