Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Lookback & 2015 Goals


Here were last year's goals (and how I did):

1. Write two books: I'm a slow writer, so for me, that was pretty ambitious. I did write one book, and a short story, and got to 18K on my current MG WIP, which I'm hoping to finish in the 40-45K range. So I wrote one book, a short story, and got about halfway on another. Not too bad!

2. Read out of my comfort zone: I did a little, but not a lot. MG/YA's my thing, but I managed to read 19 books (out of 49) that were adult, ranging from historicals to romance to mystery. Which out of those 19 books, 6 were Marion Chesney re-reads, which aren't out of my comfort zone at all. I LOVE HER BOOKS!! I tried to read a non-fiction about dinosaurs (I love dinosaurs) but I only got a few pages in.

3. Focus less on social media: Not really. There were a few times I bowed out as I had things I needed to complete, but for the most part, I was as active as I always am. But honestly, the writing community is awesome, and I love building relationships through it.

4. Keep the house up more: So, so. My creative side works better when the things around me are orderly. But when you work full-time and then also parent, things pile up despite your best efforts. Thankfully I've organized things over the years to where a concentrated 10-15 mins of going through the house makes it where I can sit down to write at night without feeling twitchy!

5. Begin querying in Feb: I did! And I sent my last batch of queries in December. I decided to go by Writer's Digest's rule of thumb to send 100, even going over that a bit (106). Out of all that, my request rate thus far is: 7 fulls, 9 partials.

6. Stay positive: I will always believe that dreams do come true, but as for staying positive... some days are harder than others! My CPs had some moments of talking me off the ledge. =) When I started doubting myself, I'd give myself a few hours to be down (or a few days, depending on the circumstances-- like getting rejections for two fulls on the same day-- that one hurt!). And then I'd get optimistic and hopeful again and start dreaming about my one-day book launch party. Trust me, that baby is planned down to the T.

And now for 2015's goals!

1. Write two books.

Since I didn't hit this last year, we'll try for it again. *cracks knuckles*

2. Get an agent/publishing contract. 

So I know this is beyond my control, and we all know you shouldn't set those types of goals for yourself. But I can control how hard I work behind the scenes to lay the groundwork for either of those two things to happen. So this year I need to really focus on my work ethic. Is it more fun to surf the web and watch the latest book-to-movie adaptation? Sure. But that won't get me closer to my goal.

3. Relax about getting an agent/publishing contract.

I'm sure you're scratching your head about now. Here's the thing: I want the above ferociously. I'm sure most of you know exactly what I mean, as many of you do as well (go us!). Being a full-time writer is what I want out of life. And I don't have to be rich (ha, ha!). I would just love to eventually make enough to quit my day job. Which means I would also then be able to be a stay at home mom, which is another of my dreams.

You can imagine sometimes how much I'm despairing as I leave behind my writing, bundle up the kid, and lug the diaper bag out the door. I don't want to leave his care to someone else (though I have terrific baby-sitters). I want to do it. But it's not an option right now.

So here are these two desires mixing together and I feel like at times I'm just sitting still. I have all these wants and dreams-- so why can't I work faster? Why does it take so long for a draft to be written and revised? Why does my brain sometimes need two weeks to think on plot twists? Why aren't I writing right now? This very minute? What's wrong with me? Do I not really want it enough? Am I only paying lip service to my dreams? Is all this worry and anxiety and work for nothing? *stops for breath and to stuff a tootsie roll in my face*

Can you see why I need #3? I of course don't want to stop striving for #2, but I need to learn to cut myself some slack. All I can do is my best, while still enjoying life. My motto for 2015 should be: Work hard, but still have fun.

And lastly, but not least importantly...

3. Stay positive and believe dreams do come true!



Here's to everyone having a dream fulfilling & productive 2015! *raises diet vanilla coke and clinks glasses*

OH! And real quick before I go-- my favorite reads of 2014! How could I forget that? In no particular order, they were:

The Eighth Day by Dianne Salerni
The Screaming Staircase & The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud
Three Times Lucky & The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Grunge Gods and Graveyards by Kimberly G. Giarratano
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham

Such great books, that all made me smile, laugh, and/or cry. Read them, you won't be disappointed!

42 comments:

  1. Oh, squee! Thanks for the shout out and also for listing my book among such august company! It sounds like you've had a productive year, and I TOTALLY get goals # 2 and #3, considering that my goals for 2015 are similar: Sell another book and Stop worrying about selling another book. Yup. I totally get it.

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    1. I'll have my fingers crossed for you! And The Eighth Day IS august company. =) I can't wait until my little guy is old enough for me to shove books in his hands and be like 'Read this. Now!' TED's top of that someday pile!

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  2. Similar goal to me when it comes to book completion. I thought I'd be able to compete three books... What was I thinking? How long would you say it takes you to complete one book?

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    1. Optimistically, 6 months. Realistically, more like eight. And that's just the first writing of it, not to mention revisions and all. *le sigh!*

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  3. Great goals. #s 2 and 3 make sense to me: you have to verbalize goals to make them happen, I think, even when they're partially out of your control. But they ARE partially in your control, so you can't just sit back and wait. But it's important to relax and not worry about that last percentage that is more about timing than about you.
    Have a great 2015, Leandra!

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    1. Timing is such a huge contributor when it comes to getting that agent/book deal. Which is nice, but also a bit crazy-making! =) And thanks, you too!

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  4. I love the review of prior goals as well as the stating of new ones. And yes, #2 and #3 not only are okay together, but *go* together. We partially control whether we get an agent/publisher. And I do think we need goals that are partially out of our control. We reach higher than our grasp. We need a partner on the other end saying yes, too, but there's an awful lot we can do toward finding that partner. Happy New Year!

