A New Year, A New Blog – Let’s Get Serious!

After a most tumultuous year, I’m ready to get back to work on my writing in earnest. I have two manuscripts that need one good revision each, and then some beta reading and feedback, and one final polish before I’m ready to shove them out of the nest to watch them soar to the sky or crash and burn. I also have one other manuscript with some exciting interest that I need to finish. Pronto. This means making some changes to my daily routine to ensure I’m focused and productive.

Every. Single. Day.

 

My office bulletin board before changes…
…and after! Complete with goal-tracking calendar and shiny stickers! (This is an older picture; there are a lot more stickers on there, now. Trust me!)

 

 

Another thing I’ve done is reviewed my outside commitments. As I’ve taken on a much larger role with my local SCBWI group, (I’m now the Social Media Coordinator for SCBWI Oklahoma and co-host for the monthly #okscbwichat we hold on Twitter) I’ve decided to pull back from participating in the group blog The Great Noveling Adventure. I will miss TGNA tremendously, but this will allow me to spend more time completing my manuscripts, and prepping them for submission – my major goal for the year!

I’ve also revamped my vision for this blog and have planned out some exciting ideas for the coming year.

Here are some of the changes coming soon:

With a reading goal for the year of 80 books and a starting TBR pile of 50 books, I'll have plenty of books to read.
A preview of my current TBR pile numbering 50 books at present. I hope to read all of these before the end of the year…and then some!

I will continue to read, read, read, and to encourage you all to do the same.

I’m participating in a few reading challenges, and I will share my progress along the way – as well as any fantastic books I discover. As always, I hope you share any books you fall in love with, too.

I will also introduce a read-along book club to share some of my favorite reads this year. Nothing too stressful or demanding, but a bit more interactive. And an excuse to re-read some of my faves of all time. (And get others to read them!)

Speaking of interactive, I have a strong desire to practice writing short stories. I know it’s an area that can help me expand my writing skills. (We should never stop learning or expanding or skills, right?)

To encourage others to write, write, write, along with me I’ll be introducing a monthly flash fiction writing prompt that might even involve some prizes to add some excitement.

 

One Flash Fiction prompt could be using a picture like this and prompting you to tell a story about this boy...
One Flash Fiction prompt could be using a picture like this and prompting you to tell a story about this boy…

 

I’ll still include the popular book reviews and craft posts and the odd personal story or interview from time to time to keep things lively.

One more new addition will be a monthly #TBT (ThrowBack Thursday) post where I will share some of my favorites that I originally posted over on the TGNA blog.

I hope you enjoy the changes, and join in the some of the more interactive activities.

Should be fun!

Here’s to a productive new year to all!

-Valerie

 

 

 

September #writemotivation Goal Check

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August was insane on the personal front, so I skipped sharing goals. This month, things cranked up from lazy summer, everyone’s-on-vacation speed to back-to-work warp speed so fast, I’ve just held on to the emergency brake in case the wheels fall off altogether. Finally caught up (for the most part) I’ve had a (very brief) moment to reflect on my goal progress.

Frankly, I’m amazed I even made goals for this month in the first place. Woohoo! Let’s celebrate that!

Here are my goals for September:

1. Make significant progress on current MS project. Progress made! Even in the midst of all the chaos and change, I’m making time every week day to work on this project. It helps that I’m getting up before the sun to host the AM #wordsprints on Twitter for TGNA. (Who needs sleep?)

2. Plan out September blog posts. Done! And actually working into October. Next week starts a whole series of posts that I’m really excited about. Can’t wait to share them with you.  

3. Prep for all upcoming interviews. In progress. And more than halfway done. Most remaining are for next month. I have so many interviews for the blogs coming up! I know you’re going to love them. 

4. Prep for all upcoming Twitter chats. Almost done! We have one final Twitter chat this month, and I only have a few tweaks to make. These are so much fun; they don’t really feel like work.  (And yet, there’s a lot of prep that goes into them.)

How’s your month coming along? Feel free to vent, celebrate, etc. No judgment zone here.

As always, if you missed the sign up this month (or aren’t quite ready to declare your goals publicly), you can still follow along with the hashtag #writemotivation on Twitter any time you need some encouragement. They are a fab group of supportive people.

Have a productive week/month!

July #writemotivation Check in Week 2

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After a wonderful conversation with my best friend this week, (Thank you David!) I finally found myself in the right head space to get to work, and get to work I did!

Yes! Words were written, plots twisted, characters tortured! It felt fantastic. I’m so happy to have cleared away the life clutter. Now, I’m able to focus on what I truly love to do.

Here are my goals for July:

1. Work on requested project until completed! Progress made! Research done for the moment and new words written for the week. YAY, new words! I have critique group this evening, so I’ll get some feedback on earlier chapters – always helpful.

