Today on the 'Writing Excuses Podcast' they each talked about what they had learned in the last year. The writing prompt this week was to come up with the same thing for ourselves, what we learned, and then carry it forward and determine what we want to learn next year. (Then put it some place where you can find it at the end or 2015 and review it.)
If you are trying to be a writer and you haven't listened to this podcast, you're missing out. I've picked up and dropped a lot of podcasts, gown out of them, I guess, but this one always stays fresh and useful. The four normal participants have varied and valuable experience. Of course, just hearing what Brandon Sanderson is working on, or releasing, would make it worth it to me all by it self.
I won't go into what they said; you can listen to that yourself. I want to take the writing prompt and run with it for a little bit. I've already stated that this is the purpose of my blog; try and share what I learned this last year, and what I want to learn in the coming year.
One thing I learned in 2014 about writing.
Just setting a goal doesn't mean it's going to happen. They, whoever they are, say you need to make your goals realistic and achievable, but also make you stretch. I've always had a problem aligning these two concepts. If I'm going to be realistic I figure I need to set it within my current capabilities, and if I've set it there, I'm not going to do much stretching.
So I guess and alternate way of setting goals is to commit to completing them and adjusting expectations as you work toward that goal.
Last March I set a goal to publish three novels by the end of the summer. That really didn't happen. I learned that it just takes more time to do some things than I had counted on.
"Shooting Stars" was the novel I thought I would publish first. I had made the unfounded assumption that a friend whom I valued very much for her writing and editing skills would read what I had done with my vampire love story and say, "Yup. Here you are. It's ready to publish." It turns out it wasn't as perfect as I thought it was. I learned to lower my expectations of what I have given over to others to do and that I use the words 'was' and 'felt' way too much.
In the mean time, I finished an edit of "Flypaper Boy" and sent it to an editor I met at LDStory Makers in April of 2014. She got that one back to me and I fine tuned it and was able to make it my one published novel of the year. (September 29, 2014. A week after summer ended.)
In the meaner time, I rewrote my 2011 Nanowrimo story, "The Galactic Battle Base: Family Ties", during the summer and renamed it "TGGB: Trigger Warnings". I let that rest while I finished up Flypaper Boy, and did my rework of Shooting Stars, based on my friend's recommendations.
I got both of those done just in time for Nanowrimo 2014 and wrote my first draft of Shooting Stars 2: Drawn into the Mist.
With family visiting at Thanksgiving, I didn't get as much time to write/edit as I thought I would, so only sent the final draft of Trigger Warnings to Winston Crutchfield on the 15th of December and then reworked Shooting Stars, based on my editor's input, (Of the story that I thought was done, again.)
So, at this point, both my 'completed' novels are in the hands of editors, and I have learned that if I am going to make a career of writing it has to be Nanowrimo every month--no days off to breath after one project is complete/passed to the next player.
So, that's what I learned about setting goals. I've learned about other things, but those will have to come later. You know what I want to learn next year. You're going to be the first to hear what I learn, as I learn it, because I'm going to learn how to sell novels.