Nancy: December Accountability Thread

This is it, our last monthly accountability thread for 2017! Can you believe it?

For the past eight days, I’ve been a few thousand miles from home. I’ve been sightseeing, extroverting (in my own introverted way), and occasionally (very very occasionally) squeezing in some writing. In a few hours, possibly around the time you read this, I’ll be frantically checking to ensure I’ve packed everything, running off to see a few last sights, and dashing (sitting) through rush-hour traffic in LA to make it to the airport in time to catch my flight home. But all of this is to your benefit, as for this month’s accountability recap and next month’s goal-setting, I’ll be brief!

You know how this works. First, we’ll recap November’s progress. Continue reading

Michille: Gifts for Writers (and Readers)

Writers Charm BraceletWe’re heading into a big holiday season for many. Personally, I celebrate Christmas. Even if you don’t celebrate something in December, you likely have other times of year when you do, like birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. I’ve gathered a few ideas for the writer or reader in your life that are a little different than, say, an Amazon gift card. Last year’s edition of this included Aqua Notes. I have since found Eureka Shower Idea Whiteboard. Amazon also has The Writer’s Toolbox: Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the ‘Write’ Side of Your Brain and I love this bracelet. Continue reading

Kay: Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This is maybe my favorite holiday of the year, unburdened as it is by the anxiety of gift-giving, focused on a simple but bountiful harvest meal shared with a community of friends and family. And if my family leaves money, religion, politics, and some nephew’s haircut out of the conversation, I am extremely thankful.

I tend to think of Thanksgiving as an American and Canadian holiday, but vestiges of the American holiday, as well as general harvest festivals, are celebrated worldwide. For example, Liberia celebrates Thanksgiving (and many other American traditions) because it was founded by freed American slaves. Continue reading

Nancy: November Accountability Thread

It’s already the first Monday of November. Can you believe it? And you know what that means! It’s time to fess up. Tell us what you did (or didn’t) accomplish toward your creative goals for October, then share your November goals.

So are you ready to play ‘I’ll show you mine, you show me yours’? As always, I’ll go first. This month, though, I’m going to do this a little differently. No harsh words for myself. No disappointment. Celebration and appreciation for what I did get done. It’s all part of incorporating self compassion into my creative process. I’ll write more about that in next week’s post. But for now, time for some self-compassionate accountability.

October Goals

1) Finish the novella revision. Continue reading

Nancy: Romance is the Shizzle

OK, that might be a terrible and decidedly dated title for a blog post, but what’s important here is the message. Romance is hot! I’m not talking about 4-alarm heat levels based sexual explicitness. I’m talking about the state of the market. While other fiction genres struggle to recover from the hit book buying took last November (after something happened…something cataclysmic and unprecedented…ring any bells?), the romance genre is leading the pack in rebounding.

According to an article on Salon.com titled Welcome to the Romance Resistance, booksellers, publishers, and indie authors are reporting record sales in the genre. The article credits the escapism the genre offers its readers, something many women (remembering that women make up 84% of romance’s readers) are seeking  during these trouble times. No doubt there’s something to that. But other genres offer escapism, too, so what else is romance offering its readers?

It’s another e word. Empowerment. We’re seeing tremendous pushes toward regression in women’s rights, on issues ranging from workplace protections to bodily autonomy. Much of the romance genre provides a ballast to this frightening trend. Authors across the genre write about heroines who are smart, capable, and full of agency. Heroines who are empowered.

We’ve seen how threatening empowered women are to the powers that be and the pushback that women’s societal strides forward have engendered. But we must keep that forward momentum. When fighting the good fight exhausts us, we can take a break and sink into a good book for a little bit of escapism and a big dose of ‘woman power’.

Friend of the blog Jennifer Crusie has said romance is the most subversively feminist genre she’s ever read. That subversion, and the escapism, empowerment, and celebration it brings with it are center stage right now. So let your romance flags fly, readers and writers of this awesome genre!

