Jan 2, 2013

Happy IWSG 2013


Happy New Year!  Today is the first post of 2013 for the IWSG hosted by the incredible Alex J. Cavanaugh. It is a great group and one that you really should think about joining if you haven't already.

This is two-fold, because I need to write my goals down somewhere.  I used to be the kind of person who would set resolutions that were just plain ridiculous and I would drive myself crazy trying to meet them.  I've learned to mellow out a little bit, to set goals that are a bit more reasonable.  Here are a few.
1. Read 45 books this year.  I got to 42 last year, and that counted time from any thinking with post-ankle surgery stupor.  I've tried for 50 two years in a row and haven't hit it, so I'm seeing if this is achievable first.

2. Write Book Idea Two that has been marinating in my head while I was working on One.  I think I can do it in a year, knowing more now than before.

3. Revise and Query Book One. I'm one of those who has done some things backwards - working on getting right sided again.

4. Get back in the habit of going to the gym.  This is a big change from previous goals for me, which would often involved train for, or burn # calories a workout.  I want to be healthy, but I also want to have something resembling energy at the end of the day.

5. Be aware of what and who I love and make me happy.  Do more of these things, spend more time with these people, and if it doesn't fit in these two categories, quit giving it continuous priority.

*     *     *    *     *

Over the break, I wrote THE END on the first draft of my novel.  It was a great feeling and I took the surge of happiness and energy and immediately jumped in with revisions.

But, the revisions are going super slow. Like slower than the writing slow.  And I know it was my first book and I know that there were lots of things I didn't know at the beginning that I learned through the middle, but, wow. I also know that this is the blessing and curse of being an English teacher by day, is when I edit, I really edit.  So I tell myself that I'm doing plot edits and line edits at the same time and that will be awesome in the future. (Yes, these conversations with myself are often out loud - isn't that how everyone thinks?)

And then my mind wonders about the querying thing.  I have a CP whose middle grade novel is AMAZING, and she has been querying and getting full requests all over the place, and those are all followed with "This is great and I love it, but it's not quite right for me."

I know I'll had rejections.  I know not everyone who reads my book will like it. The part that is giving me a serious wondering is "What if this was a practice novel?"  I have a couple other partials that I'm not nearly as committed to, stories that I played with when I was figuring out what kind of writing I could do best.  I really want those to be the practice novels.  Not this one.

I know I'm completely jumping the gun, but everyone must have had these thoughts before, right?  How do you tell them to shut up, or do they motivate you?  Have you had a practice novel?  And, I know about querytracker, but are there other places where you like to go to look at agents?



25 comments :

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I like your fifth goal.
I guess the original version of my book from many, many years ago was practice. But the the complete rewrite became my first published novel. So believe in yours and keep working on it.

Kyra Lennon said...

This is a big post for so early in the year! :D Firstly, good luck with your goals! Secondly, you are catching me on a day when my thoughts are running wild so I completely understand where you're coming from. I don't really have any amazing advice on silencing all those thoughts but often, taking time away from the computer helps a lot!

Julie Luek said...

I agree with Alex: number 5 is vital and will help with the first 4. At least that's what I've learned (and am learning). All your goals are good stuff to think about and aim for. Best to you in the coming year!

J. A. Bennett said...

I guess the last novel I queried was my practice book becasue I'm setting it aside for a little bit to take on other projects. Love your goals, keep pushing forward, you're talented and you will get there :)

VikLit said...

Agreed that no 5 is a good one.

I say go for it with this novel - be positive. You don't know what will or won't catch the attention of an agent - maybe it would be the book after this one - but it might not be. GOOD LUCK.

Jessie Humphries said...

Keep on believin'!! Just like the Journey song! I believe in you Tasha :) great goals.

Donna K. Weaver said...

Those are some great goals. I especially like #5. My first book was at edit #14 by the time I submitted it to a publisher. It was my learning project. I really hope I'll be a ittle faster with the next one. :D

Miranda Hardy said...

Those are great goals for the year, and I know you'll accomplish all you set out to do.

