2019 Goals

I know you can set goals and meet them at any time of the year, but there’s something about the beginning of the year that just seems appropriate. Maybe because it’s an external frame of measurement. Regardless, I do goals instead of resolutions and it works for me.

To provide a frame of reference for my goals, I choose a word for the year. Last year, my word was “Prosperity.” This year, I have two words. The main word is “Intentional” and a supplemental word of “Consistent.”

That said, my goals for the year are:

  1. Launch courses: 40 Days to Creativity and Journal Your Way to Creativity.
  2. Release 12 JEN Enterprises Presents titles (one per month).
  3. Publish RealmWalker: New Beginnings with The Wild Rose Press.
  4. Podcast every other week.
  5. 1 YouTube video a week.
  6. 2 public speaking gigs.
  7. 4 coaching clients.

Every year, I hesitate to make my goals public because “what if I don’t do them?” But the fact that they are public provides some external motivation to get them done.

That’s where I am for goals this year. They are listed in my planner with steps and plans to achieve them.

What about you? Do you make goals or resolutions?

My Editing Process

redpenWhen you think about editing, I’m sure you imagine the proverbial red pen, bleeding all over the page. Right?

Although the red pen still, undoubtedly, has its place, things have changed quite a bit. I would say 99% of my editing is done on the computer.

I use a PC, so I use Microsoft Word. When I finish the draft of a manuscript, I let it sit for up to a week. (Honestly, usually it doesn’t sit that long, just a few days.) When I open the file to edit, I use the Track Changes feature.

For fiction and nonfiction, I start with the little things: spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Then I move on to continuity. I look at things like flow and transitions. For fiction, I look at character development, dialog, and story progression. I look for plot holes. (Sometimes I don’t see them, so I use beta readers to help me find those.)

I go over it more than once before I send it to either an editor if I’m self-publishing or an agent/publisher if I want to go a different route. Typically, I go over it at least four rounds. Each round consists of multiple passes checking everything I mentioned above. On my current novel that I’m working on with The Wild Rose Press, I have about five passes for each round. I’m on the second round with them, which is really about the sixth round for me.

If you want to count each pass as its own editing round, then you could say RealmWalker: New Beginnings is undergoing its 30th editing pass. Is this too much?

No.

Each pass, each round is making the story better and the characters more developed and stronger. This is particularly important where BethAnne is concerned. She’s my primary point-of-view character. I don’t want her to come across as someone who needs to be saved by a hero.

When it’s time to get to work, I sit down at the computer, turn on some music, and open the file of the moment. It can’t be just any music, though. I get too caught up in the lyrics of contemporary music and traditional classical music doesn’t help. I listen to electronic music that specifically says it’s good for studying or concentrating. It has a good beat, good tempo, and very little or no lyrics.

It keeps me on track and I get into a good work flow with that kind of music playing in my headphones. (Earbuds. Whatever.)

Here’s my question for you: What does your editing process look like? Do you listen to any music or do you work in silence?

It’s OK to Be Down

I typically aim for two posts a week. Last week, I had three. This week, unless I do one tomorrow, I will only have one. I could list a dozen excuses for it, but I won’t.

I’ll offer you this instead:

I resisted writing this post. I didn’t want to be one to say it’s okay to be down in the dumps. It’s okay to have days where you don’t feel creative and can’t force it no matter what you do. It’s okay to have days where you just want to hide from the world and ignore everyone.

I didn’t want to say it not because it’s not true. Every last word of that paragraph above is the truth.

I didn’t want to say it because you see it and hear it in so many other places. But, the last couple weeks, I’ve felt it. For the most part, I’ve pushed through, but some days I didn’t.

That’s also why I’ve resisted this post. I didn’t want to say all of the above is okay because I’ve been there. I am there. I’m trying to get past it.

One of our dogs died. He had cancer.
We’ve had some family stuff going on.
I’ve had some medical stuff going on.

I’ve let myself feel the feelings. I have felt sad, frustrated, aggravated, and mad. I’ve still written, edited, posted, and crocheted. On the days where I didn’t want to do anything, I still crocheted.

I walked around and looked at exhibits at the county fair, thinking that would give me some ideas and motivation back. I walked around Hobby Lobby for the same reasons.

Did it help?

Yes and no.

I’m getting back to it. I edited another chapter of RealmWalker: New Beginnings tonight. I did what I do when I really need to get to work. I turned on some music without lyrics, pet Gabby (another dog, she’s a shih-tzu), and got to work.

It feels good to be getting back in the swing of things. More importantly, it reminded me that even though I didn’t want to write this post, I really should. Just because we see messages like this in other places doesn’t mean we shouldn’t share our own.

The most important thing is to take care of yourself.

Do that.

Please.

Fires and Plot Bunnies

This image was originally posted to Flickr by cat’s_101 at https://www.flickr.com/photos/danseprofane/4360770/. It was reviewed on 19 February 2007 by FlickreviewR and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-2.0. No changes have been made to this image for use on this site.

Someone lit a fire under me. Obviously, I’m talking figuratively.

I have more news about RealmWalker: New Beginnings, but I’m going to wait a little bit before I share that. In the meantime, I’ve got the motivation to get Anchor (aka Book 2) started.

Well… Restarted.

I had started it a while back, then I had edits to do on New Beginnings. So I set Anchor aside. And then I kind of got stuck and didn’t remember where I was going with it.

Enter the plot bunny.

I call her “Mom.”

She had a “what if…” scenario for me. And I loved it! So I scrapped what I had done on book 2 so  far (it wasn’t a lot) and started over.

And, once I find an appropriate image to go with this post (and my Internet quits cutting out so I can get it posted!), I’m going on that. At the moment, I’m letting Jeffrey (the new sub-main character) talk to me.

Here’s to fires and plot bunnies! May you have as many of you need of one or the other…or both.

RealmWalker Progress Report

I honestly don’t remember what the last bit of news was that I told you all on RealmWalker, so here’s a summary.

  • What had originally started as a stand-alone book (just titled RealmWalker) will now be a series of three books. The first is RealmWalker: New Beginnings. The second will be RealmWalker: Anchor. I don’t have a title for the third one yet.
  • I have started work on RealmWalker: Anchor, but there are substantial changes that will be happening to that storyline.
  • I just finished a round of edits on New Beginnings. I will be sending it back to my editor tomorrow afternoon.

I think that covers it. I’m so excited about this book/series. I love the story and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Oops

I guess it’s kind of obvious I’ve fallen off of the Ultimate Blog Challenge wagon. I’ve been trying to decide if I should put up some posts I have in reserve to catch up, just pick up and start now through the end of the month, or set a schedule and consistently stick to that (I’m thinking a couple posts a week).

I could list all the reasons why I haven’t been posting, but it all boils down to one thing: I’m in a bit of a funk. I haven’t done much of anything, except work on a baby blanket, for a while. I need to get my act together and get back to work. Literally and figuratively.

Edits on New Beginnings have stalled too. There are other things that I want to get started on. That’s where the “literally” comes in.

And it starts now.