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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Friday, November 21, 2008

Q&A Friday

Happy blustery Friday, Noodlers and readers! It is cool and windy in Atlanta, definitely what Pooh would call a blustery day.

As we head into the last week of November, I'm thinking about the progress I've made this year and about what I can do in December to make sure I hit my goals. I'm going to do BIAW to finish the short contemporary I started this summer.

What about the rest of you? What goals did you set for yourself this year? Have you achieved them? And those of you involved in NaNo or getting those Golden Heart entries finished before the deadline, how's it going?

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At 11:50 AM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

That's always an interesting question for me. I think life has a way of turning our goals inside out and showing us something else instead. But if we don't make goals because life will change, chances are excellent we'll be letting life lead us instead of leading our lives.

I'm keeping to my goals for the year, but I'm slower at them than I thought I'd be. I could do better. But so far I'm finishing a third manuscript that had gone unfinished too long.

As far as NaNo is concerned, I'm glad I decided to slow down and not reach the 50,000 goal because it's actually not a very good way for me to write. I'll be finishing at around 30-35,000, or finishing when I'm done with the current story (I already finished one doing NaNo). I actually accomplish more, with less revision needed,when I write slower. But the important thing for me is to work on doing some writing every day. Two pages is my minimum. So essentially I'm using NaNo as a prop, but it's working reasonably well for my needs. Just no certificate at the end.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Dianna Love said...

Mo - Good idea to suggest reflecting on what everyone has accomplished this year and take stock of where they are now.

I have almost completed my goals and feel pretty good about hitting the last one by the end of December. I'd like to have a less ambitious plan for next year just to free up some personal time, but I don't regret having worked so hard this year at all.

I'd like to know how many writers have a project ready for the GH,too, or for their first proposal/full submission ready to ship to an editor or agent. Or who finished their first book this year?

And what about those of you who have thought about writing a book forever and started your very first book this year. That's a huge step and one you should be proud of.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

Wow on finishing three books! That's an accomplishment to be proud of.

At 3:57 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

I'm 10000 words from the end of my Nano goal, but not sure how far from the end of the actual myself in a corner here!

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I haven't met my goals as efficiently as I'd hoped this year. I did meet my deadline on my novella (due out May 2008) but was a little late on the book that had been due last June.

I'm planning to do better in setting and meeting my deadlines in the coming year, though.

At 6:18 PM, Blogger NerdSnark said...

This year started off really, really bad for me, but I've made up for it. I finished NaNo. I'm starting another writing challenge to get another book done. My goals are looking fab NOW.

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Christine said...

My goals, amidst move, are met!

*enter contests: yes and placed third in Touch of Magic
*enter Golden Heart by my personal deadline: yeah!! I worked uber hard and will send it off by Monday (gosh who knew I could work sooo hard)
*taken 4 workshops during moving hell
*keep pluggin' along-- did it!

I've considered NaNO, but it is in November and that is GH prep time. On Wed. night I was so freaked, but I decided, hey, if it is crap, and I get lousy scores, I can fix it, enter it and another crap entry next year and go for it.

It is what it is.

At 6:53 AM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

I've done well with the 'real' goals--the ones I can control. The 'dream' goals, like selling to a major NY house are another story. But it's out of my hands (and in those of my agent), so it can't be a true goal.

At 4:06 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:10 PM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

Nothing wrong with dreams, because those dreams are what we break down into goals with measurable results, things we can control and take satisfaction in accomplishing. Is winning the Rita a goal? Not really. It's a dream, but it starts by writing a good book, which then can be broken down into writing X chapters a week, or X words a day, etc., etc.

Or "Make the NYT best seller list." Another dream, because we can't control who buys our books (or if they'll do it during those critical days that sales are logged). But we can measure our efforts to do what's required to keep our name out there, to make people aware of our books, etc.

At 4:13 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Terry, I'm glad you're differentiating between Goals and Dreams. So often speakers and others tell us we can accomplish any goal we set out. They tell us
if we decide to become president, we can do it.

Well, maybe. But that's a Dream, not a Goal. The Goal is to do everything we can to achieve that Dream. We can accomplish that goal. A Dream, on the other hand, may be beyond our control. Yet we must also dream, or we do not reach far enough.

We can look at our latest presidential race and see many candidates who wanted every bit as much as Barack Obama to become president. And they tried at least as hard, perhaps in some cases even harder. But only one can reach that pinnacle of become president elect at any given election. So does that make the others losers?

Depends on the definition. If their Goal was to become president, then at least this time they lost. But if their Dream was to become president, and their Goal to do everything within their power to achieve it, then they won.

That is why I think it's important to choose for our Goals the things that are in our power to achieve. Our Dreams require powers beyond ourselves as well as our own. And maybe that's why we should reach for them anyway, even when we've been crippled by forces beyond our control.

Maybe we should even reach for Dreams that are impossible to attain, because in doing so, we stretch ourselves, and grow farther than even in the Dreaming we could have ever thought possible.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Christine said...

