Friday, January 13, 2012

2011 -- In Retrospect

Looking back over my list of goals from last year, I'm fairly pleased with the results.

*Read at least 2 books on revision and self-editing. (Check!)

*Macro revision of memoir; eliminate all known plot and flow issues. (Check.)

*Micro revision of memoir; polish with a line-by-line review. (Checkity-check!)

*Recruit reliable beta-readers and make adjustments based on consensus input. (Yeppers! 4 non-related betas, all reliable and very helpful! :))

*Begin agent querying in by the middle of the year. (Early August--close enough.)

*Attend 2 workshops. (2 online, 1 in person. Thank you Margie Lawson!)

*Enter 2 contests for feedback purposes. (5 contests entered, finaled in 2)

*Finish reading: Writing the Breakout Novel. (Yes! And it was marvelous.)

*Read: Goal, Motivation, Conflict –Deb Dixon. (Nay.)

*Read: Heroes and Heroines – Tami D. Cowden. (Nope. :P)

*Read at least 15 books just for fun. (Roughly 40 read for fun. Cha-ching!)

*Write at least 500 words a day, regardless of what it goes towards. (Mostly, yes.)

*Continue going through all Writer’s Digest magazines, highlighting helpful material.

*Study the Sci-fi genre and read 5 well-rated, recent examples. (Only one recent example read--Across The Universe. 5 classic examples read in addition, at least...)

*World-build and create an outline for my intended sci-fi series. (Half of my character sheets were done before I got waylaid by NaNoWriMo ambitions.)

*Keep up with the blog at least once a month. (CHECK!)

*Regular exercise. (3 months consistently...then failure. :P)

What is amazing to me is how much I accomplished that I hadn't even thought to set as goals. 2011 was a year of firsts for me:

I judged 6 entries for a contest, joined the Birmingham chapter of the RWA, copy-edited 13 chapters for a friend, attended my first writing conference ever--Moonlight & Magnolias--where I pitched in person for the first time to two agents. I received my first 2 partial requests, received my first 13 form rejections and one personalized rejection, attempted NaNoWriMo and failed miserably (but learned a lot from that failure), found a published-author critique partner who challenged me to my limits and left me better off for it, and I was taken on as a book reviewer for RT Magazine.

A year ago, few of those things would have occurred to me at all. Most were simply opportunities that cropped up in what seemed like oddly good timing. Yet, all of these experiences have built upon each other to hone my sense for the writing craft in ways I never saw coming. I have a complete manuscript that's been screened and edited to a state I'm happy with, and I've made it 6 chapters into constructing a YA novel that keeps surprising me. I've truly gone back to school these last two years. I may not be agented yet, but I feel so much more prepared for that step. Maybe 2012 is the year. :)

In the mean time, I need to keep striving for goals and pushing forward. So without further ado and/or blathering, I present my goals for this year:

*Write at least 500 words a day, regardless of what it goes towards.

*Continue to keep 5-8 queries out there to agents regarding the memoir.

*Enter a least 4 contests for feedback purposes, both manuscripts.

*Judge for at least 1 contest.

*Love my family enough to avoid NaNoWriMo until children are much older and no longer need me...

*Attend a weekend writing retreat.

*Read at least 30 books just for fun. (Outside of monthly RT assignments.)

*Read at least 3 craft-related books.

*Expand my social media networking presence and familiarity.

*Write a query and synopsis for new YA novel.

*Finish YA novel, revise, and send it to be edited.

*Continue going through all Writer’s Digest magazines, highlighting helpful material.

*Keep up with the blog at least once a month. (Tune in every 2nd Friday of the month!)

*Procure 'the right agent.' (Lord willing.)

*Exercise regularly! Exercise every other day.

So, what are you pleased to have accomplished in 2011? And what are your project and personal growth goals for this year? Give me all of them, or just your top 3 if you're pressed for time. :)


  1. What a fantastic year!! I'm so happy for you that it exceeded your expectations. And this year will be even better. Can't wait to see you in Birmingham and at the NEXT Moonlight & Magnolias conference.

    Happy Writing!

  2. Your list exhausted me! Wish I had the fortitude you have. I am just now getting back to my writing, a slow arduous process. ~sigh~

    What wonderful achievements for you! I am pea-green...

  3. @Christine,
    Thank you! I suppose it helped that I didn't really know what to expect, other than knowing I needed to dive in and try as many new things as I could handle. I couldn't have done most of it without some exceptional camaraderie. ^_^ Always looking forward to seeing you!

    I don't know about fortitude...I'm a little exhausted myself! I'm just glad to have some peace that this whole venture actually seems to be going somewhere.
    ...and I, dear lady, am a Yankee. I had to look up 'pea-green.' >.< Thank you! You've been so very supportive of me, and I truly appreciate that.
    *raising my cup of tea to you* Here's to you getting your writing groove back!

  4. Wow, you got a lot done! Congratulations on moving forward with your writing goals. :) I've started the new year by joining Weight Watchers. So far, so good. I don't really make resolutions for the rest. I just try to keep moving forward on the work. :)

  5. @Lynn,
    Thank you much! :) And congrats on deliberately joining an accountability system for the sake of your health. I need to get around to that one of these days. ^_^ I do admire that you can just focus on moving your work forward as a published author. I think I need so many goals because I'm still clawing my way up to where you are.

  6. I have just the retreat for you!! :O)

    What a great post-- maybe I should see what I *did* get done this past year so it doesn't seem so much like a waste.

  7. @Lisa,
    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment! :D
    I absolutely think you should! I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised. ^_^ It made me feel a heck of a lot better once I sorted through the chaos and realized that I did, in fact, make a lot of measurable headway.

    I look forward to hearing about that retreat at the January meeting! ^_^

  8. Way to go, my friend! What an incredibly full year! It is inspiring to see such a list compiled - makes me want to do something similar just to make sense of some of the chaos of the last year.
    Thanks for sharing your goals - and for working so hard towards them. You are amazing. Best wishes (and prayers) to you as you work forward into 2012!

  9. I am overwhelmed by what you have accomplished while being such a great mother to two terrific kids (and a pretty decent hostess for overnight guests :) ). I did manage to read 35 books this year (many non-fiction and hefty) My year was very busy, but not as easy to quantify.

    I will bet that 2012 will exceed your expectations!

  10. @Courtney,
    Thank you, old friend. ^_^ I highly recommend you do! It's too hard to hold a whole year in your head at once and still give yourself credit for everything at was done and begun. ^_^ And truly, -you- are the one I find amazing. Your patience, generosity, and mad editing skills are the reason I'm so happy with the final results of the memoir. :D Seriously...anybody need a copy editor? <---- This is your woman for the job!

    Aww, thank you! I'm still working on the balancing act with the family. And that's a pretty impressive book count, considering the fact that you work outside of the home. I hope that this year is no busier than you'd like it to be! ^_^

  11. Last year was a wreck for me. I'm hoping this year is better!

  12. What a great event filled year, Red Peril! Way to go! You proved to yourself that you could get all the things on your list done and now you get to experience the euphoria succeeding to meet your goals.

    Wishing you the best of luck as you pursue new goals this year! ;)

    My list isn't as extensive as yours but I did some fantastic things this past year. Here's hoping this new year is filled with even bigger and better things!

  13. @Patricia,
    Sorry to hear that 2011 was unkind to you! I'm hoping with you for a complete turnaround. :) You have a beautiful website, by the way. ^_^

    Thank you so very much! :D I know it was kind of a big list, but here's hoping that my future lists will be sacrificing quantity in favor of quality. ^_^ And I hope to soon hear about some of those fantastic things in person!