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?

A Few Items of Interest

reportersnotebook_black
Photo of reporter’s notebook by grafixtek on Flickr and used here with Creative Commons license.

There are a few things I’ve been thinking about. Some relate directly to this blog and others are about my writing and books in general. Let’s start with the blog-related stuff.

Schedule

I have been aiming for two posts a week. There have been some weeks I’ve had three and some I’ve had one. I don’t think there have been any weeks that I’ve had none since I started this. (I could be wrong.)

My upload days have been Tuesday and Thursday.

That is going to be changing somewhat. I will still upload on Tuesday, but the second day will be Friday from here on out. Bonus posts will go up whenever they go up. That’s why they’re bonuses.

Books

Many of you know the majority of my books have been indie-published. I’ve used CreateSpace for this. However, Amazon appears to be merging CreateSpace and KDP, so in the very near future,

I will be migrating everything over to KDP. When I do that, I will have re-release dates/events for all the titles. I will announce those here and on my Facebook author page (not my profile, though they will be shared there too).

RealmWalker: New Beginnings

I finished the passive voice editing pass tonight. Tomorrow, I will start using Word’s “find” feature to look for some specific things. I think it’s close to being ready to send back to my editor, though.

RealmWalker: Anchor

I can’t mention New Beginnings without talking about Anchor, can I? Well, I guess I could, but I won’t.

Progress on Anchor has been slow because of editing New Beginnings. However, with this round of edits nearing completion, I will soon be back to work on writing this second book. On the plus side? In one pivotal scene in New Beginnings, I put a hint of what is to come in book two. That was fun.

Personally

There are a couple other reasons why progress has been slow on Anchor. I thought about not sharing them, but I decided to. Not because I feel like I owe anyone an explanation, but because we’re all human. We all have problems that keep us from what we want to do sometimes and I want you to know you’re not alone in whatever you have going on.

I have had problems requiring visits to Wound Care. Because of that, I have to keep my foot elevated more than not. It’s not easy to do computer work like that. So I’ve limited myself to an hour to an hour and a half in the evenings. Today’s visit was good, though. One area is completely resolved and the other is close. Maybe I’ll be done with Wound Care (again) very soon. (Don’t get me wrong. There are wonderful people there and I’ve made some good friends through the times I’ve had to be there.)

I have been having problems with my left wrist, too. At first I thought it was just arthritis. Then I noticed that there is an area that stays swollen. I mentioned it to my doctor a few months ago. He pressed down on my thumb and I just about came up out of the chair, the pain from that surprised me so much. We both laughed about it. He said it was a “positive Finklestein’s test” and I have tenosynovitis, or tendonitis of the tendon that goes from my wrist up into my thumb. He gave me a prescription steroid ointment and told me to wear a brace for a month. I did. It didn’t help. I started sleeping in the brace. I mentioned it again this week when I saw him. He prescribed an anti-inflammatory medication and said to wear the brace during the day but don’t sleep in it. That’s where I’m at now.

I can type with the brace, but not at my usual speed. I’m seriously thinking about using voice-to-text when I start back to work on Anchor.

At any rate, those are the relevant updates I’ve been thinking about here. Have a great weekend.

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.

More News & List of Books

Front cover of the book, Journal Your Way to Creativity, by Jen Nipps

I have another update for you if you’re keeping up with the status of RealmWalker: New Beginnings.

I got an email from the editor requesting the full manuscript. I had the full finished when I sent her the first three chapters a couple weeks ago, so I sent that to her today. Here is part of the email reply from her:

from here I’m sending it on for what’s called a Preliminary Read. it’s like asking for a second set of eyes–all in preparation for a Request For Contract.
That doesn’t mean this is a done deal but it’s a step in the right direction.
This is a delight to read!!!
thank you thank you thank you. You have made my day.

Um….

No.

I’m pretty sure SHE made MY day.

OK. I might have made her day, too. I don’t know. I’m not there.

I will be sure to let you know when there is more news.

On a related subject, I had a friend say that judging by the title, this is a work of fiction and that they thought I write only nonfiction.

Yes, the RealmWalker series is fiction. I almost said I don’t write a lot of fiction, but that’s not exactly accurate. It would be more correct to say I don’t publish a lot of fiction. Most of what has been published is nonfiction.

All nonfiction and poetry is published under Jen Nipps.
All fiction is published under Kat O’Reilly.

Jen Nipps books:
Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone (currently out of print – if you see this on Amazon for an astronomical price, don’t get it. I’m working on re-releasing it.)
Windsong & Other Poems
Get ‘Twitter’pated: A Writer’s Guide to Twitter
8 Patterns to Crochet
80 Creativity Tips
Create Your Own DIY Planner
2018 Project Planner for Creatives
Journal Your Way to Creativity

Kat O’Reilly books:
Kiernan’s Curse
Navajo Rose

Kat O’Reilly short stories:
“Sex, Politics, & Vampires”
“They Call Me Malak”
“This Is Your Karma”

All of the short stories, 8 Patterns to Crochet, and Create Your Own DIY Planner are only available on Kindle. Everything else is available on Kindle and in print.

Wow. That’s the first time I’ve listed everything in one post, I think. And that really wasn’t the intent, but there you have it.