(Author’s Note: the following post is part of my monthly contribution to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, or IWSG. Enjoy!)
2012 was an unexpected surprise hit year for me, regarding my writing. Truth be told, it was the first time that I’d made a real, concerted attempt at taking my writing and the work behind my writing very seriously. My “victory” during NaNoWriMo has given me the momentum to continue taking my writing seriously; for the first time ever, I can truly see where this has gone from being merely a hobby to something more tangible, something that I’m transitioning into.
Thank the gods, because if one thing was always certain, it was this: I was incredibly insecure about my writing.
As such, 2013 will see some more writing goals. That is, I’ve set some goals for myself that I can confidently meet, even if there is that modicum of insecurity that will always plague me as a writer. No matter. Because not only have I met a truly supportive community here, but I’m armed with the best weapon a writer can have at their disposal.
With this writer’s Bible in tow, here are a few of the goals I’ve set for myself, and for the Out Where The Buses Don’t Run blog, for 2013:
1. Continue editing the the first draft of the NaNoWriMo work-in-progress. Fine tune the manuscript, then have it ready for publication.
To be honest, I took an editing hiatus during December. Stephen King advises in On Writing to always give yourself a break once you’ve completed the first draft of your manuscript. Let it simmer for a bit, and give yourself a much-needed breather. Recharge your batteries. Mine are plenty recharged, and I’m raring to go. I’ve got some great new edits I want to play with, and I’ve already gotten started.
I’ll submit a query for beta readers through my blog. I’m actually quite excited about that, being able to share my novel with others in the hopes of gaining valuable feedback. I’m hoping to get a finished draft out to a few beta readers by April, if not sooner.
Once the manuscript’s been fine tuned and gone through with a fine-tooth comb, then comes the moment I’m most excited for, and most dreading: the submission process.
2. Submit more short fiction – build my portfolio, so to speak.
It may or may be relevant, but I’ve felt my lack of published work, whether my work has been published online or in print, is something that could hold me back in the future. I’ve written several short stories that really should and could be getting more exposure elsewhere.
Here’s where the Writer’s Market short fiction market entries come into play, as well as solicitations from Poets & Writers and Duotrope. Time to unearth some of the lost papers, polish them up, and submit them wherever there’s an interested market.
I’m not suggesting this is a requirement. This is really more for my own sake, just to satisfy my ego.
3. Don’t fear the query letter.
Part of what’s always made me leery of writing a query letter is not having something tangible to offer an agent or publisher. In other words, I can bullshit, but not when I’m out of my league. I was operating under the (false) assumption that you had to have a completed manuscript before an agent or publisher would even talk to you. Not so!
Even though I’m still in first draft mode, I know where the novel’s going. And I know I can sell this novel well enough. I can get an agent interested. Or I can sell it to a small publishing press.
My copy of the 2013 Writer’s Market is already getting the living hell highlighted and sticky flagged out of it.
4. Build a better platform.
Out Where The Buses Don’t Run started off rather innocently, but I learned quickly there’s so much more I can do with this blog to create an author’s platform. I’m planning on adding an additional URL to this blog; not to worry, “Out Where The Buses Don’t Run” will still be searchable. I’m also planning some cosmetic changes to this blog. Nothing major. It’s starting to look a bit cluttered, and clutter makes me insane.
Building a platform includes social media. Thing is, I’m not a fan of FB, at least not anymore, and I’m not sold on Twitter (I’m not on Twitter…yet), but I will be creating an Author’s page for myself on Goodreads. Goodreads is a site I visit and enjoy frequently, and I’ve talked to a few friends who’ve created author pages for themselves, and have offered nothing but praise for their site.
5. Workshops and conferences: Learn to love them.
They’re vital to writers everywhere. Yet I’ve avoided them. Not this year. I’m scouring through the WM, P&W and Duotrope databases for some coming to a location near me.
6. The Interview thread.
Some of you no doubt are already aware that I’m planning an ongoing interview series, in which I’ll be interviewing fellow writers, published or non-published. It’s part social experiment, part creative process, part support group, and all fun. I figure it’ll be a good way for me to get to know some of my fellow writers and bloggers, and it’ll be a win-win in terms of boosting site views and potential follows.
So if you’re interested in me interviewing you, let me know.
7. Tell insecurity to go fuck off.