Nancy: April Accountability Thread

Phew, we made it through March! At least the last week was more lamb-like in my little corner of the world, but it was not an easy month. It’s never been my favorite. In fact, it’s often 12 out of 12 for the year as far as I’m concerned, and in 2018 I found it particularly annoying. The silver lining to the dark cloud that was March was that my writing goals went so much better than many other parts of life, so it wasn’t all bad.

March Goals with Outcomes

1) Finish the damn website. DONE! As I reported a few weeks ago, NancyHunterbooks.com is up and running! I’m continuing to make tweaks to it, but until I get my book covers, the edited first chapter excerpts, and (eventually) ‘Buy’ links to add, I’m crossing this one off my list, it’s pretty well set. Words cannot express how happy I am to have this done, so imagine an interpretive dance of joy here ;-)! Continue reading

Nancy: March Accountability Thread

So, the beginning of March happened. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, it definitely came in like a lion. We’re on day three without electricity, so I’m working off generator-powered Internet service while sitting near the kerosene heater that keeps at least part of the house above 50° F. We’re hoping the powers that be will get the felled tree across a major road (closing off one of our routes of egress) removed, power lines back up, and electricity restored by midweek. I’m ready for that ‘goes out like a lamb’ part of March. Of course there’s plenty of work to be done before then. More on that in a minute.

For now, let’s cast our memory back to those golden days of February when here at Chez Hunter there was electricity. Oh, and grandiose plans for accomplishing All. The. Things.

February Goals With Outcomes

1) Finish the damn website. Um, yeah. I’ve successfully spent another month ignoring the website, or at least, the technical aspects of it. I have rewritten copy for it, thought about what I want to present on the Books page, and kicked around different ideas for a bonus content page. You know, all the non-technical stuff. Not so much the technical stuff, which is the real problem.

2) Finish the (second/third/fourth) revision of book 1 of the Victorian Romance series. Done! Yesssss!!!!! Happy Dance! Onward and upward! Continue reading

Nancy: February Accountability Thread

It’s now February. Of 2018. February 2018. I need to sit with that for a minute, because I really can’t believe January 2018 has headed for the exits. But here we are, on the first Monday of a new month, and you know what that means: it’s accountability time, people!

As I prepared today’s accountability post, I scrolled back through previous posts on this thread, and realized I just started doing the First Monday accountability posts in June 2017. I recently heard the past year described as feeling as though we lived it like dog years – that 2017 felt like seven long years. So maybe it’s no surprise I thought I’d been tracking my accountability for well over a year, but nope, this is only the ninth time I’ve shared my monthly goals.

Perhaps a bit more discouraging, though, was Continue reading

Jeanne: January Progress Report

So I had one goal for January: Finish the book.

I am sad to report that I did not meet that goal. The book is currently 293 pages, around 75,000 words, but I still have eleven scenes to go.

In case you’re wondering what happened, it’s the same thing that always happens to me. I think up all these cool bits and pieces as I go along, but when I get to the end, I can’t get them to fit together.

Hell’s encompassing goal in this book is to eliminate the influence of Rachel Blackmon, my protagonist’s mother and famous inspirational sculptor, from the face of the earth. Rachel left behind a body of work that included crosses and crucifixes in churches all over the world, along with four small statues representing Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which she created for her four children. She also left behind some leather-bound journals, where she detailed her thoughts and emotions on her work and her life. And I want all of that stuff to mean something. Continue reading

Jeanne: Writing at the Speed of Snail

Back during World War I, a British man named C. Northcote Parkinson did some research into work and bureaucracy. From the research, he created Parkinson’s Law, which states “Work expands so as to fill the amount of time available to complete it.”
I’m running into that exact same problem with my writing.

When I was still working, I wrote 10-20 hours a week. Now it’s more like 20-25 (no, not 40, because other tasks also expand to fill the amount of time available for them). But with twice as much time, I’m not getting twice as much written. Continue reading

Nancy: January (2018!) Accountability Thread

Wow, here we are in a whole new year. Choosing watchwords. Taking stock of 2017. Making plans for 2018. So in this accountability thread, I want to look at the big annual picture before I set my January goals. And as for accountability for my December goals? Well, to paraphrase Jeanne paraphrasing Robert Burns, the best laid schemes of mice and writers…you know how it ends.

Say the Word

I struggled with a watchword this year, trying on a few possibilities: focus, dedication, gratitude. None of those are bad, and in fact I do hope to incorporate all of those in practice this year. But none of them felt like a thesis statement for the year ahead. Then while thinking about something entirely different, something I now can’t even recall, I thought about how happy I am when I discover am surprised by the turn a story takes, get to see how other writers create story, or try to decipher how to complete a challenge (mental or physical). I get such joy from the sense of wonder these experiences engender, and I knew that was it, my 2018 watchword: wonder, as in ‘to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe’. Continue reading

Jilly: 2018 In A Word

Happy New Year!

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.

Continue reading