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Mid 2017 Goals Check-in: Where are we now?

19 Jun

So in January I outlined some pretty clear goals for the year. And the one thing I’m good at is looking at my goals ;). I figured its about time to check in on how far I’ve come this year.

Before I do that though I will say that I think the thing I need to do with my goals next year is to make them a little smarter and to dig a little deeper. I haven’t by any means finished all of my goals but I think I need to spend sometime getting underneath what I’m trying to achieve. So yes I want to get words down or words related to a project but why? What’s that for? What is that trying to serve? In other words I think I need to think about what my writing career goals are so that I can be in alignment on all my little goals rolling up to that and really serving that.

  1. Finish my re-write of Lycanthropy and dig in on editing the manuscript. I’m not where near done on this one and honestly unlikely to be finished. I decided to trunk this book. I was mid-rewrite and wondering where I was going. Considering that was my third re-write it was not a good sign. So I decided to give this one a rest and keep writing other things. Maybe as I improve my writing skills I’ll be able to come back and improve it but I’m also equally open to the idea that that was my first book and it will never get where it needs to be. That happens and it’s ok.
  2. Rewrite and Edit Through Time and Space. I still haven’t picked this one back up. Honestly I don’t think about it much. I should give it a look and see if there is anything there I think is worth salvaging. But there is definite lack of enthusiasm here.
  3. Write and submit three short stories. So far this year I have written (to completion) four short stories. I’ve also done a re-write of the Novella I worked on last year. I submitted one story so far and was rejected but have gotten some good feedback and will make some edits and send it out again. I’m still writing but I haven’t written anything I think it good enough to send off. I haven’t been doing the weekday novel, weekend short stories thing that I thought I would at the beginning of the year. When momentum was pushing me forward it made sense to keep that momentum going. I think the thing I need to do is read more short stories. I think that will help me to really figure out how to boil a story to it’s essence and keep it short.
  4. Participate in more local writing events. This year I took a class at Left Margin Lit which was an interesting experience. The class was interesting but some of the things said made biases clear. I also went to Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley. That was a good experience. Not all of the panels I attended were worth it (at least two were awful) but I did think a couple of them were worth it. To some degree doing this is about building my people skills, talking with other attendees and hopefully eventually talking to authors. If I think about it as an effort to do that then it was a good first step. I still plan to attend Litquake and I’m thinking about trying to Volunteer at least a little bit but I’m not sure :).
  5. Write a new novel. I did this one! Mark it as done :). For years a family of demon hunters has been swirling around my head trying to find purchase in the written word. The Harkeman’s are Buffy meets August: Osage County. I outlined this one quite a bit before I started writing and I think that helped a ton. It’s not exactly faithful to that outline but I think that helped a lot. Next step for this MS is to read it once without much critique (simple does this make sense as a story). Then to read it and outline it for whether each scene is about what each character wants. Then to read it for plot holes and continuity errors. I haven’t thought about about how I’m going to accomplish that goal yet but maybe I’ll try cutting my writing goal to 500 words in July or August and focus on the editing part of this project. Truly editing and thinking about it systematically is another thing on my list of things to learn. I’m not an amazing writer but if I an become an amazing editor and make my drafts way better than it won’t matter as much.
  6. Apply to at least one writing workshop, retreat or class. Mission accomplished. I applied and was rejected from Vona and Lambda Literary. I also took a class at Left Margin Lit. I’m thinking about taking another class but not sure what that would be.
  7. Be a part of the literary community consistently. I am… doing this. I have been beta-ing for folks and joined a critique group. I need to get better about building relationships (which to be honest is just my life) I tend to make friends by doing a lot for others and asking for nothing in return which just isn’t right. I’m working on it though. In a dream world I would find a couple of people I would feel comfortable consistently sharing my work with and getting critique from. I’m not sure if that will work for me but I do want to try.

So that’s where I am so far this year. Where are you at with your goals?

2017 Writing Goals

14 Jan

So here it is. Fresh start. Let’s pretend for just a minute that we meet here regularly and that I share and you appreciate this sharing. Are you with me? Good.

I wrote up some writing goals for myself for this year. Mostly because I truly believe that goal setting is important but also because I’m just used to doing it. So here they are in no particular order, my 2017 writing goals.

  1. Finish my re-write of Lycanthropy and dig in on editing the manuscript. Last year I wrote two novels (!!) one of them being Lycanthropy. It’s been a great exercise in writing and plotting and I’d like to try to make it good enough to send out for querying. That may not happen (because though I love Lycanthropy it changes literally every time I work on it).
  2. Rewrite and Edit Through Time and Space. TT&S is the second novel I wrote last year. I REALLY like it (though I haven’t picked it up since I wrote it). When I finish this current Lycanthropy re-write I’d like to go back and edit/re-write this manuscript. AGain with the end goal being to use it for querying.
  3. Write and submit three short stories. My intention this year is to write my main MS on the week days and then write short stories over the weekends. This allows me some space from my novels to think and re-group and lets me play  a little in the short fiction realm. Clearly that means I’ll write more than three stories this year but I’d like to write three stories that I feel are strong enough to submit and do so.
  4. Participate in more local writing events. For me the major one is LitQuake.
  5. Write a new novel.
  6. Apply to at least one writing workshop, retreat or class. Possible:
    1. Voices at VONA
    2. Clarion West
    3. Viable Paradise
    4. Lambda Literary
  7. Be a part of the literary community consistently. What does this mean? Going to readings, beta reading for other writers, talking (harder than you think) to other writers and generally growing in my community.

