It’s a New Year!

Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows just how crazy my last 12 – 18 months have been. Being told my son needed a bone marrow transplant pretty much threw everything askance since August of 2012. However, now the light is starting to show at the end of the tunnel. As of January 1, he was 8 months post transplant, and doing AMAZINGLY well. All of his doctors seem very pleased with his progress, and while we have a follow-up planned in Seattle, when we return from that, he should return to treatment with his regular hematologist for Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome.

Even though clinic appointments are far too regular still, with no end in sight until mid-late spring, that light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine a glimmer on the future.

While I’m not going to guarantee I’ll be posting here regularly–even pre-transplant, it was beginning to be a gamble–I’ll post as much as I’m able to. But, this is what my goals are for this year where my writing is concerned:

  1. Write five days a week for at least an hour. To accomplish this, I’m going to try institutiting an early-morning writing time. Between appointments, and the fact I’m a stay-at-home mom (and my daughter will be starting homeschool Kindergarten sometime this year), early mornings are about the only time I can guarantee I’ll have uninterrupted time, five days a week. I instituted this early morning time on the 30th of December, and so far, I’ve gotten up four of the five days, and wrote/edited for three of the four.
  2. Publish. This one should go without saying, but I have a very aggressive goal to publish several short stories/novellas/novels this year. I’m not going to specify my exact number (partially because I’m not 100% certain of the exact number, but also because I don’t want to have life happen and not be able to follow through), but when I say it’s aggressive, it is. A body at rest tends to stay at rest, and a body in motion tends to stay in motion. I’m trying to put myself into motion so that it becomes just part of it that I’m constantly writing, editing, and publishing. Listening to the Self-Publishing Podcast since May of 2013, and reading “Write. Publish. Repeat.” (by the same guys behind SPP) in December really motivated me. I can do this. It just takes momentum to get started.
  3. Set a production schedule. The only way I can stay on track is to know what I expect myself to do. Listening to Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn podcast (also started around the same time as I started listening to SPP–I think I learned of one from the other) has helped me see that a production schedule will help me stay on track and on purpose. I’m apt to take rabbit trails, and distractions are very easy, so knowing I’ve GOT to work on this project rather than that one may help keep me on track. I say may because who knows. 😉

I have other goals, like getting my feet in order where I can begin exercising again (I was told I had a very bad case of plantar fasciitis in my arches in December, so I haven’t been walking the dog at all) and sticking to a gluten-free diet (I’ve lost about 5 pounds since Thanksgiving just by going gluten-free, and 99% dairy free!) But, I’m really mostly focused the writing goals. Hopefully, on January 1, 2015, I’ll be able to look back at 2014 with a smile.

How about you? Do you have any new goals you want to accomplish in 2014, writing-related or not?

Until next time,

Liberty

P.S., if you haven’t done so already, be sure to pick up a copy of CSI Effect

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Goals Make the World Go ‘Round

I disappeared again.

Sorry about that.

But, it was for a good cause. About the time I did my last post, I had started in on a short story–and I blew through 21,000 words in about 3 weeks, including having two days straight where I wrote 4,500+ words (one of those cleared more than 6,000!) I’ve been working very hard on the project, hence the absence. My focus was just really intense there for a couple weeks.

Photo by Kazarelth

As I’ve been moving forward in these writing goals, I’m really finding how much I’m solidifying my long-term goals. I’m pretty sure I mentioned when I got back that I’d shifted my goal towards self-publishing in the next 18 months. It’s hit home that that number has now dwindled to 15 months!!! That means I have a lot of work ahead of me.

So, I’ve also been getting some critique partners reading, thinking about others I’d want to ask to read some of my projects, and building up the nerve to ask them. (I do have that problem–I lack the nerve a lot of the time to simply ask for help!)

And, I’ve also been thinking about how to handle certain aspects like cover design. I do not have any formal training as a designer, but I love to play around with programs. (Several years ago, I asked my husband for a home design program for my birthday. I love opening it up now and then and playing around with it, even though I’ll probably never be able to design a house that we’d actually live in!) So, I did spend a significant amount of time playing around with GIMP to design some mock-ups. That’s been a lot of fun, and I’m improving my skills. Not sure if I’ll ever be able to do a full-blown cover without Photoshop and a couple of classes at my local junior college (which I am contemplating for writing and non-writing reasons, like being able to get student-priced tickets to the opera!) But, I can at least make mock-ups and point someone else in the right direction!

