The Journey of a Creative Life

It amazes me. Life. The journey we take. It takes surprising turns and we end up in locations we never thought possible. We have these big ideas of where we want to go. Sometimes we get there and we don’t even know it, because we get so wrapped up in all the craziness that is our life. Sometimes we don’t get there, but we arrived in a place that’s just as good or even better. And we think, “Wow, how did I get here?”

Living a creative life isn’t easy in this world of constant distractions and doubt. We wonder if what we are doing is right. We wonder if we should do this or do that. We fear what others might think if they find out exactly what we want or exactly how we think. We fear judgement and scorn. We fear failure. We fear success. We fear doing the wrong thing.

But even with all this tumbling in the back of our minds, we still feel the need to live our life the way we want to. That pull. That desire to just be us. It’s not just enough to live. We want to live a creative life. We want to be expressive. We want to experiment. We want to try new things. We want to do more than what we are doing. We want to be more than what we are, or maybe just a better version.

We also worry about how much we are getting done. Is our life where it should be? Shouldn’t we be doing more? Shouldn’t we be farther along than we are?

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Goals for 2015

As always I like to make a few goals for myself for the new year. I like to cement it here on my blog for accountability, but also I feel when I put something in writing I am more likely to get it done. I try not to go overboard and do unrealistic goals that I couldn’t get done in five years if I tried. In fact, this year I am keeping it simple with just a few things I want to try for, but they are significant to me.

Goal 1… And I know I’ve been saying this for the last two years, but for once I really do see this as a possibility… finish my novel Blood Feud. I’m at the halfway point in the fourth draft. All I have to do is finish the fourth draft and go through and do a quick polish draft and it will be DONE. I think it’s very reasonable to think I can get all that done in 2015.

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What’s in Store for 2014?

I can’t believe it’s a new year. What happened to 2013? Well, it’s gone for better or for worse. Now I have to decide what I will accomplish in this new year. After answering the question, Did I Make my Goals for 2013?, it’s now time to set a new course for the new year. I don’t see myself adding much to what I already am doing. So far it seems to be working. Why fix something that isn’t broken? So here is a baseline of what I will be trying to accomplish in 2014.

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My 2013 Writing Goals

Oh man, I have to come up with more goals? Don’t I already do that almost everyday of the week? And didn’t I just kick butt with my 2012 goals? Okay, so maybe coming up with some new things to strive for may not be a bad idea. Here are some things I would like to accomplish in 2013.

Read
This is a goal I still need to keep on doing. I did better in 2012, but I can do even better. My goal to read at least a chapter or short story every single day.

Write
This I have been doing pretty good in, but I’m putting it down as a goal to remind myself not to become a slacker. I must write everyday!!!! 

Beef up my Self-Editing 
This is something I have been wanting to do for awhile. I have a great ability of finding plot holes, character flaws, and inconsistencies in stories, but when it comes to grammar, spelling, and punctuation I don’t shine as bright. My goal for 2013 is to read a few books, and take a few classes so I can become a super editing machine!

Finish Blood Feud
Do I have to say it? Really? My goal is to have Blood Feud completely finished by the dawning of 2014. I’m nearly done with my first draft, so it has a possibility of happening. I’m going to keep fighting the good fight and see how far I get!

Work on Short Stories
Because I have thrown so much time into Blood Feud, my short story writing has fallen mostly by the wayside. I’d like to try to at least finish several short stories I have on the back burner, and maybe even come up with a few new ones. I can do it! I know I can!

Do More Posts for My Blog
I really do need to be more proactive at posting for my blog. I actually do have a list of ideas to write about, but I haven’t taken the time to write them out. My goal is to try and post something every two weeks at minimum.

Break into Travel Writing
This is something that has interest me for awhile now. I’m not sure what it will take, but I would at least like to try my hand at travel writing and see where it leads. I know I love to travel, and I have several awesome vacations in the works this year. Well, see how it goes.

Wow! I’m already excited to get things going and I can’t wait to see what happens next! So what are your goals for 2013?

2012 in Review: How did I do?

I can’t believe it’s the end of yet another year, and what a great year it has been! I will always look at 2012 as the year that I really became a writer. I wrote more this year than I have since I started dabbling in writing six years ago. I also found an incredible story that will take many books to tell, and I found a really close group of writers to work with in the critique group I started at the beginning of 2012. I also did pretty good at keeping to my goals that I set for myself at the beginning of 2012.

My goals for 2012 were…

Goal 1: Read… My goal to read everyday.

Did I do that?
No. I didn’t read every single day, but I did read most days. Compared to my reading in 2011, it was a big improvement.

Goals 2: Write… My goal to write everyday.

Did I do that?
Yes for the most part. Technically I did not write every single day. I did take a few days off now and again for family time, but for the most part I was writing every day. And when I did write, I more than made up for the times I didn’t write. I found out something amazing too… I used to struggle to write everyday, but once I began keeping up the habit of writing, it was hard to stop myself from writing on days I took off for family and such. What an incredible switch!

Goal 3: A New Path to Walk… My goal to focus on writing instead of worrying about deadlines and publication.

Did I do that?
Yes and no. For the most part I did follow this new path, but I did break my rule on one story that I wrote for an anthology project, and I did attempt a few short story submissions. But as a whole, I mostly focused on the joy of writing. Oh, and I did set my own personal deadlines throughout the year so I had something to work towards, but I kept the goals flexible and didn’t have a problem with moving things around if need be.