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    1. Totally agree, Marcia. And to you as well!

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  5. Hooray for goals! Getting all of those queries out is very impressive. I'm hoping to start querying at some point this year.

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    1. It was a bit exhausting, heh! I was so glad when I reached that 100 benchmark. And good for you, and best wishes!

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  6. Excellent goals! And I totally hear you on the first #3 :) Someday I'm going to figure out how to have a few more hours in the day so I can work on writing more...or just sleep enough! I hope you have an awesome 2015!!!

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    1. There are times that I would have more writing time after the kidlet goes to sleep, but as I'm rocking him(which I totally need to break at some point) I fall asleep like a brick wall just collapsed on me. And then I'm not good for writing, b/c all I want to do is crawl in bed. But now that it's winter, I'm thinking if I go outside for a few brisk minutes that it would turn the lights back on, ha! In theory it sounds good, but I'm not so sure about the reality of it... ;)

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  7. love your goals. I feel you hard on #2 and #3...my biggest goal is a book deal, which is completely and totally out of my hands (well not completely, I can control how much I write) but I tend to be INSANELY hard on myself. I need to relax and enjoy the writing process more. After all, it's all about the love of writing, isn't it? :) Great list, and I really hope 2015 is your year!

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    1. I can only imagine how hard it would be to be in your shoes, Beth. So close you can taste it! If it helps, I do think you're handling it better than I would. =) And I hope 2015 is yours as well!

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  8. I made the mistake last year of making a goal to "polish Damaged as much as I can." Guess what? It turns out I get better at writing every day, and it will NEVER be polished as much as I could... poorly worded goal. I checked it off anyway, though, because I felt like it had run its course. Good luck with your 2015 goals! Totally feel you on getting an agent/publishing contract. :) Just got my goals posted to my blog as well. :)

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    1. No writing goes to waste though! And me and you, maybe 2015 will be good to us together. Gotta keep those hopes going!

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  9. Thanks, girl for including GG&G in your list! It's an honor. It's my goal to write two books this year, but man, who knows how that will go.

    2015 will be your year. I can feel it.

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence! And here's to us buckling down and getting all the words written. =)

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  10. I know that you'll accomplish all that and more. Good luck this year!

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  11. Happy New Year! You did great with your goals for last year, and I'm crossing my fingers for your 2015 goals! Go get 'em!

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    1. Heh, thanks, Sioux! I think this year's going to be a good one for you. Your book will be coming out, right?

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  12. 16 requests is really great! Even if you didn't land an agent, that to me suggests that it's just a matter of time, for you.
    And i see you're reading Jackaby. Let me know when you're done with it, i'm trying to decide if i should get it (both to read for fun, and as a source for my critical thesis this semester)

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    1. Oh, thanks, I sure hope so! I really like Jackaby so far, I'll let you know what I think when I get to the end.

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  13. Looks like you did really well with 2014 goals - here's to 2015 :) x

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  14. Love the post, Leandra! "Is it more fun to surf the web and watch the latest book-to-movie adaptation? Sure. But that won't get me closer to my goal." I feel you on this one. I don't think it's just more fun, sometimes writing is a ton of fun, but writing is hard! Sitting and surfing mindlessly is much easier! Your attitude on wanting it and working hard, but also giving yourself is inspiring, and I plan to try and take your advice and do the same :)

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    1. Yes, writing is very hard. Sometimes it surprises me that something I love so much is so hard- but that's just the way it is. Best wishes to you w/this new year!

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  15. I think you did well on your 2014 goals, and your query number and request rate were very close to mine. I'm hoping one of your requests gets you an agent! Good luck with all your goals in 2015! :)

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  16. I'd be happy with your 2014 goals. You did very well. And I like your goals for this year. Staying positive is a must.

    I'm still finalizing my 2015 goals.

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    1. I can only imagine your goals are astronomical when it comes to books! =) But you do so well at fast drafting. I wish I could get better. Perhaps I should have made that a goal to...

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  17. Awesome goals - mine are similar though I don't think I'd be able to manage two books in one year :) I really should get better about cleaning though ...

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    1. I think I'm totally deluding myself on that one! =) And cleaning. It's just an never-ending cycle, isn't it? I would love a house-cleaning robot.

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  18. Good luck with all your goals, Leandra, and I think you did great on the ones for 2014!

    And, I say don't worry about the time it takes to write a story. Good writing and the creativity process can't be rushed. It takes the time it takes. My stories need time to simmer, too, so I totally get it. But, there are always other things you could be working on, maybe poetry, or nonfiction?

    And yeah, I get you on the cleaning so you don't get twitchy...lol. I'm lucky, my mom lives with us and she enjoys cleaning, so does a lot to help out, and I only work part-time out of the home, but still, my stories take the time they need. I'm just hoping the process gets quicker as I develop better routines.

    It's all a learning process I think. We are all different, and different things will work for different writers. In any event, I am wishing you a very magical 2015!!!! :)

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    1. Thanks, Gisele! It's good to know that writing takes time for other people as well. And a magical 2015 sounds wonderful!

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  19. great post leandra! all your goals seem realistic to me :) good luck this year!

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  20. That Grungey one is also on my list of Top 12 Reads of 2014.

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  21. Such a great post, Leandra! I think you did a fantastic job meeting your goals for 2014. And you do have to cut yourself some slack considering that you work, mother, and write! I really, really, really hope you get an agent and an awesome book deal so you can stay home with your little man. I can imagine how hard it is to leave him every day! Keeping my fingers crossed for you. And good luck with your 2015 goals!! :)

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    1. Thanks! And I do too. If I keep working at it, maybe someday! Here's to us both getting those agents/book deals.

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