We did our quarterly writing goals at the Cat Vacuuming Society (a Northern VA critique group) this last week — always a hard task. I’m always wondering what other people will think because my goals and reasoning sometimes doesn’t follow with the crowd. For “homework,” we had to come up with three writing goals/habits, though I also added promotion habits:
- Add more structure. This results from researching my “Basic Training on Military Culture” class for Forward Motion. The military is very structured because war is chaos. My writing tends to be chaos, so I need to find ways to impose structure (and just to clarify, I’m not referring to structure within the story).
- Listen to myself. Another habit that I really need to pay attention to more than I have been. Right now I’m embracing humor back into my book. It’s one of the things I wanted to do with the omniscient viewpoint. But after I got comments back from the agent that the voice was too strong, I took out all the humor. When I attended a workshop with Allen Wold at Marscon, it crept in again, and the panelists there said, “No, don’t put the humor in the narrative.” So I’ve been steering away from what I wanted to do because everyone else says to. Then I read this article from Rebecca LuElla Miller and it reminded me that I needed to listen to myself.
- Make an effort not to underdo things when I write. If you tell me to dribble in backstory and not do backstory dumps, I will end up with none at all in the story.
- Do one blog post per week that’s more opinionated. I’ve tended to back down on things where I do have an opinion and it doesn’t go along with the rest of the crowd. It’s really kind of scary to be the only one saying, “Wait a minute, this is not right” and sticking to it, even people disagree. So I’m making an effort to not back off. My post on Unleaded, Writers Block is Not a Figment of Your Imagination is an example of my branching off into that area.
- Make sure I put something out about me in my blog, like promoting my upcoming class or the article that’s coming out in Vision in October. Half the time I forget, so I have to make extra effort.
- Leave flyers and/or Moo cards at science fiction cons that I attend.
This is a flyer I made up for the con I’m going to in October:
Quarterly goals sound really nice because it is such a short term. If I try to set them for a year or five years, I end up falling off the goal wagon very fast. What are your goals for the next quarter? Share them below.
And meanwhile, some real cat vacuuming for your viewing pleasure: