2016 Goals

I completed all five of my 2015 goals! Now onto 2016!

1. Practice 'positivity, perseverance, and patience'. This can be applied in my daily life, but also with writing. I've realized this year that in order to succeed I must keep a good attitude, work hard, and enjoy the process.

2. Mind & body balance. After five years of dealing with body issues (I have suffered from EDNOS in the past, but continue to struggle with body dysmorphia), I want to restore balance within myself by being healthier and active. My main objective is to reach a happy body weight (one that is healthy and that I am confident in). More on this in February and March ;)

3. Complete a new manuscript and continue to improve my craft.

4. Be financially savvy. This year, I want to be smarter with my money and pay more attention to my spending.

Cheers to a New Year!

2015 Goals

On my 2014 goals, I completed two and a halfish out of three. I know confusing. I didn't lose my college weight, but I did lose some. So I guess that's progress! My second goal, I did perfect my manuscript, and I am still continuing to do so, because, let's be honest, revising never ends! I could revise forever and ever. But I did query a little during the second half of the year and will continue next year. As for my third, I am ready for my Vietnam trip next year! Whoo!

So now onto 2015!

1. Go to a conference! I've been wanting for awhile and I feel like this is the year to do it. Join me in L.A. for the SCBWI Summer Conference?

2. Network. This year, I'd like to make more of an effort in networking. 2014 was spent in a writing cave, which I admit, was kind of lonely. Let's be friends?

3. Visit family more often. In total, I spent only 11 days out of 365 in California with my family. I don't want a repeat of that in 2015.

4. Seek representation.

5. Start and complete a new writing project by year's end.

I'm so ready for you 2015! Bring it on!

Writing Hiatus

So I'm drawing near the time I first started writing M2. M2 was my most serious committed project. I was committed to M1, but as I drew near the last quarter of M1 I knew it just wouldn't work out. Though I loved the story, my writing capabilities lacked the skill to push that manuscript to its full potential.

Now, I'm about halfway through M3. It has been extremely slow going and difficult to write. I have a lot of ideas about where I want M3 to go, but it's hard for me to organize my thoughts clearly. M3 is loosely inspired by my time in high school in college and the friends that have come and gone and the issues we had dealt with. Thus, M3 is more of an issues/coming-of-age story which I've come to learn is harder to write than paranormal or fantasy. At least, for me it is.

Thus I am starting to miss M2 like crazy. I love this story to pieces and I want so much to go on and write the next book and the next to M2. But I know I shouldn't. If M2 ever gets picked up (and I hope it does), there would probably be major editorial changes that may change the course of the series.

So inbetween projects and wants and desires, I've found myself in a writing hiatus. Since I haven't been getting much progress on M3, I've been journaling, binge tv watching, and reading whatever I can get my hands on.

 
Despite my distractions, I feel disociated, like I've lost something. A part of me is itching to go back to M2 and tweak some more and add some scenes, but I can't decide if it would be more damaging then helpful. Alas, I will ponder on this some more and will continue to be positive about writing.
 
This will just be a small bump in the long and windy road.

M2 Wrap-Up

From the movie 'Stuck in Love'
Above all, I am a hopeless romantic. I try to be a realist, but anyone who knows me, knows I am not. There's no fault in being a hopeless romantic though becuase it's gotten me to where I am now: finished with M2 (for now at least).

When I wrote the draft of M1, I knew something was off. It turned out horrible like most first novel attempts. Though I was passionate about being a writer, I wasn't passionate about the story.

M2 was different. I loved the story. I loved the magic. And I loved the characters. Though it was hard, I kept at it, revision after revision. It made me into a hopeless romantic again. Now that M2 has met my vision, it's time to submit to #PitchWars, and if that doesn't happen, time to query. I'm hoping I can find someone who sees my story and wants to build it up even more. If M2 has more room to grow, I would love the guidance to take it there.

