Monday, January 08, 2007

Tally me bananas...

I'm always late so it should surprise no one that I'm late getting around to blogging on my reflections of last year. I know I've promised an entry on resolutions and I plan on doing so. But first I wanted to look back before looking forward.

About a year ago The Boy and I came up with the Ten Year Plan. It's very simple: in ten years we wanted to be able to support ourselves with our writing. That would now be nine years away.

To accomplish this goal on my part I joined RWA again (I was a very active member for a year after graduating from college - writing and submitting 2 single title romances). I joined some chapters. I got back on the boards and tapped back into the writing community to figure out where everyone was, get the good info.

I think writing is like exercise - the more you do it, the more you want to do it. Coming up with ideas is the same way. When you're using your mind to conjure stories, they come flying at you from everywhere, but it takes time. So I spent time thinking about what I wanted to write. I started a YA vampire book (got 6,977 words in which is shocking since I only remembered scratching the surface). Then I started a romcom and got 12,738 words in. I was adrift - 2,545 on a memoir even!

I was happy that I'd started writing, but I desperately needed focus.

Then on April 6, 2006 everything changed. That evening I was wandering around, trying to figure out the Big Concept, the Plot, that Storyline that would get me published. I thought about what had sold recently, what was hot, and what only I could bring to the table. I came up with many ideas, one of them was Dead Bodies and Debutantes. I mentioned it to The Boy and he gave the go ahead (he was working very hard on getting me to focus, the poor guy!). Coincidentally, that night I won a contest on Agent Kristin Nelson's blog that earned me a free partial read.

Problem was: I had no partial. She agreed to give me up to a year to submit so I got to work. Then I participated in a pitch slam with Kristin Nelson in June and she specifically requested the partial to Dead Bodies and Debutantes. Then I went to RWA Nationals in Atlanta.

Me being me I took a loong time, got it where I wanted it, and got a form rejection. In the mean time I worked to finish Dead Bodies, started a YA series for NaNo and then halted everything to start on the New New Project (that I still don't have a title for).

And that's where I am. One year after the start of The Ten Year Plan. It may not seem like much, but I feel like I've come a very very long way. First of all, writing now permeates my life. I have writing friends, and am now part of a community of writers. I may have only submitted my partial to one agent, but I learned that I don't want to submit again until the work is completely finished. I learned that I need to do things in order.

I decided to tally up the number of words I've written this year in pursuit of my goals. Without calculating Dead Bodies, I've written 82,446 words. I'm estimating that Dead Bodies is worth about 89,255 because I used the same first few chapters but then started writing it over again.

So that brings my total words written in 2006 to around 171,701.

That's a damn good start, if you ask me. A good, solid first year. Next time I'll talk about what I want for this next year. Here's a hint: it includes focusing and finishing!


Anonymous said...

A very damn good start! And I'm talking quality, not quantity.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Man, I wish I'd written HALF of that last year. I'm really excited for you. You seem to be poised to kick butt this year. Good luck!

Sami said...

Wow. What a great idea, the 10 year plan. Thanks for this post.