Last year, my critique group met in January and we shared our goals for the year. I knew I had a major move coming up, so I needed a list to focus on. I put it all on a spreadsheet. Half the sheet contained my writing goals, broken down by month, and the other half contained the house/family goals and task lists. Sometimes when I look at all the checks next to the task items completed, I feel a little giddy. Writing it down, and seeing it get checked off is a great visual pat on the back for me. Some things were moved (like the finish the revision goal), but smaller tasks like entering the contests, writing every week, joining new romance chapters, and more were accomplished by the dates stated.

My dream, of course, is publication. But a dear friend said, I have grown, and am continuing to grow, as a writer wishing to reach that brass ring. The journey is the reason I do this crazy thing called writing. And sometimes our journeys take us in directions we ourselves couldn't possibly dream or imagine until we round the next bend and see the next roadsign pointing us in a the new direction.

I don't know if I'll be published, but I do know I will land somewhere interesting even if that never happens.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Well, I just want to thank everyone at the Wet Noodle Posse for this month's blogging on the Golden Heart. You all convinced me to enter and use the contest as a spur to finishing my first manuscript. It may be a mess; it may be terrible, but it is done. (I want to shout this from the rooftops)!

Your advice and encouragement has kept me going day after day this month when I didn't think I could do it. Thank you so much.

Now for a couple of questions that I'm hoping someone can answer. I went ahead and entered and paid for the contest early as a way to force myself to meet the deadline. Now that I'm ready to send the stuff off, two things are clear.

First, my word count is different than what I put on the entry.

Second, I hate the working title that I gave. Is that changeable?

Can I just include a note with my submission packet indicating these two changes?

Here's hoping there's somebody out there still reading these comments!

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

Call the RWA office Monday morning and ask them your questions. They'll know the answers.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Christine said...

I also have a couple of formatting questions before I send it off tomorrow (still tweaking it bit by bit). Thanks for the tip to call directly.

I will be SO GLAD when this is sent off. I don't even care if I final. I'm just glad it's finished!!

At 10:42 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

I doubt if the rules have changed on these things, Jennifer, but you can always ask. Here's what they've always been:

It's expected that word count will change in new drafts or revisions. As long as it fits within the standards for the category, it's just fine and you don't need to notify anyone.

Sorry about the title, though. If you change the title, it's not allowed and would disqualify your entry. Your title does not really matter except to you because everyone knows titles change. Understandably if you final, you don't want to see a title you hate up on the screen at the awards ceremony, but it won't make any real difference to anyone else. You could name it "UNTITLED NUMBER 18" and you'd just get a laugh, but it wouldn't change anyone's mind, least of all an editor, who will likely re-title it anyway.

So unless the rules have drastically changed, DON'T re-title it. If they allowed this, it would cause enormous confusion in matching entry forms and fees with final manuscripts.

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Mo, thanks for the tip about calling. Delle, after reading how the handle the manuscripts, I understand your point. I'm not going to mess with any of it.

Thanks for answering my questions! I was going to mail it in the morning, but it might not go out until Tuesday. I discovered a major manuscript plot hole just when I thought I was completely done, which has me bummed, but I'll fix it tomorrow and overnight the thing on Tuesday.

As Christine said, I don't expect to final, but having this deadline has really pushed me to my limits and I'm pretty proud of myself for coming so far. Just entering is something that has been a long time dream for me, and I made it a goal only a month ago, so I guess I'm about to fulfill both a goal and a dream.

Knowing so many other people are putting their energy into the same thing is exciting as well. Even though I don't know the, I feel connected. This is powerful stuff.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Christine said...

I just went online and there is a checklist for you to use on the contest site.

Jennifer, if the plot hole is AFTER the first 55 pages, don't fix it now. They won't read past the first 55 pages unless you final. So send it off as is, then fix it afterward.

My MS has huge gaps in it because it is in revision. I polished the parts that are in revision by cleaning it up, but not writing much or revising further till necessary.

I'm waiting to hear back from the contest admin re: does the numbering start at page 2 or page 1, and can I use a DVD R disk vs a CD Rom for the MS?

I soooo want this out of my house -- today.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Christine, thank you, thank you. I've been agonizing. Fixed or not, it is going out in the morning.
What a good question about the discs. My husband is my computer guru and I just assumed a CDR or CDRW was okay. I guess I shouldn't assume anything.
I know what you mean about wanting it out of the house! Even with all the revisions necessary, it will still be such a relief.

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Christine said...

Jennifer, my MS -- the rest of it after the "golden" pages, is a mangled revision... parts are excellent. I have NO illusions. But I AM DONE with the partial and synopsis. We can use a dvd-r disk and the first page should have a 1 on it. And when this is copied (tomorrow AM as I cleaning house for company arriving tomorrow afternoon), I am mailing it with a tracking device and forgetting about it for a day.



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