I can’t get over how busy the past four months have been for me. While I have been writing a little, editing a lot and formatting books, an equal amount of time (if not more) has been spent offline, away from the computer.
Life is going in the direction I had planned, so I’m far from complaining. However, I am rethinking a few things I had planned.
For instance, I wrote two short novels last year, both under 70,000 words. They were not fantasy and because of advice from other writers and Amazon’s algorithms, I had decided to publish these and others of similar fashion under a new pen name. Of course, a new pen name would create a few challenges of its own, but I was prepared to tackle them.
Today, my mother turns 92 years old. She never thought she’d see this age, yet here she is. Like many of us, we are never aware of what we’re capable of doing. We just do it.
2020 is a transition year for me. There are things that must be done, and only by working off property will I accomplish them. So, this spring, I plan to begin working 40 to 50 hours a week, which will take me away from writing in the short term, yet will deliver me closer to a few long-term goals I want to accomplish in the next five years.
Much like when I worked at the garden centre a few years ago, this job will be physical (my favourite type), and I’ll be outdoors most of the time. It will chew up most of my time from April to December. Then I’ll be free to write through winter again.
If I had to wrap up the year 2019 in one word, that word would be Unexpected.
While many things I expected to happen happened, there were many unexpected things that happened that had never before happened. They were a mixture of good and bad. All I can say is I survived intact, and it’s time to sum them up and keep moving forward.
On January 7th of last year, I posted my epic goal challenge. Here they are exposed like the bare rocks on the seashore.
My goal for more than ten years has been to write a long epic fantasy series, and while I was set on the goal, little had been accomplished. By October 2018, I had two books written and book number 3 containing about 30,000 words. It was far from the epic adventure I’d envisioned more than a decade ago.
For a few years, I’d had wonderful spurts where I’d write 10,000 sometimes 30,000 words in a month, but there were many months I didn’t write anything. And there were writing projects I took on unrelated to the Castle Keepers series. While I’m glad I wrote the humour and two romance novels, they didn’t bring me closer to my goal: author of a ten-book fantasy series.
Last October, I put my foot down and I promised to not only focus on the fantasy series but to write every day. Every day.
As an epic fantasy writer, I suppose it is only fitting for me to make epic writing goals. Normally, I don’t, but 2019 will be different. I’ve been feeling it in my bones since September that this year was going to be my year.
For the past five or six years, I’ve been all over the place with my writing and editing. I’ve not made a lot of headway with my books; it’s disappointing. I’ve done a lot of work with little to show for it. Last summer, I realised why.
I spent autumn figuring out the best course of action and putting a few things in place. Now that the prep work is complete, it’s time to launch the new goals, ones that will get me closer to what I desire.
Obviously, there will be changes. To make time in my life to meet my 2019 challenges, I had to reduce time spent on other projects and other types of work. This means, once I finish the two editing/formatting projects scheduled for 2019, I won’t accept others.
I’m a huge believer in goals. Let me rephrase that. I’m a huge believer in setting realistic goals. Goals that are impossible to reach, other people’s goals and goals set for me by someone else are unrealistic, and I have no interest in them. Years ago, my goals were simple. I had only a few and they were easily reached. As I got older, goals became more complicated and harder to accomplish. When I failed at them, it disappointed me, but I didn’t change my behaviour, so I failed more frequently.
Wisdom comes with age and the older I got, the more attention I gave to those who successfully reached their goals. I started making goals and succeeding more times than I failed. They were goals for writing a novel, researching genealogy, getting my articles in newspapers and magazines, buying a new truck and a boat, making more time for camping and fishing and completing projects around the house.
NaNoWriMo 2018 has been extremely successful for me. My record for words written in a month stood at 60,000. In November, I shattered that and wrote 143,770 words. That’s an entire fantasy novel. I’m thrilled, shocked and every other word that means unbelievably amazed. I never knew I could do it. There are two reasons for that:
I’ve never done it before.
Others said it couldn’t be done.
So, how did I do it? I’m not exactly sure, but here’s what I think I did right.
The Writing Stage
The stars aligned in 2018 and after completing several assignments and miscellaneous projects, I was left in the middle of October to complete the draft for Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series. I had also started a small assignment from my writers’ group, one I thought would be a short story. However, it turned out to be a full-blown novel, one that ties in to the Castle Keepers series. I predict it will be 100,000 words. I called it Beyond the Myst.
It’s the last day of November and as of bedtime last night, I’ve written 135,880 words since November 1st. It’s a record for me, one that once stood at 60,000 words in a month, one I don’t plan on breaking any time soon. I still have one more day to add to that record. Specifically, 18 hours, but I’ll be in bed before midnight, so that will trim down to about 15 hours.
My goal today is to write every minute I can. It’s unrealistic to do this every day, but today, the last day, I will. I’ve cleared everything off my schedule. Besides usual housekeeping duties, getting kids off to school and work, feeding animals and the unexpected interruption (fingers crossed the power will stay on today), I will write, drink tea and work towards the end of Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series. It currently sits at 139,614 words, Chapter 32, Scene 2. Looking at the six scenes left to write, I imagine it needs about 15,000 more words before I can write THE END. Much of the second-last scene has already been written – it came to me a week ago, so I recorded it.
