Monday, December 23, 2013

prACTice (End of Year Wrap Up & New Year Assessments)

Right dab in the middle of the word "practice" is the word "act" or  prACTice. It's odd you know, writing is the only efforts I know of where you are supposed to be able to "just write." Yet, with my efforts to write full-time this past year, I have discovered: 1) not all workshops are equal in that some have more take-home usable value than others, and 2) while practice may not make perfect, the practice of writing is what makes a writer a writer. So in other words, there are writerly tools that one must learn AND to write, one must--wait for it--perform the act of writing.

2013 was not a wash for me writing-wise. Far from it, yet due to health issues, I did not accomplish anywhere near what I had hoped to complete. On the positive side, I did finish the first drafts of five (5), count 'em, books. I completed the skeleton of a five-book series. Of the five, I finished, which means thoroughly revised and edited, Book 1 of the series.

Finally, in December of 2013, a treatment for my health issue presented itself. I don't even want to think of how many doctor's later, BUT I am now truly on the road to wellness. The next few months will reveal the effectiveness of the medical procedure, but the odds are in my favor that this is the solution that I've been seeking.

At least I've trudged my way through the revision process 1 and 1/2 times, so revising and editing the rest of the series should be a more realistic endeavor. (Basically, at least two weeks after the medical procedure, I now have the energy and the focus to actually perform writing and editing tasks. So far so good!)

Where I had planned to be by the end of 2013...well, much farther along of course, but it's a cliched water-under-the-bridge scenario at this point. Considering the degree of illness and how unwell I was, I did the best I possibly could to keep plugging.

My December 2013 and January into 2014 are filled with these online workshops, after which upon completion, I will be where I need to be to be to reach my goals in 2014.

Where am I now? (To get somewhere, you have to know where you're coming from...)
  • First draft of entire series complete (Books 1 thru 5)
  • First book in final read-through
  • Second book half way through revisions
  • Workshops in progress for Pacing and Pitches
For January 2014:
  • Workshops scheduled for paperback and ebook formatting
  • Workshop scheduled for promotions
  • Revision of Book #2
First half 2014:
  • Publish entire Series #1
  • Set one-book-at-a-time goal
  • Start new series
  Second half of 2014:
  • Evaluate where stand with publishing
  • Set realistic monthly goals
  • Publish on regular basis
That's it, one month at a time, going forward.

For 2014, if I could give up-and-coming writers outright advice, I would suggest saving your $'s and taking ALL of the workshops offered by Dean Wesley Smith. From the very foundation of going from idea to story to formatting for paperback and ebook, the courses provide DIRECT instructor-to-student feedback. These courses are the most solid, sure, and expedient way to get where you need to be. Bluntly put, you get upfront feedback and a shortened learning curve, so more bang for your buck.

With better health, which includes more focused concentration and energy, on the horizon, I am looking forward to 2014 and to the publishing adventures it will bring.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May you find your ACT in prACTice and your 2014 be blessed!

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