Wicked Wednesday: Writing Goals for 2018

Wicked Wednesday!Well Wickeds, what are your writing goals for this new year? Are you using any new tools, or programs, to help? Let us know!

Jessie: I ordered the Plot Your work planner for 2018. I have loaded some projects into it and am pleased with the way it takes so many parts of the job into consideration. There is a lot to it and it can feel a bit daunting but for planner enthusiasts who are writers I would highly recommend giving it a look.

Liz: I ordered it too, Jessie! I’m diving in now. So actually using it is one of my goals…aside from that, I have three books to write and a non-contracted book that I’m desperately trying to revise and move forward with.

Sherry: Turning in three Sarah books in the last twelve months (okay one hasn’t been turned in yet but is due on February 1st) has kept me from writing much else. I started a light romance in June and it’s about halfway done. I’m looking forward to finishing it. I’m also writing a short story that’s due in June. Short stories are a huge challenge for me. And then my head is overflowing with ideas — everything from Sarah to new series ideas.

Edith: I have three and a half books to write from now until January, so my writing goal beyond finishing those on time is modest: write one new short story, my best yet. I’ve had a few glimmers of inspiration dancing around for a suspense novel, and if they make themselves more clear I’ll try to arrange some time for looking at that, too.

Barb: This year I want to write something really funny. Not only with the gentle humor that I hope readers find in the Maine Clambake Mysteries, but laugh-out-loud funny. I want to write a novel-length book in the third person. I want the eighth, as yet untitled, Maine Clambake Mystery to be the best book in the series to date. I’m daunted by each of these, but I think that’s good with goals.

Julie: Thanks to Jessie’s recommendation, I have the Plot Your Work Planner as well, and have been using it to do that, and to figure out how I am going to get it all done this year. I have two books on contract. I also have a suspense novel that is tapping on my brain. Like Barb, my goal is to stretch myself as a writer. Push to make these my best work, stretch to test new genres, and to dream about other goals. My other big writing goal is to give everything a chance to sit and marinate for a bit before I edit-that is a question of managing time.

Writer friends, what are your goals for 2018? Readers, work goals? Craft goals? Reading goals?

Wicked Wednesday: Business Goals for 2018

Wicked Wednesday!The Wickeds are working on their goals for the new year, and today we’re weighing in on goals for our author businesses. These may be different than writing goals, and could include new websites, podcasts, Pinterest or more!

Jessie: I will be starting work on another historical series. I am chomping at the bit to get going on it and I am already planning a research trip to D.C. very shortly in order to get a proposal written.

Edith: I wish my goal were to get more organized on my author record-keeping, especially in the financial area, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t meet it. I know my limits, and my 2018 and 2019 are already pretty overloaded, so I won’t even try.  I already accomplished the new web site last fall and I love it, but it’s a new platform, so I’ll set my business goal as getting more comfortable with the format and being able to easily post to the site myself (instead of paying my web designer to do it).

Liz: I’ve been taking some steps to approach my writing as more of a business, and this year I want to up my game even more. A website refresh is definitely on my list. My alter ego, Cate, needs some love, both on the website and marketing materials front, so that’s probably my first goal.

Sherry: I want to get out there and meet more people. I’m excited about a couple of upcoming trips this spring. And I need to finally get going on a newsletter something I’ve been reluctant to do. And my website could use a refresh too!

Barb: I’d like to make a financial investment in my writing career this year. I figure the most important thing I can buy myself is time, so I am investigating hiring a virtual assistant.

Julie: In 2019 there will be another JH name launched, and I want to spend this year prepping for that, and supporting Julianne Holmes and J.A. Hennrikus. I’d like to up my game regarding marketing, and connecting. Like Sherry, I may figure out a newsletter. (Do readers like newsletters?) I look forward to hearing how Barb’s virtual assistant works out as well. Very tempting.

Readers, do you have any business goals looming in this new year? Any skills you want to add to your toolbox?

Wicked Wednesday: Fun Goals for 2018

Wicked Wednesday!This month is a renewal month for many of us, so on Wednesdays we’re going to talk about goals of all sorts. Today the Wickeds weigh in on their fun goals for 2018!

Jessie: I am planning to start a podcast with one of my sons. It is an entirely new arena for me and I am really looking forward to it! We already have a theme, a name and some topics planned so I look forward to getting it underway before the year is out.

Edith: My goal is to spend regular time with my cherished young friends, Miss B and Mr. J. Because nothing is more fun than laughing with children (who, without asking my permission, are rapidly getting older, and threatening to get taller than me month by month).

