Tag Archives | new year

Wednesday Within: Notes to Self 2015

(With thanks to the Kath Eats Real Food blog for the inspiration. This is one of an occasional personal post I started doing last year.)

Self, this year I would like you to remember: Bloc_note_paper_266924_l

–You really do have time to write Morning Pages every day and they will get ideas flowing and set your day up for success. 

–Working on the WIP novel immediately after Morning Pages will make you feel good about yourself and your life all day.

–You're not the CEO of a major company.  There is no email or phone call that needs answering before 8 AM.

–Protagonist is not spelled protaganist, the way you always spell it.

–And furthermore, seperete is actually spelled seperate.  Really, it is.

–Writing a novel "is like reconstructing the whole of Paris from Lego bricks." Amos Oz.  Remind yourself of this often.

–While we're on the subject of Paris, remember on bleak days that there's a sojourn in the city of light in your near future.

–When you think there's something wrong with a scene–there is.  Figure it out.

–Speaking of which, you know more about your WIP than you think.

–All you have to do to start is just open the file and look at it.

–Yes, you will get through the middle.  You will.

–Remember how much better you feel when you get up every 30 minutes!

–Stretching every morning will make you feel much better.

–And so does drinking lots of water. Plus, when you drink a lot of water, it helps you get up regularly.  Duh.

–Remembering to breathe fully makes you feel best of all!

–Do the most important thing first.

–The most important thing is, 9 times out of 10, working on your WIP.

–I give you permission to underline and make notes in your books.

–It is already starting to get light later and next time you look up from your computer, it will be spring.

No whining on they yacht.  You're one of the luckiest humans on the planet.

Okay.  Those are my things I want to remember this year.  (I reserve the right to add to them as the year goes on.) What are yours?  

Photo by brokenarts.

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How to Make 2014 Your Best Writing Year Yet

Fireworks_firework_night_226231_lHappy New Year!

We're two days into 2014–how's it treating you so far?  Yeah, I know, it's a bit soon to tell. But I've been cheerful the last few days.  Why? Because I took time to review 2013 and work on goals for 2014.  I've spent a lot of time doing this, actually.   And I can tell by how happy its made me that it is a worthy endeavor.  Thus I will inflict it upon you.

In case you haven't spent time reviewing last year, go do that first.  (Doesn't matter that it's 2014, I figure that just as you have a year after a wedding to send a gift, you have until the end of January to review 2013.)

Now take a deep breath, get up from your chair, and dance around the room for a bit to shake all that old-year energy out.  Okay.  Sit back down, grab your journal and have at it.  Bear in mind a couple of things: you can answer as many or few as you want.  And sometimes I ask similar questions in slightly different wording because often coming at an idea from a different angle opens it up for you.

Questions and Prompts for Your 2014 Writing

What do you most want to create in 2014 in your writing life?  In your creative life? (Because one bears on the other.  They enhance each other, they don't take away from each other.)

What do you want to let go of in 2014?  (i.e., fear, procrastination, etc.)

What is your most important writing project in 2014?  Second most important?  Third most important?

How many words will you write a week?

When will you write?

What other genres might you try, just for fun?

How many things will you submit or self-publish in 2014?

Will you take part in a writing community (online or in the real world)?

How will you relax and rest?

When will you take time to daydream and think? (Vastly under-rated activities for writers.)

My biggest goal for 2014 is…..

At the end of the year, I'll be satisfied if….

The thing that will make me happiest with my writing is….

This year, I vow to….

If I could have one wish for my writing, it would be….

My perfect writing day would be….

My perfect place to write would be….

Okay, that ought to keep you busy for awhile!  And while you're at it, why not share one of your answers in the comments? 

Photo by kiplantt.

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Looking Back, and More Important, Looking Forward

It is New Year's Eve, 2008, the cusp of a new year.

I'm a wildly optimistic person and every year I proclaim that the next year is going to be the best yet.  And, nearly everyone of them turns out to be best in some arena.  It may be very difficult for some people to come up with good things to say about 2008, given the upheavals we've experienced.  Once again turning on my Pollyanna persona, I believe these are necessary shifts we've had to go through–and that 2009 will be better.  I'm excited about our president-elect, for one thing.  And I'm excited about the opportunities for writing in 2009.

Although the publishing industry is in turmoil, it is going to be a good year for writers. Not only will many of us find more time to write because of fewer business obligations, but in general a depressed economy forces us to stay home more–and what better thing to do at home then write?  Along those lines, I have plans in the works to assist you in your writing endeavors next year.

