Ruby WWF


I can’t say this weekend has been perfect, but it’s close. Even though I was busy with the day job, I had a chance to get inspired again.

Last week was an “off week” for writing. I just wasn’t feeling it — not writing new words or editing already written ones … not any of it. I think I earned all of one point in the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival. I used the excuse of “decluttering” my bedroom to avoid feeling guilty for this lapse.

But this weekend, my drive was renewed. Thank goodness for that! I only have one uncluttered surface in my bedroom — dresser No. 2.

The creative juices started seeping back on Saturday, while I perused the latest issue of RWR as I stood in a slow-moving line at Chipotle (the first time I’ve seen the line move that slowly there). Then I attended a book-signing for one of my NARWA sisters. Glynna Kaye‘s new Love Inspired release, “Second Chance Courtship,” is new this month, and she had a signing in Flagstaff.

Home from work on Saturday night, I opened my WIP file for the first time in about a week. I read back through a few pages … but still found myself stuck. Those juices weren’t quite flowing yet.

Lucky for me, I still had plenty of other things to do when I met with our chapter president, Anne Marie Becker, Sunday morning for a write-in at Starbucks. We chatted a little, about NARWA business and “Only Fear,” the book she has coming out in September through Carina Press. Then we settled down to work — her on suggested edits from her editor, me on self-editing my NaNo story, “My Fair Fiancee.”

Juices running at full force by then, I also read through another of the GH entries I was sent to judge (just one more to go!) and reviewed my query letter for “Beauty and the Ballplayer,” the contest finalist.

Now, after I finish this blog post, I’ll transfer some of my Kenny & Kristi edits to the Word file. I was editing the old-fashioned way today … on the printed page.

Seems I catch more that way — especially when I go through each page with a highlighter to find all those pesky, unnecessary adverbs. Some pages had an embarrassing amount. I blame the NaNo mentality (more words, more, more, more!)

Of course, without that NaNo drive, I wouldn’t have another completed MS, now would I?

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In about 12 hours, I’ll be at my RWA chapter meeting. I’m definitely looking forward to it — all the more because I do not have to rush back to the office afterward.

That’s right: I have the whole weekend off. I fully intend to take advantage of it to spend lots of quality time with the Boyfriend (and hopefully sneak in a little writing/reading/editing time).

So far, the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing festival has been a great motivator. Today, I completed Goal 4 (I think): Reading an article in RWR.

My newest issue arrived earlier this week, and I was excited first to check out the revamped layout. (As a page designer, I’m more interested in that sort of thing than some.) The changes are subtle, for sure. I guess I was expecting differences a little more drastic.

Monday, I wrote nearly 1,000 words. Yes, I’m aware that’s a lot more than my 200-word goal. Tuesday, I printed out a copy of my NaNo novel for editing (and gave myself a point for it. Can’t do any editing on it if it’s not printed out, right?)

Wednesday, while the Boyfriend was playing tennis, I sat in one of my favorite Starbucks and read through the entire thing. I got caught up in the story at times, so there were pages without any editing marks.That’s what subsequent passes are for. 😉

On Thursday, I did some more writing on the WIP and got “Beauty and the Ballplayer” ready to edit. I also found this great article at Write It Sideways, about filter words that can weaken your fiction. I figured they’d be good to keep in mind when I’m editing.

Like I said, it’s been a productive week. I can’t wait to have another one!

Strange coincidences seem to be following me everywhere. In November, on the day I shipped off my GH entries, I got the call about finaling in the Beacon contest.

Today, as I left the house for a write-in at Starbucks, I thought to myself, “I wonder why I haven’t received any GH entries to judge. Maybe they decided they didn’t want me as a judge.”

When I returned home this afternoon, there was a UPS box waiting on the deck, addressed to me. Inside were … you guessed it: A stack of entries ready for my judging pleasure.

Kinda strange, right? It makes me wonder if there’s something to all that “Law of Attraction” and “The Secret” hype. Maybe if I start thinking positively that I will final in the GH, I’ll need the week of vacation I’ve requested to go to Nationals.

On another note, it’s only Day One of the WWF and I’ve already earned two points. I killed my 200-word goal at Starbucks, completing 1,066 new words — and I earned a bonus point just for visiting the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood site to declare my goals.

If I continue to write at this pace, I’ll have to up my goal to at least 400 words a day …

Talk of goal altering reminds me: I have some to add to my list.

— Read at least one of the GH entries I’m supposed to judge (after I peruse the judge’s instructions, of course)

— Pay my RWA dues. Got my notice yesterday. The drop-dead deadline is Feb. 28.