Goal 4: New Niche to Write In… My goal to write a bunch of short stories based of my childhood memories for myself and my son to enjoy.

Did I do that?
Yes for a while. Until I got my idea for the current novel I’m writing, I did write quite a few short stories based off my childhood memories. Most of them are still in rough draft form, but they are down on paper so that I can go back and work on them more when I am ready to continue that project.

Goal 5: More Blogging, not scheduled… My goal to write blog posts, but not have them scheduled.

Did I do that?
Yes. I did, and I look back to see that most months this blog only got one post at most throughout the year. I was so focused on my novel and other writing projects that I totally neglected this poor blog. I’m really not sure that was such a good thing.

Goal 6: Learning the Craft of Writing… Instead of focusing on writing classes, I brought some books to read to help with my writing craft.

Did I do that?
Yes. I did read most of the books I brought for the purpose of learning more craft, and also purchased another book Between the Lines by Jessica Page Morrell, which I found an invaluable source for novel writing techniques.

Goal 7: Be More Flexible… My goal to be more flexible in my writing, goals, and to overall be more calm about things.

Did I do that?
More or less, I think. I’d like to think I was more chilled out about things, but for a more accurate answer you may have to ask my family and friends.

I feel really great that I was able to keep myself on track all year. What an amazing 2012, and I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for me!

My December Goals

Well, my goals for the month of November didn’t get reached, but I came pretty close, especially considering I had to take about 2 weeks off due to different things coming up. I managed to get the first draft of Part 2 of my novel (chapters 18-27) done and I’ve gotten started on Part 3 and completed chapters 28 and 29. Since I wasn’t able to commit the full month to my goals, I’ve decided to extend them into the month of December. My new goals will be…

  • Finish rough and first draft of Part 3 (chapters 30-42)
  • Work on a short story connected to my novel for an anthology due in Janurary

I think my goals are doable, and I can’t wait to see what the months of December will bring! So what are your goals for this last month of the year?

Goals in 2012

It’s January 1st once again and like the years before I want to reassess my goals and where I would like to go on my writing journey. After a Year in Review, I have come up with some things I want to accomplish in 2012 to better the craft of my writing. 
Read
The best way to get better at any craft is to study those who have gone before in the field you wish to know about. So if you want to learn to write what better way than by reading what others have written? Reading something every day is my goal, even if it’s as simple as a blog post. 
Write
How can a person get better at something when you don’t practice? You can’t, so that’s my next goal to write every day. A good friend of mine once told me that it takes approximately 10,000 hours working at something to really be good at it. Looks like I’ve got a ways to go. My plan is to put a decent sized dent in that 10,000 hour mark.
A New Path to Walk
I have discovered a new way to approach my writing and the writing process through the book How to Be a WriterI plan on making the book’s exercises a regular practice not only in my writing but my life as well. Also my views on deadlines and publishing have made a 180 degree turn. I now realize that to save my sanity, I need to not focus on deadlines or publishing, but writing simply for the sake of writing and that is all.
New Niche to Write In
I have been struggling for some time with a niche to write in, so far I have dabbled in speculative fiction (my favorite), science fiction, supernatural and mainstream fiction. Recently I have discovered that I truly enjoy writing about past memories (mostly from my childhood), so for right now this is what my writing will be focused on, creating a bunch of short stories with the eventual goal of putting them all in one book for my son to enjoy, as well as my family.
More Blogging, but Not Scheduled
In this past year, I have struggled with my writing, but the one area that had the least of that struggle was writing on my blogs, which is interesting. Every time I wrote on my blogs (personal or writing) I didn’t consider it real writing at all and was upset that the blog writing took away from my other writing, and yet when I did get to the “real” writing I never got very far because writer’s block would settle in and not let go. This year I’m going to make blogging more of a priority. At the same time, I will not be pushing myself to create blogs. I had a schedule (on this blog) of posting Tuesday and/or Saturdays, which didn’t always happen every week, so I’m tossing out the schedule and posting when I feel like it and see how that goes. This blog (and personal blog) might end up with four posts a week or one post a month, we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Learning the Craft of Writing

In 2011, my main focus was learning the craft of writing, but for 2012 I think my focus will change to learning the love of writing. I will, however, still focus on the craft when I have a chance and have recently purchased a few writing books to read. I look forward to diving into Michael Knost’s Writer’s Workshop of Horror and Josip Novakovich’s Fiction Writer’s Workshop, and doing the fun looking exercises in Bonnie Neubauer’s The Write-Brain Workbook.
Be More Flexible
I have the personality- or perhaps more correctly- the learned traits of being a bit of an anal person. Yes, I said it, I’m anal. This may have some use in the world- though I’m not sure what that is- but mostly it just gets me worked up about stuff and sends me into supercharged panic attacks, which even spills over to my writing. This year I’m attempting to take a “chill pill” and not get so worked up about things. I’m not sure how well I will accomplish this, but a person has to start somewhere, right?
I think that sums up my goals for now, but I realize that things change. It’s a part of life (see that chill pill seems to be working already). All I can do is my best and make changes when necessary. It will be interesting to see what happens, and what 2012’s Year in Review will look like. Until then, a happy journey to all and I wish you the best in your own writing endeavors.