But first, before we get to what's in store for 2009, I present my year in review, along with a list of favorite posts.

Good Things About 2008

1.  My ghostwriting career took off.  I've been privileged to write several books for wonderful clients. This allows me to enter a different world and become the person I'm writing the book for.  Gives me a small taste of what being an actor must feel like.  

2.  After teaching in the program for five years, I became co-director of the wonderful writing program, The Writer's Loft.  Anybody interested in improving their writing skills should take a look at the program.  It is based in Tennessee, but since its a distant-learning program you can live anywhere and take advantage of one-on-one focused mentoring.

3.  I started Bookstrumpet, which is floundering at the moment but had a glorious beginning with many wonderful reviews from various people.  I'm pondering this blog's future at the moment.  One possibility is to incorporate all the material into Wordstrumpet.  Ideas?

4.  Word Strumpet became available on Kindle and at this writing it is currently #12 on the bestseller list in Lifestyle and Culture.  Thanks to all my Kindle subscribers!

5.  I began a newsletter, The Creative Equation, and got some subscribers.  Thanks, guys!  For those of you who don't yet subscribe, you can do so on the front page of Wordstrumpet.  I send it out irregularly and don't harass you with tons of emails about stuff to buy.  But it is the best way to keep up with news about product releases and my plans.  (See below)

6.  I started running and found many commonalities between the practice of running and the practice of writing.  See below for some of my posts about it.

7. I made two wonderful new friends, Rachel, and Mayanna, both of whom I adore.  And I kept up with my old friends in Nashville, too numerous to list here, and LA, and my bestest friend, Suzanne.  I share a love of writing with all of them.  Rachel and Mayanna both started blogs this year and Suzanne really got going on hers.

What I Resolve to Do Better

1. Respond to comments more consistently.   I love, love, love it when you guys comment yet I don't always manage to comment back.  No excuses.  I'll do better.

2.  Be as helpful with your writing as possible.  I want to do more posts on craft and motivation, as these are what the respondents to my survey said they really appreciated.  I also want to do more posts featuring exercises you can use in your work immediately.

3.  Send the above-mentioned newsletter out more regularly.

4.  Fully embrace the possibilities of blogging and allow Wordstrumpet to be all that it can be. 

Favorite Posts of 2008 (Mine and Yours) 

1.  The series on words.  Part one is here, part two here, and part three here.  This seemed to be a crowd-pleaser, and I loved reading the comments about how you find strong verbs and other good words.  We writers are a word-loving bunch!

2.  The series on scene.  Series seemed to be big this year, and since scene is often a point of confusion for writers, this one went over well.  Part one is here, on flat scenes is here, part two on elements of a scene here, and part three on rising and falling action here.

3.  When One is Born a Writer.  This one got so many great responses I did When One is Born a Writer Redux.

4. My posts about running.  Read them here and here.  At the moment, I'm sidelined with a knee injury, but I can't wait to get back to it.

5. The Filtering Consciousness.  An arcane but important aspect of craft.

6.  A Day in the Life.  I'm trying to get better about not devoting quite so much time to writing.

7.  Birdsong.  I thought this was just a little throw-away, but people loved it.  I did too.

8.  The  Character Who Wasn't Dead. Sometimes we writers are kinda dense.

9.  A two-part series on erotic romance.  Part one, on writing it, is here.  And part two, on publishing it, here.

10.  Finally, I resisted this one, because it is multi-parts, and creating all these links is a lot of work.  Plus its almost time for me to get ready to go out.  But I did a whole series on The Writing Bogs that I've since turned into an Ebook called Set the Words Free.  So, here are the links:  part one, part two, part three and part four.  Phew!  I could swear there was another one, but I can't seem to find it.

Looking Ahead to 2009

For the record, my biggest non-blog-related goal is to get a contract for my novel.  Go, Emma Jean!  I know a lot of you are also looking for agents, writing query letters, submitting like crazy.  So let's all communicate and support each other through the process.

Besides the above-mentioned goals, I want to give you a heads-up on what I'm planning, project-wise. My biggest goal is to get my pet project off the ground–the Charlotte Rains Dixon Novel Writing Academy.  Is that not a fabulous and grandiose name?  I adore it.  And its going to be wonderful, a membership site full of lengthy and informative articles, forms, and exercises.  Plus regular teleclasses, videos and all kinds of goodies.  

Realistically, it is also going to take a few months to get off the ground.  So in the meantime I hope to offer a product or two.  Stay tuned–and thanks for hanging around as long as you have.

Happy New Year to all!

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