Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Insecure Writer and 2013 Goals



Today is January's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.


Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?

The fact that I failed to complete last year’s writing goals.

To tell the truth, I didn’t even come close.

My 2013 goals were fairly simple.  First, to finish the fan fiction story I’ve spent the last five years writing (mostly to teach myself how to write) and second, to make significant progress on the first draft of my own, original story.  Last January, I felt these were realistic goals as I had already finished the first draft of the fan fiction story and since I already had 30k words of the new story under my belt – thanks to 2012’s NaNoWriMo.

Progress on finishing up the fanfic proceeded at a reasonable pace until I made the fateful decision to work on both stories simultaneously.  This shouldn’t have been a problem – I’m good at multitasking – but I eventually became obsessed with the notion that I wouldn’t allow myself to do any more work on the fanfic until I was satisfied with the first chapter of the new story.  Thus began an incredibly frustrating three month period in which I must have revamped that first chapter ten times while searching for the right way to open the story.  So both stories stalled.  And then, to make matters worse, I began teaching a night course in chemistry in September and all writing pretty much came to a halt. 

The good news?  The class is finished and it’s a new year, which means I get to reset my expectations.  Oh, the relief! 

So what are my goals for this year?  Essentially the same as last year, although I plan on becoming more active with social media.  I might even get around to moving my blog over to Wordpress.  We’ll see. 

Anyway, a Happy New Year to all the Insecure Writers out there!


25 comments:

  1. I can't work on two things at once because I get confused.
    If you need to finish the fanfic first, do it. Then maybe the other one will come easier.

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    1. That's a good idea, Alex. The fanfic story has a special place in my heart, since it was my first story, but it also feels good to work on something I know I can actually publish, so I find myself torn between the two projects.

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  2. I've also tried doing multiple projects at the same time, and it just doesn't work, at least not for me. I wouldn't say you have to pick one over the other, but that you should let the two stories decide amongst themselves which one you should work on. If your fan fiction is screaming, "Oh! Oh! Pick me!" while your other project is mumbling something about coffee, work on the fan fiction.

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    1. That's kind of how I wrote my fanfic. Whichever chapter was screaming for attention was the one I worked on, no matter how much I jumped around in the story. So I thought I could handle two stories at once using the same technique. Trouble was, my online critique group expected to see regular progress on my new story, even when I felt like working on the fanfic.

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    2. Oh, and thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Beginnings are the hardest thing to write in a novel, and the first few pages are the hardest of that. Personally, it usually takes me 3 days to write the 500 word opening of every chapter and then only 2 days to write the next 3000 words. Openings are a bitch! So cut yourself some slack and write on whatever project appeals to you. Good luck!

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  4. Happy New Year Ken!
    I'm also making resolutions that I probably won't be able to keep!
    Found a good how-to book by Roz Morris, Nail Your Novel. With her encouragement I hope to write a first draft!
    Best wishes,
    Anna

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  5. Well, I don't give a hoot which chapter you send from which book as long as I get to read something. Critiquing is a small price to pay for reading. In fact, critiques help me find the same problems in my book. Except I only think about fixing my book. I just need to stop making excuses, stop staying up late to do business and start staying up late to write again.

    Thanks for all the fun reading last year! Now send me more...please?

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  6. When I've tried multitasking with stories I always end up abandoning them both, I don't fully commit to either and so lose heart in them.
    This year I'm going to concentrate on one at a time, at least at the first draft stage, and focus my commitment more to each one.

    Good luck for 2014!

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  7. Hey ChemistKen!

    Maybe I'm too lax on myself when it comes to setting goals. I miss them and then say, "Oh well, I'll keep plucking along." It eventually gets done, but I wish it would be quicker. My goal this year is to set goals and make them!

    M.L. Swift, Writer: The Best is Yet to Come

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  8. I always say the first novel is the hardest. It's Mount Everest, and you're an inexperienced adventurer. Once you've made the full trek, it's familiar but still challenging. At least you know what to expect. On the fifth to tenth time up the mountain, you're pretty seasoned and ready to go, although you're always making little improvements about the gear you bring along, the way you ration your energy and food, etc. Here's to conquering the mountain in 2014!

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  9. Anything you set your mind to will get done, no matter how long it takes. Here's to this year being the one it happens for you! :)

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  10. First chapters can be very hard to get just right. I often force myself to finish the first draft before I go back to chapter one. That helps me to know what really needs to be there.

    Best of luck on your writing goals!

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  11. I say, yes, move your blog to Wordpress, you will not regret it. And best of luck on your goals, you're on the right path!

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  12. Happy new year! Good luck with your goals. And I agree with folks saying that first chapters are the hardest to get right. I'm constantly tweaking my first chapters. Keep working at it and you'll get it. :)

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  13. Yeah, I basically didn't meet any of my goals for last year, either, though I did a ton of writing. First chapters are so hard. I usually just keep writing and work on the first chapter once the novel is finished. I often get rid of the whole thing and start the story at a later point.

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  14. A new year means an opportunity to set new goals for yourself. Always a good thing! I didn't get much writing done last year due to a paralyzing fear of writing, but I'm doing a lot better this year.

    Good luck to you!

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  15. That's exactly why I don't set goals! Something always happens that makes me feel like a failure; but really it was just a necessary detour. Of sorts. Maybe. Ah.... insecurity.

    Why are thinking about moving to Wordpress? I've seen others switch to Wordpress, and I was wondering what the big advantage was?

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    1. Margo, the main reason I'm considering the switch to Wordpress is because of Blogger's Terms of Agreement, which state (more or less) than anything you post on Blogger is free for them to use in any way they see fit. At some point, when I *finally* finish my Hogwarts story, I'm going to post it on my website (as well as places like Wattpad), and I'm not exactly sure what the ramifications are. Obviously I'll still have the copyright, but I feel a little uneasy about posting that on Blogger. And with Wordpress, you can tweak your website as much as you want.

      But we'll see. I've been very happy with Blogger so far, so nothing's set in stone.

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  16. I struggle to work on more than one thing at a time - I get so involved with my characters, I can't shake them off. Good luck in reaching your goals this year!

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  17. You know, I have a terrible time working on more than one project at a time, so I totally get that. I also have a hard time "holding back" when there's something that I really want to be working on.

    Good luck with your goals, like you, I've set what I hope to be very achievable goals for this year.

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  18. I had a bad year too. I think it would have been better if I had written more. I did manage to get a huge part of the research for my novel done. That's something.

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  19. Yay on setting new goals. Good luck with them!

    And good luck with the move to wordpress. I did it and I'm glad I did...but it was a lot of work to begin with.

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  20. I made the move from blogger to wordpress myself. It has worked out well so far. I have a lot more control over the look of my blog even with the free account.

    As for goals...it sounds like you have some do-able aspirations on your list. Good luck with 2014.

    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

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  21. I didn't exactly reach my 2013 writing goals either. I wanted to write and publish 3 books, and I only managed 2. But the good thing about making really ambitious goals is that even if you don't reach them, you've still managed to achieve a lot :-) (So this year my goal is to publish 4 books!!)

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