In the meantime, here's a quick recap of M2's journey from start time to now:

  • Mid October 2013 - I started writing the first draft of M2 and finished mid December, clocking in at about 74,000 words in two months. You can read my lessons after the first draft here.
  • January 2014 - I began the second draft of M2 and finished by the first week of March. 85,000 words in another two months. Check out my M2 post here.
  • April 2014 - I revised my third draft for my YA workshop course at Hugo House. I was only about 2/3 done when the course began, but completed it a week after it ended in June. Draft three totaled approximately 80,000 words.
  • June 2014 through July 2014 - I worked with my CP's (critique partner) feedback and completed my fourth revision that I sent over to my beta readers.
  • Mid August 2014 - Completion of revision five based on feedback from Betas.

Fourth Revision Readthrough

I love Debbie Ridpath's comics. I feel like the one above completely relates to me this week. I've spent the last three days rereading my whole manuscript from start to finish while Blaire just stares at me. I printed all the pages, and started marking it up like crazy (though I used a blue pen instead of red, because red just looks so mean, doesn't it? Or is that just me?) and now I'm in the process of making the changes on my manuscript on my laptop. I still have to write another chapter or two to fill in a gap I noticed, but I think it will be ready for me to send out to another batch of beta readers this weekend.

But boy am I exhausted... Even as I write this post, while sipping my morning coffee, I feel so dead. This week has just been a rollercoaster. Rereading my manuscript just makes me doubt so much that I can't tell if my story is even good anymore since I've been working on it so much. Thank goodness for beta readers.

I just need to remind myself to presevere. I'm way in too deep to be stopping now.

Stickin' to it and finishing.

I'm really bad at sticking to one thing and doing it well. I think I get bored easily or maybe I always get excited about something else that I forget about everything else entirely. For example:

Piano? 2 years. Flute? 3 years. Volleyball? 6 years. Soccer? 4 years. Vegan? 30 days. Vegetarian? Approximately 90 days? Pescatarian? 1 year. Competitive running? 1.5 years. Guitar? 5 years. Hot Yoga? 3 months. Boxing? 2 months.

What does this have to do with anything Michelle?

Well, because I have a difficult time staying passionate about one thing, it makes it really difficult for me to finish anything. And this is a real big problem because writing a novel takes commitment and time.

I wrote the first and second draft of M2 in like 5 months. But when it came to draft three I finished 2/3 of it in a month, and then just stopped writing for two months. I crashed and burned. I was just falling out of love with the story and feeling burnt out. And the more distance I put between myself and finishing draft three, the more anxious I was starting to become about getting back to it.

Source: caffeineglaore (tumblr)

I binge read to cope, but in the back of my mind all I kept thinking about is whether or not I'd finish.

Then my YA workshop class ended. I had been using the class as an excuse for not writing, but now that it finished I really had no excuses, did I? Work was finally starting to slow down, and now I had three-day weekends for the summer. If I was going to finish, this was the time to do it.

So I settled my hiney down and finished the last third of draft 3 in a week.

Let me repeat that: one friggin week.

All this time I was so anxious and worked up when really it would just take a week. Draft three isn't perfect and what not, but the point is I finished it. It really put into perspective for me that finishing something isn't so scary. That it's possible to finish things as long as you keep trudging forward. And that sometimes a break (like a crash and burn) is needed to get you right back where you left off.

It really just makes me want to laugh that I was so worked up about it. Anyone ever feel that way?

2014 Goals

Bring on the resolutions! I can't help but do this ever year, because making a list of goals always gives me something to strive for.

In 2013 I completed 4 out of 5 goals. The only goal I did not complete was to lose all of my college weight, instead I lost half, which means I have another half to go this year. So this year, that will be my first goal.

My second goal is to perfect my manuscript so that I can begin querying by the second half of the year. And if I scored an agent... well, that would certainly make my year.

My third goal is to save up for international trips next year, and my fourth is to grow within the company I am currently working for.

Cheers to 2014!