Liz: I’m going to plan a trip this year – somewhere I want to go, when I feel like going. Usually I plan around other people, which often means my plans are edited or cancelled altogether. This year, I’m doing something for myself.

Julie: I am going to paint, with water colors. I have heretofore no known skills as a visual artist, but I have a niece who is very talented, and she’s inspiring me to try and develop my skills. I’ve realized over the years that many artistic or craft endeavors take practice, and that by quitting too soon I am short changing myself. Looking forward to exploring this side of myself.

Barb: Usually I do set goals in January, which is both the new year and my birthday month. But this year I have both a book and a novella due February 1–so I am going to kick the can down the road a little. 2017 was a busy year for me. I told at least half a dozen people, “Now that I’m in Maine, let’s get together for lunch (coffee, dinner, drinks, dessert).” I didn’t do it. Not a one. So this year, I am definitely doing that.

Sherry: My goal is much like Barb’s. I want to spend more time with friends going on adventures. My husband just took a class for his job that said laughter releases the same endorphins as running. So I plan on laughing a lot this year!

And you, dear readers, what is your fun goal for 2018?

Hen Scratchings

Jessie: In New Hampshire, surprised to see patches of dormant grass in the yard. 

You know those things about yourself that you wish were different? Some of them are easy enough to address, like hair color. Others, like a nail biting habit or or adding six inches in height are harder to change.

I don’t bite my nails and although I wouldn’t mind a few extra inches in height,  I have a nice collection of heels, so being short isn’t much of a problem either. Which leaves my handwriting.

In the third grade, like so many American children, I began to learn cursive. I had a teacher with achingly beautiful handwriting and I thought learning to write like her would be as easy as learning to read or to add and subtract. But as I began forming the letters on pulpy sheets of newsprint complete with dashed lines it soon became obvious that this was going to be a completely different experience.

Only a few weeks into the school year my family moved. My new school was in a different place with cursive lessons than the old one. Also, my teacher formed the letters a bit differently. I came to realise that handwritng was a far more subjective sort of thing than sounding out new words or memorizing multiplication tables. My own attempts to master the art were turing out poorly and as soon as students were encouraged to type work rather than to write by hand I did so.

Which brings me to the present. Despite the fact that I actually write on my computer, I always start my novels in a notebook. My ideas just seem to flow better at the early stages of a project that way. Over the years, I’ve come up with a sort of limping print that stutters and stumbles along the page, my thoughts running far ahead of my hand, leaving a trail of disaster in their wake. When I go back to consult my notes later I often have enormous difficulty reading them.

handwritinpracticesheetsSo, this year I’ve decided to change all that. I headed for YouTube and watched video after video of people sharing tips and techniques. I downloaded some practice sheets with lines that are set up with a right-leaning slant guides in addition to all the horizontal dashed lines. I bought a few decent pens with different sorts of inks and line widths. I assembled a variety of papers. Most importantly, I just started practicing. Every single day.

It’s only been a month but I’m starting to see results. I’m almost happy with my lowercase g and m. My b forms aren’t half bad and I am making peace with the letter f. I confess, I still wish c was not part of our alphabet. I haven’t even given thought to the uppercase. But, I find I am actually having fun with the process. It feels creative. It feels redemptive. It feels a bit like being a bright-eyed eight-year-old once again. It may be harder than changing my hair color but I think, in the end, it will be worth it.

Readers, do you like your handwriting? If so, do you have any tips for me? Is there something about yourself you’ve worked to change? Did you enjoy the process? 


Happy New Year: Goals for 2016

wicked happy new year! (1)Happy New Year!! As we ring in 2016, it’s time for the Wickeds to fess up to some writing goals for the new year!

Edith: My first goal is to thank all our lovely blog readers and commenters! We love having you pop in to share our world, our guests, and our celebrations, and hope you’ll keep coming around all year.

Now, for more mundane goals: Write Local Foods Mystery #5, Mulch Ado about Murder, Delivering the TruthCoverdue May 1. Finish polishing Country Store Mystery #3, When the Grits Hit the Fan, due March 1. Organize a big splash to release Delivering the Truth, Quaker Midwife Mystery #1, on April 8. Turn right around and celebrate the release of both Murder Most Fowl and Grilled for Murder on May 31. Write Quaker Midwife Mystery #3, and later do copyedits and proofs on #2, Breaking the Chain. Oh, and also write proposals, which will hopefully be accepted, for Local Foods numbers 6-8 and Country Store numbers 4-6. Fit in attending Malice Domestic, Bouchercon, and Crime Bake. And exercise. And a family vacation. And a summer garden. Yes, I’m already tired!

Liz: Echoing Edith in the thanking department! Also thanks to all our guest bloggers for jumping in and adding variety to our blog. We love you!

