I’ve decided to try something new here this year, as a way to plot my progress. At the end of each month I’m going to try to sum up what I’ve accomplished in the month, kind of like a NaNoWriMo, but instead of tearing through fifty thousand words with reckless abandon, only to decide that wasn’t such a good idea at the end of the month, I will try to make the equivalent of a word counter for all my writing related activities.
Ah, first draft, wouldn’t I just love to do another one of those…but I digress. So here they are, accomplishments for January:
- Lesson Eighteen of the How to Revise Your Novel Course is now behind me. My progress in that course has been positively glacial, and assuredly not for lack of effort on my part. The results so far have been worth it, but still, each lesson crossed off is a milestone for me.
- I put up the first chapter of ‘The Tempest’s Serenade’ for critique at Critique Circle. That was hard for me. I couldn’t sleep the whole night before it went up, firmly convinced that I was making the biggest mistake of my life. No need to tell me, I know—it doesn’t make sense, but I have to be honest about my feelings if I’m to be a writer, and that is what I felt. Some of the critiques I got, by the way, nearly knocked me off my chair. I learned a lot from this experience and am eager to continue putting chapters up.
- This is a less quantifiable achievement, but feels every bit as important to me. I finally filled in some holes in my revision that I had serious doubts I would ever get right. Well, I got them so right it astounded even me. I discovered, in a nutshell, why this book is so important to me and why I am writing it now. The book is about my present, older, self talking to my younger self, trying to figure out whether I’ve made the right choices in my life. There are other implications as well, our present state of affairs in the US of A, versus what came before, but since I’m not particularly interested in being preachy, I’ll let the story speak for me and leave that open to interpretation. Whew, didn’t mean to get heavy here, but my point is, lots of progress in meaning, theme and world building.
- I took a challenge at 750 words.com to see if I could write 750 words every single day this month, and, if I write my words tomorrow, I will win this little badge. Isn’t it cute?
- Speaking of writing every day, I posted three and sometimes four times a week at the Write A Book With Me blog, where I post my progress on my revision. That has been one of my biggest challenges. Hitting that publish button and knowing that my words are going out to twenty-odd followers (don’t laugh, please, those seem like a lot of followers for me!) is one of the scariest and exciting writing challenges I’ve conquered this year.
- And, finally, I got up the nerve to take a look at my NaNo from 2011, Dragon’s Milk-Crown of Thorns, because I was firmly convinced it was awful. (See above: Submitting chapter for critique) I discovered it’s not awful. It needs revision, but it’s not even close to awful, in fact, I couldn’t stop reading it. I think I’ve got the ‘write for yourself’ thing down, at least.
It might be a good idea to sum up what I’ve learned from each month’s achievements, and for this month, what I learned might be obvious from reading the above list.
I can’t do everything at once, so I need to start narrowing down my projects. Not quite sure how to do that right now, but it’s something to shoot for.
To those of you still reading, what were your achievements this month? What did you learn from them?
(Image courtesy of Cecile Graat @ stock.xchng)