A lot of this has been pushed by the fact that one of my acquaintances locally who works in the hematology office where my son goes is a self-published author… and he has his next book releasing in a couple of weeks. That, and all of the self-publishing podcasts I’ve been listening to lately. All of this has really motivated me, and I’m practically chomping at the bit to get something, anything up on Amazon.

Even though I’m eager to do so, I know I need to wait. My stories are not ready yet. They need to be polished. I’ll get there, and maybe sooner than the 15 months I’m targeting now (maybe as soon as next spring!)

In the meantime, keep watching this space for updates.

Until next time… well, you know. 😉

Welcome Back! — an Update and a Re-Evaluation

Tap, tap, tap! Does this thing still work??

Ahem.

Yes, I’m back after a much extended break. So, let me catch you up on what’s happened in since I did a serious post back in January.

My little man +121 after transplant, feeling great!

In early February, we were told that we were ready for transplant, and March 1 found my husband and I driving from Kansas City to Seattle, WA, where we proceeded with my son’s bone marrow transplant. It  was slated to happen the last week in March, but he got a virus (which he wasn’t symptomatic for!) and forced a delay until May 1. From May 1 until July 23, we were outpatient for only 2 weeks, 14 hours! My little boy kept getting sick for various reasons, so we never got more than a week and a few hours out the two times we were outpatient.

However.

He has done AMAZINGLY well, and we were able to leave on his day +101 to come home!! We arrived home on August 12, which ended up being a bit of a whirlwind for us. We got home at 12:45 AM, rushed to make an appointment with our KC BMT doctor, then went to see my grandmother who was dying… and who passed away while we were with her.

I am so glad I got to come home and see her one last time.

___________

So, whirlwind 5 1/2 months means no writing, right? 

Nope. 

While I didn’t do near as much writing as I’d hoped to do in those five and a half months, I did more than I think many people expected I would. I finished the third draft on my suspense-in-the-future book, Reprisal, and moved further along with the first draft of my police procedural with a Sci-Fi-y twist, Dead Before Arrival. I also began drafting a short story that will be a prequel to Beyond Dead and Dead Before Arrival–and am actively brainstorming ideas for a series of shorts that could very well lead up to the publication of both books, plus the third book in the trilogy, which I’ve yet to name or do more with than have a few ideas for scenes that could or should happen in them. 

Which brings me to the re-evaluation phase of this post.

Something in me snapped last fall where publishing is concerned. Most of you who regularly read this blog will remember I’ve said repeatedly that I’m only interested in getting an agent and going the traditional route. I’m not sure what changed, but something has. Maybe it’s watching so many of my friends succeed in self-publishing, maybe it’s the further success of e-books, or the fact they’re now outselling physical books, but I’ve been re-evaluating what my desires are for publishing.

Over the last several months, I’ve been listening to podcasts like Self-Publishing Podcast and Joanna Penn’s The Creative Penn with regularity–maybe even being on the brink of being a bit obsessive about it.  In the many hours of listening while driving or doing house chores, the things the hosts and their guests have said struck a chord with me, and I’m beginning to see how it’s possible for lilol‘ me to be successful in self-publishing. I’ve got a few hang-ups I’m working through, but thankfully, I’ve got friends whom I can pick the brains of. 

Currently, I’m formulating a plan to begin publishing in the next 18 months–maybe even sooner. We’ll have to see how that goes. I’m starting to chomp at the bit in order to make this happen, so if I can keep up that level of enthusiasm and have things come together, you may be seeing my name in print very soon!

As for this blog, I’m going to keep trying to plug away at it, though as I think I’ve said in the past, it’s going to encompass more of what interests me besides writing, so you may hear about kitchen disasters, anecdotes about my kids, or whatever else floats my boat. I’m also considering doing a non-fiction book about my experiences during transplant, although I’m not really sure about the direction of the project yet.