We all feel that way. I have two novels sitting because I didn't feel they were good enough.

Jenna Cooper said...

It depends. I have one novel that I really love, and when I first wrote it I thought it would be a practice novel. In a way it was, but I realized how I haven't mined the idea for all it's worth, and so now I'm back to outlining. It depends on the novel, I think. Some are practice--I've just finished one I know is practice. But then others just speak to you.
Good luck with your goals in 2013!

E. Arroyo said...

I like your goals. I have a few practice novels under my belt. They helped me grow and learn. I like to think that they are waiting for me. That thought helps me keep moving forward. =)

Andrew Leon said...

See, I would just say to skip the agent. It's just a way to pay someone for you to do the work.

sydneyaaliyah said...

Tasha, Great goals. Good luck with #3. I am right there with you.
I have thought about whether WIP #1 is a practice book. It would be sad to me that no one would get to see it, but it is the reality of this business sometimes. I am trying to make piece with that, but I think we are both getting ahead of ourself since we haven't even started querying, yet. Keep going with edits and get it as good as you can. Then, put it out there. Regardless, it will be a learning experience.

Nick Wilford said...

First, congrats on finishing the first draft! I wish my holidays had been as productive.

Give this book a chance. Like you said, you know much more now than when you started and I'm sure it'll get much stronger during revisions. I always think it's hard to judge our own work - but all writing is practice whether it's published or not. Nothing is wasted! Good luck!

Loca4crafts said...

Congratulations on completing your first draft!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Hope you can stick with your new year resolutions. I think I had completed four novels before I contracted one. Just keep writing and submitting.

Melissa said...

I wrote a romance and its sequel right off the bat. Then I learned more about fiction and my writing really changed. I cut my teeth on those first novels and, although they're salvageable, they'll need a lot of revision. So yes. I've kind of written works for practice.

I haven't queried yet, but I still haven't decided if that's the way I want to go either. I may (gasp) self-pub.

Great post!
IWSG #137 until Alex culls the list again.

Krista McLaughlin said...

Those are some great goals! :)

I have several "practice" novels. I'm happy I wrote them and got the experience, but they are not at the level I would want them published with my name on them. Stephen King says in his book "On Writing" that the first million words we write are practice. I sure hope I'm getting close!

JeffO said...

Some good goals there, Tasha. Congrats on finishing your first! Celebrate, I say.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Maybe the difference between a practice novel and a published novel is whether the author can stand re-editing the amount of times needed to make it stand out. I definitely think we can wear ourselves out working on the same story for too long. Thank goodness for multiple projects. As we figure out what works, we write better right out of the gate, require less major overhauls, and ultimately have the patience to see one of our babies born into the world. At least that's how I hope it works, and like you, I hope that my WIP is THE ONE.

Hope 2013 is a productive one for you!

Leigh Covington said...

Great list of goals Tasha! Love them all. And I haven't jumped into the world of tracking agents yet, so I'm of no use right now. I keep telling everyone I'm putting it off until my book is ready, otherwise I'll become too impatient. lol. Peggy did a post about querytracker or finding an agent though, that I really liked. I'll try to find the link for ya :)

David P. King said...

Isn't it great to write that last line? Like having all the other lines before it come full circle in that moment? Like a hole in one, that's what keeps me writing.

Great goals! I still need to make some. :)

Nicole said...

Congrats on reaching "The End," and good luck on the new goals for 2013!

Ciara said...

It is so important to slow down and enjoy the people and things you love.
Congrats on writing THE END.

Lisa Regan said...

I have a practice novel but I also know tons of writers who never had a practice novel so don't get ahead of yourself. Yes, there will be rejection and you'll have to be tough but it will be worth it when you get there--and YOU WILL!!!!

Rosalyn said...

I imagine sometimes you can tell a practice novel when you write it--other times you have to wait and see what kind of feedback you're getting. I'm sort of thinking my current WIP might just be a practice novel, but I'm still going to revise the heck out of it because I need to learn how to do this kind of focused revision (for fiction anyway! I think I've got it down for academic writing).