Nancy: First Monday Accountability Thread

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” ~ Henry Ford

Welcome to the First Monday Accountability Thread, a new feature here on the 8LW blog. The first Monday of each month, we’ll invite you to share your plans and goals for the upcoming month. As this is a writing blog, of course there will be lots of focus on creative and writing goals, but feel free to share other important life goals as well. Training for a 5k, learning to crochet, reading a book a day? Tell us about whatever it is you hope to achieve by June 30, 2017.

You can pop into the comments on this post any time throughout the month to share your progress or ask for encouragement. And be sure to come back the first Monday in July to report your progress!

To get the ball rolling, here are my top goals for the month.

1) Submit Act I of Take the Money and Run to my writing coach, address her feedback, and prepare to write Act II (in July).

2) Finish the second ginormous revision (yes, that’s a technical term) of my Victorian Romance novella (which got a major overhaul based on excellent critique feedback as well as lessons learned in my Story Genius master class) and submit to final beta readers.

3) Read two books per week, every week.

4) Sign up for ongoing Krav Maga classes to work toward my yellow belt.

See how easy that was? Now it’s your turn. Tell us your plans for June 2017. How will you keep your eyes on your goals and avoid those pesky obstacles this month?

Jilly: Time Lock

time-lockDo you set yourself long-term goals? Do they inspire you?

In my personal and professional life, I’ve always been a pantser rather than a planner. I have a set of psychometric evaluation reports written about me more than 25 years ago that resulted in my setting a personal mission statement: to enjoy life and seek challenges. If I could track down the coach that helped me write that statement, I’d shake her hand. It’s as valid now as it was in 1990.

I don’t think I’ve ever set myself a concrete, specific long-term goal. I do think I’ve been good at recognizing—and grabbing—special opportunities when they’ve crossed my path. Continue reading

Elizabeth: In a Word, Joy

joyAs is traditional this time of year, we’ve been doing a bit of goal setting / planning here on the blog recently.  Jilly kicked us off by sharing her 2017 watchword Publish, and several others chimed in with fun, happy, finish, clarity, intention, story, and live.  All great words.

I’ve been mulling over my own watchword for several days now; considering and then discarding any number of possibilities.    In the past, I’ve generally decided on an idea or direction for the coming year.    I was tempted to go with write for my 2017 watchword, but that seemed a little too close to my 2014 “resolve to write” idea.

Back in 2011, my Idea was to embrace a “so what if you’re afraid – do it anyway” mindset.  That was the year I took my first graduate writing class and my first class at Oxford.  In 2012, when my momentum seemed to slow, Continue reading

Kay: Joss Whedon on Getting It Done

Don't let your manuscript expire in the cold of winter over this holiday season

Don’t let your manuscript expire in the cold of winter over this holiday season

Now that we’re well into December, I’ve been squaring away travel plans and thinking about Jilly’s post on not letting your WIP go stone cold dead over the holidays. I’m planning to take my laptop with me, but it’ll just be dead weight in my suitcase if I don’t open it up and turn it on. Will I have time to write between the demands of old friends and a three-year-old? Jilly said that even five minutes is enough to jot down a note or a thought that you could expand later. That’s probably true for a lot of people. It takes me a lot more than five minutes to get my brain into the book. It takes almost five minutes just to boot up my laptop.

I’ve tried various techniques in the past to boost my productivity. I envy the writers who write one, two, or even ten thousand words a day. Is a five-minute sprint worth the effort, or should I just invest in a pack of Post-Its? How can I cram some decent writing time into my holiday vacation time?

While pondering this question, I sought enlightenment from the masters and found an interview with Joss Whedon, he of Buffy, Firefly, and Avengers fame.

Continue reading

Justine: No More Excuses

6490798 - classic glossy black chair, isolated on a white background

Last year at this time, I attended RWA Nationals in NYC, including the awards ceremony on Saturday night. This year, I watched the ceremony via live stream from the comfort of my living room. No high heels. No tight dress. No edgy excitement. Just my rainbow cozy pants and a tall glass of milk.

