Thursday, September 30, 2010

Meeting Writing / Editing / Life Goals

On September 1st I filled the whiteboard above my desk with a list of goals for the month.  So far, with the day still young and a couple more items to be completed, I have met 12 out of 20 goals and I know that I'll knock out at least two more before the stroke of midnight.

Were we having a two sided conversation instead of this rambling monologue, you might ask me why I set so many goals for September.  The simple answer is: Because I want to succeed.  At this juncture in my life, I am blessed to have no boss and no one to answer to aside from my own conscience and as with many things in life this blessing comes with a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, life is a breeze without the hassle of being micro-managed by someone who has little time for anything other than pestering me about projects past, present and future.  I don't use an alarm clock any more, can go run errands whenever the mood strikes and can spend as much of my day watching Judge Judy as I want.  There's no set hourly pay rate, and the sky is the figurative limit when it comes to my earning potential.

On the other hand, there isn't someone there to hassle me about projects past, present and future.  In fact, projects of the present could last months or years without anyone ever saying a word to me, and future projects could possibly never appear if I don't get up the gumption to look for them.  I could easily sleep through the day, spend my few waking hours wandering the aisles of Target and watch Judge Judy until my eyes bleed and never make a cent as a writer.

So, on the first of September I wrote out all the things that I'd really like to accomplish this month so that I could feel like I was doing my part and paying my dues even though I don't have an office to go to.  My goal list looks like this:

Associated Content: Write 12 articles, Reach 5,500 views for the month, Earn $xxxx (there is an actual dollar amount on my whiteboard, but sadly I feel the need to keep my financial gains to myself)
Novel: Edit ALL chapters by 9/30.  Any notes not made by midnight 9/30 are NOT going in your re-write!
Gearheadz Paintball: How To Series - pick your 1st marker, pick your 1st tank, pick your 1st hopper, pick your 1st mask. Facebook - Dealer notification, Action Pursuit Games Entry, Hellfish DVD
Writing Blog: Write about applying for submission to Action Pursuit Games, Write about waiting for the Glimmer Train contest results, Write about setting and meeting goals, Write about deciding to sign up for NANOWRIMO 
A Smaller Bottom Blog: Write 20 entries for the month, Upload Lara Croft progress photos, Write about measurements progress, Write about the 10k

By the end of today, I'll also be able to cross off the novel editing (trumpets will blare, confetti will fall, and a bottle of champagne will open), hopefully have reached my 5,500 views for the month (I'm currently about 243 reads short), will have written the blog entry for the first installment of the Gearheadz Paintball How To series, and the rest I'm going to allow to carry over into October.  Every time I meet a goal I feel a blaze of satisfaction as I cross it off the list, and I leave the list in its entirety up all month so that I can have a visual to remind me of how well (or poorly) I'm doing.

In the end, if I am setting goals that take some effort to reach then a 60%+ success rate really is an accomplishment and it's easy to identify the other 40% of things that were either unrealistic, or are areas that I need to improve in next month.  Maybe one day I'll be able to hit 100% of my goals, although I'm sure that if that day came I would simply add to my list and decide that I didn't give myself enough to do.

If you are considering quitting your day job and making a name for yourself on your own, I highly suggest that you find a way to set your own goals and give yourself an easy visual to refer to as the month lags on so that you can evaluate yourself the way a manager would.  By giving yourself structure and in turn, giving yourself a fair and honest evaluation of your work, then success is a little easier to measure and a lot easier to grasp.

Currently Reading:
Steamed: A Steampunk Romance (Paranormal Romance (Signet))

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Coming to an Action Pursuit Games Near You... Hopefully

Now that I have several articles in the pipeline for Associated Content, three manageable blogs and 1/3 of my novel edited, I decided it was time to add something new.  I want to start writing for magazines!

I decided that I should make an attempt at writing for a magazine that I currently buy and read and so I contacted Action Pursuit Games to see what it would take to write for them.  As it turns out, to submit articles and photos to their magazine is a lot more simple a concept than I thought it would be.  To get set up, I had to fill out a W-9, and fill out a release of content for any written content and photographs that I might submit through the end of the year.  APG's writers and photographers have to fill out new W-9's and releases annually, which is nice so that it doesn't have to be re-done every time I submit something.

Now that I've got all the paperwork submitted, all that I have to do is find something to write about!  I love the need to find new topics to write about because it gives me an excuse to get out of the house and onto the paintball field.

If you're interested in writing for magazine publications too, run through the magazines that you currently buy or are subscribed to and see if there is one that you think you might be able to write content for.  Chances are that since you buy the magazine you are interested in the topics that it covers, and writing about things you know and enjoy will help you to write more effective and informed content.  Check out the magazine's website for submission guidelines, contact the editor to make sure that they are accepting non-solicited content, and get to writing!  Who knows, your article may end up in the next issue!

Action Pursuit Games

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Review Your Life

I spent the last weekend roaming downtown Atlanta for Dragon*Con 2010, and the experience gave me so much writing material that 9 days into the month I'm already meeting  my writing goals for September. Whenever you are feeling the pinch of writers block or you are backed up against a deadline and can't think of what to write, get out of the office and live a little!

One of the easiest articles to write is a review of a product, service or event that you have used/experienced recently. Travelling (whether around your home-town or across the globe) gives alert writers volumes of experiences to write about.  Airlines, restaurants, shows and events, classes and films are all fair game for your review, and all you really need in order to write a compelling review is your own opinion.

Although writing reviews may not be your favorite type of writing, and may not spur your most creative thought, they can help you to keep the writing habit going.  Getting into a dry-spell of ideas can lead to a writer's-drought that lasts weeks, moths or years, and so finding "easy" topics to write about to keep you afloat while you are waiting for your next best-selling idea can help to keep your mind and fingers moving and keep writers block at bay.

So the next time you find yourself staring at a blank page wracking your brain for something to write about, step away from your notepad, shut off your computer and get out and experience something new.  Then write about it!

SolidTek DigiMemo 692 Digital Notepad with Memory

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Making It Out Of My Hovel

There comes a time in every writer's life when it's time to walk away from the computer and head out into the world for some inspiration!  For me, that time is now and in 24 hours I will be on my way to experiencing the fantasy, fun and intrigue that Dragon*Con has to offer!

Heading out to conventions, especially those that surround the literary world, will hopefully give me a chance to meet other writers and see what is happening in the world of fantasy/sci-fi/fanfic.  It sure does help to know that not only are there other writers out there writing fiction, but that some of them are actually a success at it!  I intend to leave Atlanta on Monday enlightened, encouraged, and bursting with new ideas and concepts.

If you aren't familiar with Dragon*Con I encourage you to check out their website at and check out the immense width and breadth that this convention has to offer writers, painters, musicians and people who aren't creative but who enjoy other people's creativity.

True to my vow earlier this year, I'll be attending as Lara Croft one of the three days and I can't wait!  If you're attending also, please send me a note on my facebook page and let me know.  I'd love to meet you!