Until next time,

Life Gets In the Way

Over the last few months, I’ve found life getting more and more in the way of my writing. Yeah, I’ve kept up with my blog posts. I’ve sort-of kept up with my book reviews.

But my books? My plans to do freelancing? Eh, not so much.

Photo by ~in-door (not an actual representation of my bathroom)

This is frustrating for me. I hate feeling like I’m behind, even if it’s in my own mind. Yet, I look around my apartment, and see the floor that needs vacuuming, the boxes that still need unpacking (or better yet, taken to Goodwill or our storage facility), the bathrooms that need cleaning, and then I feel behind in my housework.

Yes, I realize I’m a mom.

Yes, I realize I’m a mom of a little boy who has some special needs. And a mom to a toddler. And a mom to a chocolate Labrador. And a wife to TMOTH.

But I still feel behind. Okay, I am behind.

Oy.

Let’s face it right now: life will try to get in the way of your best laid plans. I didn’t think this time last year when I was newly pregnant with my son that my new home-away-from-home now would become the hospital. To date, my son has been admitted three times since November, the shortest stay being one night, the longest being seven days.

Yuck.

But in the midst of it all, I can still see my other priorities.

Sure, it would help if I got more cooperation from TMOTH. I’m not complaining; he’s as frustrated by everything as I am.

Photo by ~underawartorsky

But, it sure does help if I plan my day and try to work some of my priorities around the family priorities. For instance, I’m writing this blog post at 8:15 in the morning a couple weeks before it’s supposed to post. My husband’s at work, my kids are asleep. It’s going to snow later today, so we’ll be stuck inside. When I’m done with this, I’ve got another post to write, then, hopefully, I’ll get to do some editing on Homebody.

I’m having to train myself to be more of a morning person so I can get things done. Dr. Pepper helps tremendously!

Have you had to make changes in your own life to get done your goals? How has that worked for you? Do you regret it, or are you resigned to the fact that this is how it will be for a while?

Until next time,

Reflections on 2010, Looking Ahead at 2011

Photo by ~chalee-80 at DeviantArt.

New years is here, and quite frankly, it couldn’t have come soon enough. There’s plenty of things I’m glad are in my past that came and went with 2010. Hopefully, they’ll stay in the past, and won’t be back to haunt me, either in memories or by those backward looking souls who choose to bring them up.

The biggest blessing of 2010 was the birth of my son. No matter what else happened, I can still look back and say 2010 may have been a bad year for a whole bunch of reasons, but at least I got my little boy out of it.

I was also blessed in 2010 to have three folks read the manuscript of Homebody in its entirety. Micah, Julia, and Nina all have helped me get this book into shape. Holly is going to take one last look at it in the next couple months, then I’ll be sending out updates on submissions! 😀

2011 looks like it’ll be an interesting year to come. I have a handful of goals, the top one being to attempt to land an agent. Ideally, I’d like to have signed by this time last year. Sooner would be awesome. The feedback on my novel so far has been encouraging, so I’m hopeful my final edits put just the right touch on it to entice an agent to offer me representation.

I’m also hoping to expand things here at Word Wanderings. Tell me what you’d like to see more of. Personal items? Certain aspects of writing? Guest bloggers? I’m finding that I enjoy sharing certain aspects of my life with everyone, though I don’t want this blog to become a mundane repository on how my son’s weight is coming along or whether my daughter is finally potty trained.

I think I may be trying my hand at freelancing in 2011 as well. Every time I read an article on freelancing in The Writer or Writer’s Digest, I find myself thinking, “why am I not doing this? It sounds perfect for me! I could so do freelancing!” I’ve been batting around some ideas for stories, including some opinion pieces. (I do have lots of opinions. A lot. I mean seriously. My name is Liberty. Shouldn’t I have opinions–and lots of them?)

So, that’s the plan for the next 363 days or so. And, I’ll be using this clip to prod me into following through:

So, how about you? What are your goals for this year, writing or otherwise? Tell me. And, share what changes or improvements you’d like to see over the next year here at W.W.

Until next time,