A New Day

I was desperate for an idea to blog on today until I read Pat Davids’ blog in the wee hours of January 2nd. Her blog and the article she recommended
Look Ahead With Stoicism—and Optimism
were just what I needed in several ways. They revitalized my attitude and turned those hours into a New Day filled with hope and promise! With apologies to the article’s author, I paraphrase a segment I found inspiring:

“Repair, rebuild, and return to writing with enthusiasm. So many forces exist to pull us away from it. We have to do what we can to hold to our goals in the long run.”

Repair. Rebuild. Return. These three words provoked introspection. They inspired glimmers of hope in the midst of a self-pity party. I ended the year like Old Man Time, weighed down and battered by twelve months of hill and valley with a few health-challenged mountains strewn across the path at the end of the year. Looking at 2009 now, with a fresh prospective, it was a mixed year for me. Some writing goals met –that new web design, completed revisions, several queries and submissions (one editor request still shows promise of a sale)-- mingled with goals not met and rejections from agents and editors. Not a horrible year, just an ordinary one. But I want more than ordinary.

To make 2010 extra-ordinary I will:

1. Repair. Take an honest look at the year past. Note limitations and accomplishments with an eye toward what led to each. Ferret out what nuggets of wisdom are to be found and implement change that will turn limitations into accomplishments.
A. Faithfully keep a record of pages written. It’s sort of like pennies mounting into dollars. Words become pages which become books. Keeping a record reinforces that it IS important.
B. Set Yearly goals:

1. To part with Never to Part

2. Keep the Honour Series submitted to agents and editors at all times;

3. Complete the 5th book in the series

C. At the beginning of each month set goals for the month which are delineated into weekly goals. The smaller the goal the more manageable; the more like to be met. Allow for some room for necessary time adjustments.

January Goals:

Continuing from month to month: Write and post blog. Complete Mission Possible

1st week: Complete scene additions on Never to Part.
2nd week: Finalize scene changes in Never to Part:made necessary by the additions.
3rd week: Complete scenes in Never to Part:if necessary. Resubmit.
4th week: Review historical research and story outline on Honour’s Love. Complete Paris escape route. Review and edit Chapter One

2. Rebuild (Confidence). Examine what I do well. Do this each month adding in what was done well for that month.
A. Note my strong points and the success I have had because of them. Remind myself of them throughout the year to reinforce the positive. Use them with deliberation in future projects.
B. Read currently published books in my genre for market research and enjoyment. Study agent and market information sources to keep abreast of what is selling. Target agents and editors accordingly.
C. Continue to study and hone writing skills choosing a topic according to what crops up as I write.
3. Return (to writing with enthusiasm.) Again paraphrased from the afore mentioned article:
“Do you remember the mission? Do you remember why you began to write, what you meant to do, what writing meant to you when you viewed it from the outside, years ago, and hoped to become part of it?
Years in the writing trenches with early and then mixed success had worn me down. With health issues, beau coup medication, and that pesky thing called “life,” writing faded in importance. It still niggled and nudged; still demanded attention, but I was more and more apathetic about it.

Did I remember the mission? No, I hadn’t thought about it in ages.

Why did I begin write? That first story (and most of the others) demanded it. It gave no choice; it had to be written.

What did I mean to do? I meant to write stories of adventure and romance. I did, no, I still do that.

What did writing mean to me? Writing meant—means-- freedom, it means expression, it means my spirit can fly and soar. Just writing that last sentence lifted my spirit. How can I not return to writing with enthusiasm?

If you are fretting about writing, about unmet goals and writing failures as I was, it is time see the New Day before you filled with hope and promise! Time to look to a glass more than half full. Remember the mission. Recall what writing means to you; what it gives back to you. And Write.


Reese Mobley said...

Lofty goals but if anyone can do it, it is you. Take care of yourself and hang on to the reasons you wanted to be a writer in the first place. Thanks for being a constant source of inspiration. I toast you with my half full glass. XOXO

Sharon N said...

Great words of advice. Heartfelt words of inspiration. I plan to read this again as the months go by.
Thank you for sharing words of hope for the future of writing.

Joan Vincent said...

Thanks for commenting Reese and Sharon. Remember what I said about building in time for unexpected events? Think I should have built in a little more in January.

The nice thing about a group and inspiration is that we seem to take turns being up an down and consequently can inspire each other when necessary. Without the Pat's blog I'd still be really down. Many thanks to you Pat and to Rox to for starting us on this path.

Pat Davids said...

I'm glad my blog helped inspire you. I loved the article and I thought it applied to many things in my life as well as the country in general.

I have my resolutions (goals) posted where I can see them every day along with my steps to achieve those goals. Each night before I turn in I evaluate how I did. I'm not good at making changes, but I'm giving it my best shot.


Rox Delaney said...

Pat and everyone else...

Just giving it your best shot means you're a success!

Me? One synopsis down and two more short ones to go. When those are done, the first of my goals for the year are done! (Yes, I'm cheating. I started early. *grin*)

Becky A said...

Great post Joan. I think we all need to periodically stop and remind ourselves of why we started in the first place. It's way too easy to let life get in the way. I applaud your determination and appreciate the timely reminder.

Joan Vincent said...

Pat, posting the goals where I can see them is key for me. Without that constant reminder I tend to stray! With a focal point it's much easier to complete goals. It always feels so good to tick them off the list!

Joan Vincent said...

Rox, I agree with you. Working toward a goal, getting each step done is success which will be mirrored back in larger and larger lens. Congrats on reaching your first goals of the year. Way to Go!

Joan Vincent said...

Thanks Becky. We all have to keep working through the barriers life gives us. I thought again how long it had been since I thought of why I started writing and what it was like in the early years as I read your comment. You've given me another inspiration--I'm going to put a reminder in my yahoo calender to ponder just that six months down the road!

jel said...

yes "PLEASE" keep writting!

I so love to read!

"write on" :)

Starla Kaye said...

Wow! You humble me with your blog and plans. I'm in the beginning steps of planning my writing year for 2010. A lot of it is based on current negotiations with my publishers over how much they want from me this year, and what I can actually do. I stretched pretty thin in 2009. I'd like to have a little more "me" time this year. It's really sad when you have to schedule in that kind of time.

Joan Vincent said...

Starla, You are so productive I'm in awe of you! If I can follow your example I'll have an awesome year!

Penny Rader said...

Fabulous post, Joan! Repair. Rebuild. Return. I will keep these in mind this year. Thanks for a terrific road map. I hope 2010 is super EXTRAordinary for you and all of WARA.