First up, I have to finish book 5 in the Pawsitively series, Custom-Baked Murder, by April 1. Then I’ll be deep in the editing process of Cat About Town book 1, as well as writing book 2. And of course, synopsis for book 6 in the Pawsitively series, and most of the writing on that. And I still have that other book I wanted to finish editing to start shopping around…
Going to work in a real vacation – a visit to Key West – in 2016, as well as the typical conferences. Plus the day job. Yikes.

Sherry: I want to write two really good books — book four (A Good Day to Buy) and book five (I Know What You Bid Last Summer) in the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series. I want to make each book better than the last. And I want to write two proposals for series that have been rolling around in my head.

Jessie: I will be revising the first book in my new Change of Fortune series and writing the next one. I also want to write one other book I have in mind. I need to develop a website for my new series and all the accompanying social media that supports it. And, of course, there will be blog posts here and at Killer Characters and Maine Crime Writers.

ClockandDaggerJulie: Writing/finishing Book #3 in the series (working title Chime and Punishment), and celebrating the release of Clock and Dagger in August. Like my friends, I will also spend some time noodling with some new ideas. I am also going to conferences–Sherry and I will be at Left Coast Crime, the Wickeds will be at Malice, Jessie, Sherry and I will be in LA this spring for a Sisters in Crime event, many of us will be at Bouchercon, and of course, there’s Crime Bake.

Barb: My year feels very front-end loaded. My Christmas novella Nogged Off is due to Kensington on January 15. Thankfully, it is mostly done. Just polishing left. Then, book 5 in the Maine Clambake series, Iced Under, is due April 15. On the personal side, my daughter Kate and fiance Luke will be married in The Wedding of the Century in Portland, Maine, in May. After that, I’ll be writing Maine Clambake #6, but honestly that feels very far away.

Readers? Happy New Year! From all of us to all of you, may your reading and writing year be a wonderful adventure in 2016. Now, tell us your goals, small and large, long-range and immediate!

JaNoWriStart — Week Two How Many Words Did You Write?

Last week we started Julie’s JanNoWriStart. Here’s the concept from Julie:

A while back, I wrote about #JanNoWriStart. It is a riff off the #NaNoWriMo, but without the firm “rules”. Here are the ones I am using. Adapt them as necessary:

  • Set a daily goal. If you are writing a first draft, make it a word count. If you are editing, make it a number of pages, or a time limit. It needs to work for you. The important thing is, make it achievable on a daily basis.
  • Keep moving forward. If you are on a first draft, just keep writing. If you are editing, and get stuck, make a note to yourself (fix this! research this!) and then move forward. #JanNoWriStart is about building both a habit and momentum.

wordcountMy goal is 500 words a day. “They” say you can form a new habit in 21 days, so we have 10 extra days to make sure it works. I am a plotter, so I have scenes outlined. Now just to get them written.

How many words did you write this week? Readers, be sure to add yours in the comments section!

Fireworks_in_San_Jose_California_2007_07_04_by_Ian_Kluft_img_9618Barb: Argh! I didn’t keep count exactly, but I know it was well over 1200+ a day. Thanks, Julie for the kickstart for the new year. It felt great to get back in the habit after the disruption of the holidays. This week will be more challenging because I’ll be at the Key West Literary Seminar Friday-Sunday, but I’ll do my best.

i-And-Streamers-At-A-PartyEdith: My goal is at least 1000 per day. I had a couple of low word-count days, but wrote every day, regardless. I made up for them, because I’m at 8046 new words for the week. I finished the first draft of FARMED AND DANGEROUS and started writing a brand new book. Yes, thanks, Julie, for the push!

fireworks-wallpapers-fireworks-the-free-winter-photoJessie: Julie, you’ve got us off to a great start in the new year! I’ve exceeded my word count each day this week except one. And even then I got some writing done so I am well pleased with my efforts. Thanks for thinking this up!

Sad-dog-faceSherry: Yep, I’m going to be that person. I didn’t write every day. I looked at it every day but some days I just sat there staring. I’ve written 1450 over the past two days and know owning up every week will keep me going. Julie this is such a great idea.

Gold-StarLiz: I love a challenge – although I get fixated on what I “should” be doing “more” of. With that in mind, I wrote every day this week, even if it wasn’t a knock-your-socks-off word count, and even managed to finish a draft of Tuffy’s story for the Rescue Me anthology due out later this year. I’m working on taking it one day at a time – and making sure writing is a part of each day.

celebration_salute2Julie: I have written every day, and forced myself to keep moving forward. I have written almost 5000 words this week. Hoping to add more this weekend.