Today kicks off the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival. I’m so there.

Come join me for the fun!

I haven’t tweaked my goals yet, but I’m stealing a page from Vivi Andrews, who commented that she reserved the right to reassess her goals come Feb. 1. I think that’s an excellent idea.

As many of you know, I’m proud to be a part of the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood’s Winter Writing Festival.

Sure, it hasn’t started yet. (The kickoff is Jan. 10.) And I just officially signed up here this evening. But I’m eagerly anticipating the kickoff — and I’ve been busy trying to craft a list of attainable goals that will still result in a big payoff when the party’s over.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

— Write at least 200 words on Beth & Cody’s story OR

— Do intensive edit of at least 1 chapter of Meg & Matt or Kenny & Kristi OR

— Read one article in one of the many unread issues of RWR I have on file OR

— Write a blog post of at least 150 words for this blog, Love & Laughter. Posts for the weight loss blog don’t count.

There you have it — a list of simple and attainable goals that will still add up to big progress.

I may revisit this list again before Jan. 10 to tweak my options. But I think it’s a pretty complete just the way it is.

Any thoughts? What would you like to see me do?

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article for my RWA chapter newsletter about the Do’s and Don’ts of Setting Writing Goals. I thought I could use a refresher course before I craft some very attainable goals for the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival.

So how does one do it? How do you keep going through writer’s block, the day job, life’s little interruptions? (Most of the content below is excerpted from the Nov./Dec. issue of NARWA’s newsletter, High Country Highlights.)

If there’s a key, it lies in simply setting the goal. You won’t get started until you have somewhere you want to go.

These goal-setting guidelines were originally set out in a “Do’s and Don’ts” list by the folks at Spark People, but they can be applied to writing just as easily as weight loss:

• Do create a plan. Don’t wait for “someday” to roll around.

Before I started to treat writing like my day job so it will become my day job, I had tons of story starts that I thought about working on but didn’t. I figured I’d get around to it “someday” — when I wasn’t busy with other things.

Well, believe me when I say “someday” never comes. If you don’t make writing a priority, you won’t get it done.

• Do start small. Don’t focus on too many things at once.

I’m struggling with this one right now. I have so many irons in the fire — writing about Beth and Cody in their island paradise, editing two Golden Heart entries and plotting my NaNo novel — that at the end of the day I haven’t done much of anything. I’ve probably written no more than 10,000 words in the last month. After cranking out 110,000 between January and July, that just seems pathetic.
This is as true now as it was back in October, when I wrote the article … though my projects have shifted. I’m no longer editing GH entries, I’m editing the NaNo novel — and still trying to get through the first draft of Beth & Cody’s tale. And I’m contemplating beginning the query process with “Beauty and the Ballplayer.”

• Do write it down. Don’t forget to give yourself a deadline.

“Deadlines turn wishes into goals,” the Spark People article said. Deadlines also give you something concrete to work toward. Just make sure it’s a deadline you can control. “I want to finish a 60,000-word novel in six months” is under your control; “I want to be published by the time I turn 40” is not.

• Do track your progress. Don’t fool yourself into failure.

I keep track of words written each day on an Excel spreadsheet. I also keep a list of agents I’ve queried and their responses.  My friend Mallory recently blogged about GoalForIt, an online goal tracking program.

I find the idea of GoalForIt intriguing, but it could prove to be too much of a   distraction for me. I can tell the days I spend more time playing online by the lower word count in my chart.

Why, oh why, can’t someone invent a program that beeps to remind you to get back to work every time you waste more than five minutes on Facebook or Twitter?

• Do find a support system. Don’t try to do it alone.

Yes, writing is a solitary pursuit. You can’t write by committee  — at least not well. You can, however, seek the company of like-minded people to keep you going when you feel like giving up. Attend your local RWA chapter’s meetings. Read and comment on your favorite writing blogs. Schedule a write-in at the local coffee house. Ask someone whose opinion you trust to read through your contest entry before you mail it off.

To wrap it all up: The secret to writing success is to make time to write. Set some small, achievable goals and start meeting them. With determination and a little support from your writer friends, your star will rise.

If I do say so myself, that’s some pretty fantastic advice. Now, I just need to practice what I preached.

The gals at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood have just announced the details of their new Winter Writing Festival and I can’t wait to dive in.

The gist: You set the goals that will work for you and check in with the Rubies once a week to let them know how you’re doing. You earn 1 point a day for meeting your personal goal, and anyone who earns 50 points during the festival is a winner.

The challenge starts on Jan. 10. Now all I need to do is craft some goals.

Get more details here.