We are all looking for our path to success, but our paths are drastically different. We all don’t get to success the same way, and we don’t all identify success in the same manner.
In my years of reading about marketing and writing, the same questions pop up, and by answering these two questions, it makes us better able to plan our writing careers. In fact, the answers to these two questions are vital in making important decisions in our publishing journeys.
Last week, I posed these two questions to members in my writers’ group. They have a month to think over the answers, but I’ve been thinking about my answers for much longer.
I keep thinking I should be making a list of things to do or setting goals as we look down the barrel at 2016, but I’m not sure what they would contain other than what I already have on the wall behind my laptop.
Back in October, I spent several weeks rewriting my business plan. This is something every self-published, freelance writer should have. Writing is a business, and creating a plan puts things into perspective and helps plan for the future.
Can you believe it’s already February 8th? Where is winter going so fast? And where is all the work I had planned to finish in that first long, glorious month of the year?
Sadly, I had lost focus on my fantasy novel, Shadows in the Stone, and worked on it very little during the first 31 days of 2012. I could beat myself up about it, but instead, I think I’ll lay down the law. This always works better for me, and it’ll force me to think about that looming deadline when my novel goes to print.
It’s easy to write a novel. Just ask anyone who hasn’t written one. They’ll tell you when they retire, they’ll write one and published it. They say this with such ease you’d think it was as simple as rising in the morning and dressing. After all, everyone who can put a few words on paper can write, so they’d be able to string together a few thousand words and write a novel. No problem.
And it isn’t a problem until they sit down to begin that first chapter.
I love rambling along the garden path but a list reminds me I have important things to do.
More than a dozen years ago while taking a break from installing vinyl siding on a building we were renovating on the Shearwater Air Force Base, I took out a list I was following. Another worker – the fellow who amazed me by driving his motorcycle ten months of the year – leaned over and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was checking my weekly list.
He chuckled and said, “I used to make lists, but I’d never follow them. I’d have to make a note to remind me to look at the list.”
To this day I think about his comment every time I make a new list. He was right in many ways. People make lists all the time only to forget about them the moment they’ve been made. I’m guilty of that. I’ve made many lists over the years that were useless, useless in the fact that I didn’t follow them.
Still, it doesn’t mean lists are useless. Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes the things on the list weren’t as important as first believed.
In fact, lists are very important to me. They remind me of what I need to do. Without them, I ramble, dilly-dally, believing there’s nothing important to do, and I daydream, wondering what I might do.
Sometimes it takes a few weeks for me to realise I’ve been without a list for too long. It’s when it suddenly occurs to me that nothing is done on an assignment and the deadline is fast approaching, or a project I intended to start was forgotten about.
Making a list of things to do gets me moving forward. I check them off when completed, and if I finish the list, I feel as though I’ve accomplished something.
Do you find yourself floundering, wondering why you can’t get things done? Then maybe a list will help you get back on track.
Goals trigger actions. This year, one of my goals is to begin a blog. So here I am . . . my first step in Blogland. I’m not exactly sure what I’ll write about but many things come to mind. Although I am a writer in the heart, a dreamer in the soul, I’ve experienced many things over the years and held many positions in the workforce. All those floors I’ve mopped and seedlings I’ve planted seem necessary to create the characters in my stories.
But first, let me introduce myself.
I’m Diane Lynn Tibert, native of Cole Harbour, Halifax County, Nova Scotia, Canada. My roots have grown in this soil for more than 250 years and stretch across the Atlantic to Scotland, England, Ireland and Germany.
I’ve been a writer my entire life even when I didn’t know it. The earliest stories were created in grade one. I’d write about the adventures my friends and I enjoyed in the woods surrounding our homes. By the time I was in grade three, my friend, Beverley Davis, and I were writing plays in Campfire Notebooks. I’m not sure how many we filled, and I don’t know what happened to them, but for one day, I wish I could sit and read them.
High school was a mix of homework, hanging out with friends and writing novels. Back then, I dreamt of getting published but was terrified to share my writing with anyone. After graduation, physical work consumed my days, and years passed before I realised the many jobs that never satisfied me were simply keeping me from what I truly needed to do: write.
My first piece, an article about gardening, appeared in 1998. Since then, my by-line has appeared hundreds of times in newspapers and magazines. My interests have changed over the years but the nice thing about writing is that regardless of how I feel, what I’m doing or where I’m at in life, I can write about it. Just as I can’t remember when the spark of writing began in my life, neither can I see the spark fading. It is one constant in life I can always turn to.
My blog will be about writing, the writing world and whatever inspires me to do what I do within that world. The writing business is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Just when you think you know enough to get it right, you learn you need to know more. Then you learn you must unlearn things taught to you while in school – how crazy is that?
So here’s the newest blogget’s first footprint in Blogland. I hope the weather is . . . unpredictable.