 

Is that a lot of goals? I can’t tell. Anyways, that’s what I have going on. What about you?

I don’t write poems any more but I wrote this one for you

26 Sep

I am sick[1] of people dying

Not just grandma’s and grandpa’s past their prime

But Uncles and fathers who

Look like “bad dudes” from

Far away

A sort of brutal Monet

So much fear from far away

So old it has been in the Americas as long as we[2] have

How many times have I stood in

Neutrality because my God said so

While someone died

For reading

The old habits are not dead

Only rewritten as law

As blue blood over brown skin

I worry for my children[3]

Who have yet to be born

[1] I am a black woman I cannot get sick

[2] A misnomer because we didn’t want to be here and we stole the land from those who were here

[3] Brown children are not children but thugs and lawless animals

Another one bites the dust!

10 Apr

Just finished my rewrite :). Super excited but ready to get back to work.

 

Also today is the Nicholl fellowship regular deadline.

Finished!

6 Apr

I finished a script guys.

That’s the second script of the year!

To celebrate I bought myself two Patricia Briggs novels(Blood Bound & Iron Kissed) since I’m trying to build up my collection of books I’ve read and liked.

Next steps are to finish this rewrite and then start working on the rewrite of the script before this one. 🙂

What have you been working on? What are you feeling accomplished about right now? Share!

March Summary

3 Apr
  • Read 1 Script
  • Rewrite in process
  • New Script in process
  • 1 writers group meeting

February Summary

2 Mar
  • Rewrite in process
  • Read 3 scripts
  • 1 Successful Writers group meeting

Fearless

4 Feb

Everywhere I turn the world is trying to tell me to get out of my shell and do something. Evidence as follows:

  • I went on a work retreat recently where one of the quotes I walked away with this quote: “Opportunities multiply as they are seized”–Sun Tzu
  • I just started listening to this awesome podcast Hilliard Guess’s The Screenwriting Rant Room (please check them out they are so cool) and I recently listened to their “Being Fearless Episode” (it’s from Dec. 14th 2014). You can tell from the title of the Episode what they were telling me.

So I decided to go out and do something. I submitted to the OutFest Screenwriting Lab.

 

Let me tell you that this was the hardest thing I have done in a while. I found out about the late deadline last Monday afternoon and the deadline was Saturday the 31st. Needless to say I was on an emotional roller coaster trying to get the thing done and not talk myself out of submitting all together. I realized a few things.

 

My people are the literal best: I sent a few of my friends (writers and not) two writing samples on Tuesday afternoon and I begged for feedback about which one I should submit. Not only did they respond and give me a recommendation on which one I should submit but lots of folks gave me feedback about ways to improve the submissions. I love you guys. You’re amazing and I’m so lucky to have people that I don’t connect with everyday who will lovingly read my stuff and give me feedback.

 

I don’t have enough faith in myself: My people are the best because they gave me so much love and encouragement but the truth is I should have been giving myself that love. I had no faith in my words and as a person who wants to take her writing to another level this year that isn’t ok. How many opportunities have I missed/will I miss because I don’t have enough faith in myself? If I don’t have faith why should anyone else?

 

I still have room to grow but I never will if I never let go. I have a very bad habit of editing myself into a corner. Why is that? Because instead of doing two or three edit rounds and then handing the work to someone else I hold it close. I don’t want anyone to see my imperfect work. The problem with that of course is that work is never perfect. It simply never is. It doesn’t get perfect. Nothing is perfect. This is a lesson I have a hard time learning but it is one of the most important ones. Sometimes you have to let go to learn and grow and get better and closer to “perfect” . Sad but true 🙂

 

If you pay attention you don’t have to rush. If I had been paying attention to my calendar and really doing a good job of looking for opportunities and keeping track of them I wouldn’t have had to rush to get this done and I could have avoided a lot of stress. I have to make the time to look for the things I want/need to do to allow myself the opportunity to be fearless.

 

Ultimately I submitted and that’s the best outcome there possibly can be.

 

But now I do have to rewrite my WHOLE Gales script because I realized the drama was some place I hadn’t yet explored. Mixed feelings on that one 🙂

 

Are you fearless when it comes to your goals, writing otherwise? What would happen if you got crazy and did something that scares you in a short time line?

January 2015 Summary

2 Feb
  • Finished 1 Script
  • Wrote 750 Words Everyday
  • Submitted to the Outfest Screenwriting Lab

Finished my Screenplay!

26 Jan

Thought I would share the good news. My current logline and title below. Thoughts welcome.

Until We’re Gone is the story of a family of demon hunters who have to learn to forgive each other in order to save the world from the Devil.