I debated whether to attend Nationals this year and ultimately decided not to for one important reason: Continue reading

Justine: Fiction Fundamentals Part 1: Goals

Welcome to the first of at least a 10-part series on Fiction Fundamentals (referred to a week ago as Back to Basics, but Elizabeth has already trademarked that!). Over the next several weeks, I and a few guests will be discussing things new writers should consider when writing a novel. While having a great idea is certainly top on the list, there are many other topics writers should work on nailing down to make their novel strong….and salable.

goals arrowThis week’s topic: Goals (not yours…your character’s)

If you’ve attended any writing workshops at all, it’s likely you’ve heard many people talk about your character’s goals. They need to be good. They need to be strong. But how do you know if they are?

Your character’s goal is the very essence of their part of the story. It is why they’re part of it. Each of your major characters (protag, antag, love interest — which may sometimes be one in the same) should have a goal. There are two types of goals to create for your characters: Continue reading

Elizabeth: Writer Reboot

computer_reboot_buttonJanuary was a busy month at Ye Olde Day Job. It started off with some high priority projects and ended with everybody’s favorite activity, the Annual Performance Review.

Though it can be a pain, the review process is a good opportunity to look at what was planned, what happened, and what did and did not work. After finishing the reviews at work, I thought it would be a good exercise to repeat the process for my writing.

It did not go well.

When we started blogging here almost 2 ½ years ago, I think it’s fair to say we all had high hopes that we would finish the book we were working on before too long and move on to the next phase in our writing. I for one did not expect to still be trying to completely finish that first book.

I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, but . . . . Continue reading

Elizabeth: Where Does Writing Fit in Your Life?

writingWhether you’re just starting to write or have been writing for some time, it can be hard to strike a balance between writing and everything else in your life.

At time or another, we’ve all faced the problem of no time/ motivation to write, or just the feeling that our writing wasn’t going where we wanted it to go or with the speed we wanted it to go there. Nancy offered paths and strategies in her recent Ready, Set, Goal! post earlier this month and I talked about finding a writing process that works for you in my Back to Basics – Writing Life post.

Recently, I came across this Facebook post by Elizabeth Gilbert in which she talked about the words Hobby, Job, Career, and Vocation. The post was directed toward those who are seeking purpose and meaning in their lives, but I thought it was a very interesting way to think about writing. Having a clear understanding of where writing fits in your overall life can be very helpful when trying to figure out how and where to focus your time and energy.

Is Writing Your Hobby?

According to the dictionary, a hobby is Continue reading

Michille: Serious About Series

Callahan Family Cover 1We’ve talked about the new year in a couple of posts here. Elizabeth asked what you’re waiting for? Nancy suggested everyone get ready, get set, and set goals. So what am I doing? I am getting serious about my series. I’m taking my first Margie Lawson on-line course: Getting Serious About Writing a Series. The instructor is actually Lisa Wells (not Margie), but I’ve heard a lot of good things about the courses in general.

We are just getting started so I haven’t gotten into the real meat of it yet. Lesson 1 was on the Series Bible format. Done. Some of the other lessons deal with the connections, overall timeline, planning the ending, and writing a synopsis that encompasses the entire series. I’m thinking there is a lot of work ahead of me this month on my series. Continue reading

Elizabeth: What Are You Waiting For?

NewYearWishThis past week I, like many others on the planet, have spent some time thinking about what happened in 2015 and making plans for 2016.

My plan for 2015 was to write and to rediscover the joy of writing that had been lost somewhere in between a bunch of creative writing classes and my first draft manuscript.

So, how did I do?

  • Posted 52 Wednesday and 16 Writing Sprint blog posts right here at Eight Ladies Writing.
  • Completed manuscript #1 and qualified for RWA PRO membership.
  • Completed the draft of manuscript #2 and proved that it really is possible to write 50,000 words in a month.
  • Received a request for a full manuscript from a big-name agent

The best part is that Continue reading