Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reaching into the future

2010. What will it bring? Many things none of us can predict or control, but there are others we can influence.
I'm wary of New Year's resolutions or wishes, because they can undermine confidence if we set them vaguely or too far out of reach or dependent on someone else. Scottish author Nicola Morgan wrote a smart post on this.
So I've decided to set goals that I could achieve if I work at it. One of my favorite quotes comes from Thomas Edison: "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
I've printed my plan and will hang it near my desk. Under a big, fancy font reading Goals 2010, I've written these items:
Write at least 1,000 words a day on Sea Daughters. Write at least half of those words before blogging, reading email or other business.
Start revising as soon as it is complete, which should be end of January or beginning of February. Use cool tips from other writers to ease this process, such as Laurie Halse Anderson's fun advice to chart the scenes on huge artist paper, using colored pens to make notes on emotional arcs and plot elements.
By March, write short and long pitches and a query letter. Put letter on Public Query Slushpile, or if I'm feeling insanely confident chum it to the Query Shark.
Research agents for best fit and start sending queries in spring.
Now that I've shouted this plan out to the world I'm more likely to stick to it. I think that's why NaNoWriMo worked for me. I said I would, so I did. Then when it was over I let other things distract me from finishing. I'm putting my overalls back on. How about you?
P.S. Almost forgot!!! A big thank you to Wendy Prior at On Words and Upwards for the Kreativ Blogger Award. As I have been honored with it before, I shall add her name in the sidebar of awards. If you aren't already, you must read her blog. She is so talented and funny.


Shannon O'Donnell said...

That quote by Edison is one of my favorites. I use it as a writing prompt each semester with my composition students.

Those sound like solid resolutions, Tricia. I wish you a year full of productivity, happiness, health, and resolutions come true - Happy New Year!

Liza said...

Love the Edison Quote...think I'm going to paste it up somewhere. "Publishing" your goals takes daring. I agree with you, it makes it more likely to accomplish them...which is why I'm keeping mine under wraps...until I'm sure! Congrats Tricia! So glad that we met through the blogosphere! Happy New Year.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shannon: My daughter turned me on to that quote and I've become quite attached to it. Nice that you share it with students. Best to you in 2010.

Liza: Glad you like it that much! Yes, it is daring, but I need to put myself out there sometime. ;) May your New Year be good to you.

Laura Canon said...

I'm not going to go put my head under the covers. I'm not going to go put my head under the covers. I'm not going to go put my head under the covers...
Seriously, you're an inspiration.

Jade said...

I like that you're letting us hold you accountable for all your goals.

Good luck with 2010. Here's to us all scoring agents.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Laura! Come out, come out, wherever you are! Seriously, the water's fine.

Jade: Uh-oh. No backing out now...;)
Indeed. Twenty-ten. It has a nice balance to it. Got to be a good year.

Melissa Hurst said...

I need to come up with a concrete list of goals like this. Otherwise I'll just say "finish the WIP" and leave it at that.

Have a wonderful New Year!

Yvonne Osborne said...

Love the quote. It bears repeat.

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."

I'm going to print that one out for my Dad, someone who actually still wears overalls!

When you're ready to forge your query letter don't forget the resources over at Agent Query. It's a great site.

A happy Blue Moon to you, and I'm ready to read Sea Daughters.

Looking forward to the No Kiss Blogfest.

storyqueen said...

Dang! You are brave!!! the Public Query Slushpile!! (or...Queryshark?? are you mad? mad, I say??)

Actually, you're going to blow them away with your query, I am sure! I haven't yet set my goals for the year. January 6th maybe.....

Happy New Year, my friend!


MG Higgins said...

I have absolutely no doubt that you'll reach all of your goals, Tricia. Have fun while you're in the midst of them!

Bish Denham said...

You go girl! As for me, I will begin the process of reading/revising my NaNo novel tomorrow. I let it rest for the whole month of December (feels like years.) I also will be on the hunt to find homes for some of my other work.

Cheers to you!

Robyn Campbell said...

Um, hmmm, um, did you change the way your comment form pops up? Cause I thought I was at the wrong blog.

Anyway that Edison quote is one of my MOST fav quotes evah!

And I think I shall print my plan. Which is, GET A SUPER COOL AGENT. And get another book (which I've already started) completely finished.

*shiver* Query shark. You are my hero.

And I'm so glad I know you! Happy New Year.

I will give Wendy a visit. :0)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Melissa: Yup. That's what I decided. Because if I just say finish, well that could take as long as forever.

Yvonne: So glad your dad will like the quote, too. :) And a very happy Blue Moon and 2010 to you! See you at No-Kiss fest. (I'm really looking forward to it)

Shelley: Yes, sometimes I am indeed mad. Quite. So I'm either brave or foolhardy. Happy NY's eve!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Mel: I need to remind myself to have fun. I can get pretty intense. So another goal for me--lighten up! Have a happy!

Bish: I'm so curious about that NaNo book you were working on. Can't wait to see what you do with it. Enjoy the blue moon!

Robyn: yup, I had to change it and see if this works better. I was getting errors and having to re-post comments, and I have no idea if any visitors had trouble or lost their comments, so I decided to try this format. I like the other better, but it's not much good if it's wonky.
Have a great New Year and maybe secret agent is lurking out there for you!

Unknown said...

I love that Edison quote. Love it! Thank you for sharing! Happy New Year and good luck on your goals! With your awesome attitude, I have no doubt you'll accomplish all that and more.

Donna said...

Good goal setting. I look forward to reading of your progress. Will you have a chart like the NaNoWriMo-meter?

As for me, I'll follow Edison's example and slip out of my holiday finery and into my overalls for a four-hour-per-day writing schedule. I will have an ending to my WIP by Jan. 17 and a real second draft by Feb. 14.

I like the new comment box, Tricia. It's fast and easy to read.

Happy New Year everyone!

cleemckenzie said...

OMG Goals. I haven't got any and you've got tons. May I borrow a few?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Nisa: Thanks for the encouraging words. I'm sure going to work on this. Happy New Year!

Donna: Wow, you have set solid dates. That's awesome. As for a word meter, I don't know. Maybe I will. Dang, that really makes me accountable.

Lee: Borrow, oh yes, I'd love to have company along this road. :D

Anonymous said...

Those sounds like great goals--I like picking ones that are accomplishable if we work at it! Happy New Year!

* said...

That was a great post by Nicola Morgan. I like her SMART philosophy and added it to my New Year's resolution making this year (at least for my one, writerly goal).

Happy New year to you! And in 2010, may all of our writing dreams come true!

Susan R. Mills said...

Great goals! Here's to achieving them! Happy 2010.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Welcome Becky! I've got my sleeves rolled up ready to work. It's going to be a good year.

Terresa: I'm glad you visited Nicola's blog. She wrote another great one today. Yes, here's to 2010 and dreams made real.

Susan: Thanks. I'm willing to work for it. Happy 2010 to you, too!

VR Barkowski said...

Congratulations on making your 1000 word goal, Tricia. Fantastic! I've convinced myself 2010 doesn't really start till Monday. :)

Love the contemporary Helen and the mythic Apollo. I, too, was drawn in by the last line. You must pull this off the shelf! The mixture of fun and sensuality is fantastic, and I really want to know how Helen knows what she knows.