2. Plan out blog posts for month and publish weekly. Done!

3. Read & review at least two books this month – catch up on TBR Challenge. In progress. I’m a little behind on my reading, but I hope to catch up and post my first review early next week.

How’s your month coming along? Feel free to vent, celebrate, etc. No judgment zone here.

As always, if you missed the sign up this month (or aren’t quite ready to declare your goals publicly), you can still follow along with the hashtag #writemotivation on Twitter any time you need some encouragement. They are a fab group of supportive people.

Have a productive week!

July #writemotivation Check In Week 1

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Another month, another chance to work on those writing goals and cheer on my fellow participants of #writemotivation. If you missed the sign up, you can still follow along with the hashtag on Twitter any time you need some encouragement.

For me, I’ve cleared the decks of all distraction and I’m keeping it simple this month. Less stress, more focus.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Here are my goals for July:

1. Work on requested project until completed! Work in progress, full steam ahead. Yay, progress!

2. Plan out blog posts for month and publish weekly. Posts are planned out and on track.🙂saveyou_bg

3. Read & review at least two books this month – catch up on TBR Challenge. I’ve started my first TBR Challenge book of the month, I WILL SAVE YOU by Matt de la Peña. This is his self-proclaimed “sad book”, which should be quite different than MEXICAN WHITEBOY. I really enjoyed that book. So far, I’m hooked on this one, sadness and all. 

So how is your month progressing? Any goals for your writing?

June #writemotivation Check In Number 3

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This month was quite the mixed bag as far as goal progress has been concerned.

To be honest, life has been throwing me some wicked curveballs lately, which has made just getting out of bed and taking a shower a major accomplishment. After another challenging week, I think I’m finally over the worst of it.

(* fingers crossed* and recognizing I’m totally tempting the fates by saying that.)

Here are my June goals:

1. Make word count goal of 2000 words five days each week. Nope. Total failure.

2. Complete requested project by the end of the month. Same. Not completed. Moving this to top priority – basically living, breathing this project – for next month.

3. Plan blog posts for the month and post weekly. COMPLETED! YAY! 

4. Read & review at least two books. Read total of seven books, and reviewed one. Overachieved on first part and I get partial credit on the other.

Overall, a very wobbly start, but at least it was a start. I know I’ll do better next month, and I’m already planning out how.

How about you? Do you need help sticking to your goals?

If so, why not join us? Sign up for July #writemotivation is open now! Click here if you’d like to join in.

June #writemotivation Check In Number 2

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I missed checking in last week.

It was a tough one.

I decided to put my focus where it was needed the most and my kids won. They will always win. Without going into the gory, emotional details, let’s just say we are all the better for the detour, and move on to this week.

Here are my June goals:

1. Make word count goal of 2000 words five days each week. Needless to say, I am behind on my word count goal. I do plan to catch up as fast as I can. I hope I can do that this week.

2. Complete requested project by the end of the month. I revisited the area that inspired this project over the weekend and really got some great ideas. So excited about this book! While I do hope to finish soon, it may take a little longer than I planned. I will write as long as it takes to get this done well.

3. Plan blog posts for the month and post weekly. Posts are going well for both sites – better than I expected.

4. Read & review at least two books. First review already posted for SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater! I’ve read five books so far this month – GOAL HALF ACCOMPLISHED. Maybe I can post another review before the end of the month. Maybe.

How about you? How are you doing with your goals?

The Return of #writemotivation – Thank God! (Someone Hold Me Accountable!)

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After almost a year on hiatus, #WriteMotivation returns!

If you need help sticking to your goals or need some encouragement when all seems bleak, this is a fantastic group of people to help cheer you on and help you reach those goals.

The rules are simple:

1. Make a list of realistic goals for the month – and achieve them.
2. Make a Blog Post every week (preferably Wednesdays, but if you don’t post on Wednesdays just add it to the next day you would normally post ). This is to help us keep tabs on our own progress, and for others to cheer us on if it’s a difficult week. Please link to the post in the #writemotivation hashtag
3. Visit your #writemotivation team mates blogs, and participate in the #writemotivation hashtag to cheer people on.

Sign up for this month will go through the end of the week. You can fill out the form to join in here.

I have a major project to complete by the end of this month, so this is perfect timing for me. This one is going to take so much focus for me to stay the course. I need my #writemotivation gang to help me through this!

Here are my June goals:

1. Make word count goal of 2000 words five days each week. That’s the minimum. It wouldn’t hurt to go a bit higher.

2. Completed requested project by the end of the month. Very excited about this project! 

3. Plan blog posts for the month and post weekly. I have been less than consistent over the past couple of months, what with the youngling graduating high school and other major life changes coming into play. Time to regroup and refocus.

4. Read & review at least two books. Have one books already finished and ready to review. This may be the easiest goal to complete.🙂

So how about you? What are your goals for the summer? For June? Want to join in #WriteMotivation?