Posts Tagged ‘Lessons Learned’

Apex Book Company Blog

Practice and the Practicing Writer

My latest blog post is up over at Apex. Please go take a look and leave me some comment love.


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Click on the Apex Book Company Blog banner to head over to my first guest blog post. My posts will appear on the first Tuesday of every month. Please leave me some comment love over there and boost the signal.

Pretty please?

With sugar on top?

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Counting Crows will be crooning us into this new month. October was about balance. I spent time learning how to balance my writing life with work and home. I spent time learning how to balance different aspects of my writing life with each other during the time I had to spend on it as a whole. November was about introspection. We will get to that in just a minute.

December though is about action. As you saw in my last post, I have some pretty definite goals to reach this month. They are not all I need to accomplish. I also realize that my writing time might be compressed during certain periods of the month. I’ve been planning for this. I want to get it done. I want to meet these goals. If I accomplish these, I will have done more than I planned to get to in my writing for the year. I also need to map out next month and the first half of next year.

This is where November comes back in. In a previous post I mentioned what I was contemplating last month. “November will be about introspection, gratitude, and growth. What are my goals as a writer? What have I accomplished this year? What have I failed to achieve and why? What will I work on next year? How will I get there? What should I continue to do? What should I drop?”

Let’s take these one at a time. My goals as a writer are pretty simple. I want to write quality dark fiction and get it in the hands of readers that will enjoy it. I want to learn, grow and continue as a practicing writer. I want to help others in their writing journey.

This year I’ve become a better review writer. I have promoted the works of others. I finished one story and have seen its rejection. I have mapped out several others. I have made better use of available social networking tools. I’ve made new connections, strengthened old ones, and added to what I hope will one day be my fan base. It is currently one heck of a support system/cheering squad. I built one website for another writer and created my own. I joined a small writing group and have managed to be an active participant. I have continued to beta read for a couple of people outside of the group and am improving my editing skills as I go.

So far, I haven’t finished the stories I wanted to this year. The bottom line is poor time management and lack of commitment to the practice of writing, in this case I mean words on screen/page/ whatever. I’ve been working on this during the last part of the year. Really there is nothing to it but to do it. I see my fiction page, and I lament that there isn’t more there for you, my readers and friends to go chase down. I am not diminishing my one, sold story. I am just frustrated that I haven’t sent more out this year. Maybe next year I will get to gripe about the tons of rejections I’ve gotten. I will be proud of that!

I think the previous entry and what is written above covers what my goals are for the remainder of the year, and as I am trying to set the pace for the coming year, you get a pretty good idea of my goals for the next. If you are on my LJ beta filter, then you will be getting more on this in detail. I will accomplish this by managing my time wisely, setting realistic goals, and honoring my commitment to the practive.

I will continue to work with social networks to broaden my audience and make more connections. I will also explore what I can do with my website to include the featured folks segments next year. I will continue to promote others and remain active in the crit group. I will stick with my beta reading. I will continue to run my writing community, Lobo_Luna on LJ. I will write more reviews and query zines to see if they are interested in them for publication. Most importantly, I will write. I will finish stories. I will redraft them and send them out into the world.

I am not sure what I should drop at this point. I think I’ve already taken steps to minimize the time I waste on the net. I’ve realized that the other aspects of my writing life do play an important role. I just need to be sure the stories are there too.

Ok that is my babble. What about you? What do you feel like sharing about your year? last month? this month? the next year? We can talk lessons learned, goals, or even how your Saturday night plans played out.

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1I050_bella_sol alien
This is actually more of a self narrative.

First, start it. Put words on paper. If you spend forever debating the ending in your head, you still won’t know how it will play out.

Leave room, and by this I mean time, for your best first readers to have a go at it well before deadline.

Don’t force the story. Let it breathe as you write.

Look for things that don’t move the story forward. DO NOT DUMP INFORMATION.

Do ask your editor questions. Queries can be a writer’s best friend. Don’t be afraid to get clarification. Also, try not to be a pest.

In the end, follow your heart with your story. Take all of the good advice. Look for common points/problems mentioned. Fix the obvious stuff (grammar, spelling, word choice). Table to rest to get distance.

I plan to come back to this once I pull it back out and revise it.

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Plot Bunny credit unkown

Plot Bunny credit unkown

I posted my review yesterday and spread it around. Today I have a novella to continue beta reading for someone else. I am working on driving traffic to my website.

I am also starting to figure out what are the best uses of my time. I think that is something we all struggle with. I now have a schedule for the stories that I want to churn out between now and sometime in April. I have a collection of work to critique/beta read. I have books to read for review, for education myself in the craft and the classics, and for pure entertainment. I also have my alien story to go back and redraft. I am listing what I have on my plate as a note to myself more than anything. These are the balls I am currently choosing to juggle. It is all about choice and priority.

At the same time, I want to continue to support my friends and fellow writers. I love boosting the signal on good news.

I moderate a writing community that is mostly self-sustaining at this point. After my recent experiences with my alien story, I am planning a series on lessons learned for a new writer. I will post topics of discussion there and in other writing communities that I hold membership. I think others might like to comiserate.

Perhaps my lessons learned the hard way, might help others avoid the same pitfalls. Maybe they will just give everyone a good laugh. This will be a good way for me to get more involved. I feel like I have been somewhat absent lately in that respect.

This weekend I have some unexpected writing time coming up. I definitely plan to make the best of it.

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