Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Writing Goals and the New Year

Over Christmas, a writer friend sent me some wonderful candy (thanks Barbara) so I'm having a chocolate truffle at the moment and thinking about the past year. 2008 was truly great for me both personally and professionally. My family is happy, healthy, we love each other and my writing career began to blossom after years of struggling to become published. Including both e-books and print, I have seen ten books released this year and, to me, this is amazing.

The other day friends were chatting on a loop about things like writing goals and calendars. I'm thinking...HUH??? I think maybe some writers find it helpful but I've always been a more 'fly by the seat of my pants' kind of gal. In my work, I take a sliver of an idea and build a story around it. I send it in and my editor says yes or no. Someone will later send me a release date and a cover. That's good enough for me. Maybe I stress out too easily but I'm old enough to figure out these little niggling things out about myself. I don't DO stress anymore. I write, I dream, I play. If a book comes later rather than sooner, it's all right with me. I'm easy that way. So no big plans for me. No worry. No stress. I won't bang my head against the wall if I don't see five, six or seven books released next year. I'll finish my books when it's time and see how life unfolds.

At the moment, I'm roughly 20 pages or so from finishing a very hot shifter story and its brother, book two of this series, is waiting in the wings and I'll finish it soon after. Right now, I'm nearing the end of this one too. Funny thing is, right before Christmas just as the stress I try to avoid was building like a steam engine, I thought the idea 'well' had run dry. Nothing else was on the horizon but then BAM. Christmas was over, taking with it the adrenaline rush, the worry and the stress and suddenly ideas started to form once again. In the past few days, I've jotted down new plot lines and have enough now to have a continual flow of works in progress.

Do you work better with a strict plan or do you take your WIPS as they come? Is there a method to your madness and what do you see in the crystal ball that is 2009?


Desirée Lee said...

I used to be a die-hard pantser. My Muse rejected plotting because she felt it was a restriction upon her. The Muse HATES to be restricted.

I was writing my book Brothers at Arms and got to the end of Chapter Six and hit a brick wall. My inspiration was dead in the water. I knew where I wanted the story to end up, but bridging to that point was like pulling hen's teeth.

So... I put out the call for help to some friends of mine who are avid plotters. We took an afternoon and sat down together to plot out the rest of the book.

I found that making an outline gave me focus and direction. There were still some twists and turns that ended up in the story despite the outline. The Muse had to get her digs in that way.

I relaxed my "I hate plotting" stance though. I've found that a rough outline of major points and turns is helpful to keep on track. I don't plot out every book I write now, but when I get really stuck, I try to jot down my general direction I'm going for, then fill in the blanks.

By keeping the outline not too specific and subject-to-change, the Muse is satisfied.

Sometimes I will write down plot lines or basic ideas for later use. Even if it's months or years before I get to them, if I have something to build on, I'm happy. It's better than "I know I had a good idea...what the hell was it?"

As for the 2009 Crystal Ball, I'm hoping for at least four books published. More would be nice, but I think four is a good goal for me.

Carpe Noctem,

Desirée Lee
Putting the Romance Back in Necromancy

J.K. Coi said...

Regina, ten books is awesome! Congratulations.

It sounds awful, but writing is kind of hit or miss with me. When I'm on a roll, it's great. When I'm not, then the distractions are too much for me to bear and I'll use any excuse. I definitely don't plot much, but I do a bit of an outline, leaving it open enough to keep the ideas flowing. That can be great, but it can also suck when I get a block and there's nothing on paper already telling me how to write myself out of it.

MJFredrick said...

I'm afraid not to have goals. I'm afraid I'll become a slug. Besides (and maybe I shouldn't say this when you're worried about the well running dry) I have a ton of ideas I'd love to write.

Of course, maybe I'd get that done if I'd turn off the Internet now and again :)

Kelley Nyrae said...

I'm a little bit of both. I start with a basic story ideas, conflict and a few major scenes in my head and just write. The rest goes from there which some time causes me problems (which I'm sure you know when I'm emailing with a Help! I need to brainstorm). But most of the time it seems to work for me. I DO plan what I'm going to write when. I have specific deadlines from one of my publishers for two books already for 2009 and I have a few novella's I want to write for my erotic half so I have the hear planned out so far with three novella's and one novel at least.

Anne Rainey said...

Well, my 2009 is very strictly planned out. I'll have to stay on schedule to stick to my deadlines. It's not such a big problem though because I'm finding I work better when I plan things out. Working up an outline or synopsis before I start a story keeps me on track, even if the story does change a little once I get started, I still have a basic plan.

I guess it's like going grocery shopping with a list, sometimes you stray from the list, but at least you have the list as a reminder of what NOT to forget.

Regina Carlysle said...

You know, Des, I was thinking about that. Something inside me just curls up and dies at the thought of plotting every little thing but just writing out a plot line/point here and there might be helpful. I simple STALL at the end of every single book. Think I need to be tested for ADD or something because I just get BORED, OVER IT. LOL Bet you've been there too. SOunds like it. HA

Regina Carlysle said...

Hey JK. I know EXACTLY what you mean. I'll write like a house-afire and then go...hm, what now??? ACK! Sometimes the act of doing something mindless like folding laundry helps.

My writing area is organized either. I'll have to look for a pen and then I'll have to look for paper that hasn't already been scribbled on a gazillion times. That should be a nice little goal for me next year...keep my damn space organized.

Regina Carlysle said...

ARGH!!! The internet. I hate a love/hate relationship with it. Such a time sucker!

This is what I'm doing today. Writing for an hour solid and then giving myself 30 mins break to pee, get more coffee, check emails then I get TOUGH and go back to the writing.

Does that sound like a good plan?

Regina Carlysle said...

I know what you mean about brainstorming, Kells. Especially important for the panter-writer. I honestly don't know what I'd do without you guys to bounce ideas with.

Regina Carlysle said...

We have to find a method that works, Anne. You know...the method to the madness part? Unfortunately mine is more madness than method. LOL. Sounds like you have it all together. I must TRY to be more structured. Tend to be so damned impulsive about stuff though.

Regina Carlysle said...

Just realized my brain is working faster than my fingers. HA. GAWD, THE TYPOS. Ah well. We are all writers here and can use our imaginations as to EXACTLY what I'm trying to say. EGADS!

Regina Carlysle said...

2K done plus two loads of laundry. Managed to fit a shower in there but no lunch yet. Feel like the damn Tasmanian Devil today.

barbara huffert said...

My goal is to get up the next morning and be better to myself than I have been in the past. Yep, that includes more of those truffles too.

Genella deGrey said...

I'm not really structured as far as which WIP to choose to work on first - If I'm in-between edits I'll pick up something and toy with the notes or research and then put it down again. I'm always doing something, so it's not like I'm slacking or anything.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself.