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Monday, December 29, 2014

If Only...So Many Regrets Once Again.

Happy almost New Year's Eve to you all. I hope you, unlike me, are sitting pretty on this cusp of the new year with absolutely no regrets. I unfortunately am loaded with them including the usual lament of my weak self control--Why or why did I have the extra piece of gingerbread cake with lemon
frosting yesterday?--and my laziness--Why didn't I finish my revisions when I vowed I would instead of sitting in the sunshine reading A Dance To The Music of Time by Anthony Powell? (A truly wonderful book, you should read it.)

I always have so many regrets this time of year, you'd think I'd learn, but, alas, I never do, hence here I am moaning and whining and, once again, wasting my time instead of doing what I need to do, which is to get more written, revised, and published. Note my flowery language and enjoy. I mean really how often do you get to read alas and hence in the same sentence? Okay, okay, I hear your moan and will henceforth cease and desist using archaic and yet lovely--to me at least--verbiage. It's tough to resist, after all I am in the middle of reading Powell.

Back to topic, which is staying on track with my writing and my calories, both equally difficult for one as weak as myself. Maybe it's my complete lack of stamina to see things through that makes the end of December and early days of January so bittersweet to me. Bitter because of all the lost opportunities and sweet because once again, I can start afresh like a newborn babe. And even though in my heart of hearts, I know my resolve to work harder, focus more, and stop eating cake will erode into nothingness, for a few weeks at least I will be full of zest and vigor to get things done.

So here are my writer's resolutions (don't worry, I won't bore you with my spartan goals diet-wise, they will be as dust in the wind long before my writing goals).

1. Finish my revisions on what started out as a middle grade story and is now, after a discussion with an editor, a young adult by mid-January.
2. Send it to above editor at my own expense for a solid content edit by mid-January.
3. While the manuscript is being edited, research possible agents.
4. Prepare a query letter to the 3 - 5 agents that my research indicates would be a good fit for my ms.
5. When I get my manuscript back, polish it up and query agents, hopefully by the end of January, beginning of February.
6. Continue revising another manuscript that started as a YA and is now a funny, time travel MG. Funny how I had to reverse my two ms.
7. Rinse and repeat my agent querying, fingers crossed I'll find one interested in taking me on.

This is my list and certainly not one you should consider following, however, you need to gird your loins (sorry, I love that phrase with all its strong visuals so had to add it), make a list specific to your writing needs and try your best to stick to it, as I will also try.

As to the other issue of diet, I don't know about you, but I've already resolved to break it, after all life's too short to not have cake.

Monday, December 1, 2014

My NaNoWriMo Adventure

Well, the month is over and I'm happy to report that I achieved my NaNoWriMo goal, which was not to write 50,000 words, but instead to begin and complete the first draft for a middle grade novel that's been niggling around my noggin for the past few months. The good news is that I was able to accomplish this while teaching my two college english classes, babysitting several of my favorite babies, and hosting the family Thanksgiving.

Now before you get all snappy and accuse me of becoming an obnoxious braggart, take a deep breath
and let me explain why I bored you with the above paragraph. It was not to show off (trust me, I'm far from impressed with myself), no I decided to tell you about this so that all of you writers and want-to-be writers can take heart that you too can accomplish your writing goal in a relatively short period of time without making yourself and your friends and loved ones crazy.

It also makes you realize stuff about yourself in regards to your writing.  I discovered that I'm not writing new material nearly often enough and my goal is to write new stuff at least three days a week. I'm not setting up a word count requirement because sometimes the words flow like a fast river and other times they're more like a heavy object in a slow moving stream of molasses and I refuse to add undue pressure on myself.

The reason for my limiting myself to completing the first draft regardless of length is because I always struggle with the first draft and this one was no different. My newly completed story,

Shadows or Hiding Behind Shadows, is about a 13 year-old-boy dealing with the recent death of his mother as he finds two girls from Mexico hiding on his family's south Texas ranch.  Since it's a
middle grade it's only 35,000 words, which is a good length for this type of book. My plan is to spend December revising and then sending it to an editor for comments because in January, I'm going to begin my search for an agent. I'm writing two posts this month and will talk about this process and why I've decided to find an agent, but for now, I encourage you to open your laptop, or break
open your writing pencils and join me in a year-long writing frenzy.

Come on, join me. I need the company. Dancing by myself is way too lonely.

And remember, no one likes a braggart.
Happy Writing

Gabriella Austen Author of sexy novellas

Susan Arscott Author of YA and MG fiction