 

Note: This week, whether you’re stoking your creativity by writing your own romance story or immersing yourself in someone else’s story world, how about a little musical accompaniment? Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the smash Broadway hit Hamilton, has undertaken a musical project to help victims of Hurricane Maria. If you want to hear him talk about the creative process of writing and recording the song Almost Like Praying with a whole host of Latinx stars, check out NPR’s interview with Miranda. To get straight to the music, check out the video on YouTube. Whether you stream the song or buy, the proceeds go to the Hispanic Federation’s Hurricane Relief Fund.

Nancy: October Accountability Thread

As Jilly mentioned in yesterday’s post, it’s already October. Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere! Like many people, I find the cool, crisp air and explosion of colorful leaves invigorating and uplifting. It gives me energy and a renewed sense of purpose. It probably even helped me get in gear to post our first Monday accountability thread on (who woulda thunk it!) the actual first Monday of the month. So I’m already doing a better job of accomplishing things in October than I did in August and September.

While Jilly and a few others shared their goals for this final quarter of the year, I’m eating a slightly smaller elephant (one bite at a time) by setting some goals for this tenth month of 2017. But first, I give you the September recap, with less success than I’d hoped to report.

September Goals

1) Finish the novella revision. You have to be as sick of seeing this goal on my list as I am. This one is a good news/bad news story. I have made progress! I can see light at the end of this seemingly never-ending revision tunnel! But I’m not done, not yet. I think there are a whole lot of reasons for this, not the least of which is fear of finishing, of letting this thing go and moving onto the next step of the process which will end in eventually releasing it into the world. It will never be perfect. It will never be as wonderful on paper/screen as it was in my head, not even close. And I’ve been having a hard time making peace with that. September was, at least, a chance to realize this and to fight through some of the harder parts of the rewrite.

2) Make my one-year writing plan. Yay, a success! I’m able to check this one off my list. And I actually have a two-year writing plan, with built-in flexibility and the prerogative to change it if necessary, but as it is, it’s a really good plan!

3) Sign up for a 6-month book coaching program. Done! However, I now won’t be starting the 6-month journey until November, but it’s all good, because that fits with my two-year writing plan.

4) Re-engage with this and other special online communities. Well, I fell short on this one, too. But I did at least get back to reading posts (most weeks), interacted with a few groups on Facebook, and I took advantage of the opportunity to connect with a few of my tribes live and in person in September.

October Goals

Out with the old goals, in with the new. Except, of course, in the case of that novella…

1) Finish the novella revision. Seriously. I’m sick of saying it; you’re sick of hearing it. Here’s hoping I officially cross this one off the list this time.

2) Finish the next 30,000 words in my WIP. This is another in the Victorian Romance series. My writing plan says I’ll release that (damn) novella and the first two full-length books in the series in 2018. This is the second of the 2018 full-length books, and after October’s 30k words, I’ll have 20k or less left to go. Even with my painfully slow revision process and all the steps that need to occur between first draft and publication, I’m dangerously close to achieving that 2018 publishing goal if I hit this October writing goal.

3) Get on a writing schedule. It doesn’t have to be rigid, and I don’t want to beat myself up if I miss the occasional writing session. But I want to get back to some good habits I once had. With the really big personal and professional obligations of the past few months behind me, this feels like the right time to do it.

That’s it. Nothing that I haven’t done before. Nothing I can’t do again, if I get my writing house in order. How about you? Tell us what goals you plan to accomplish this month as the days get shorter and cooler, and the smell of freshly-baked apple pie wafts through the air (or is that only at my house?).

Nancy: September Accountability Thread

jumping-hurdles

I’m not feeling very accountable lately. Last month I was a day late with this post. This month, I’ve stretched it to a week. I’m afraid it gets worse from there. I accomplished none of my  August writing goals. And a week into September, I’m not showing much improvement. But wait! The story does get happier, I promise!

First things first, though. Here’s a brief recap of my August goals, complete with admissions of defeat.

August Goals

1) Get through All the Things for my daughter’s wedding, which HAPPENED on September 3. I should really stop there. This one I completed like a champ. I took on even more than I’d planned, Continue reading