Tools & Talismans for 2012

 My writing goals for 2012 include a few tasks that I’ve been shirking on, and several new endeavors that will throw me out of my comfort zone:

  • Finish my MFA thesis
    • Submit these stories until they are published or I run out of suitable markets
  • Learn more about writing novels
    • Begin writing a novel
    • Workshop the first 5,000 words of a novel and the novel outline at DeepSouthCon
  • Attend at least one big convention (AWP & World Fantasy Convention are my top choices)
  • Continue to workshop stories with my Clarion West classmates
  • Read more & seek out new authors
  • Be more involved with my local geek community: writing, sci-fi, gaming 

In order to reach these goals, I’ve got a few tools that I found in 2011 that I will carry into the new year:

  • Book: The Productive Writer: Tips & Tools to Help You Write More, Stress Less, & Create Success by Sage Cohen – I love this book. It isn’t a craft manual. There aren’t essays on how to strengthen your characters or structure your story. Instead, Cohen has written a guide on how to structure your life so that you have the time to write, and gives you advice on how to focus that time. One of my favorite lines: “I have come to appreciate schedules as little maps of the possible to guide us in the deep and sometimes overwhelming waters of time.”  
  • Podcast: Writing Excuses – 15 mins of fun and inspiration with working authors. It’s kind of like eating a quick snack with a bunch of writers at a workshop. I’ve been listening to an episode before I settle down to write. 
  • Magazine: The New Year’s Guide to an Inspired Writing Life.” Poets & Writers Magazine, Jan/ Feb 2012 Issue – I admit that I do not always read the articles in Poets & Writers, but the current issue has several articles that I have found very helpful. From revision, to making a reading list, to having a distraction-free workplace, this issue has helped me look at my daily writing tasks in a new light. “It’s true that the longest distance in the universe is from the mind to the tips of your fingers” (from Jeremiah Chamberlin’s article “Inspired Revision: Writing as an Act of Discovery”). 
  • Online Image:You just gotta fight” quote by Ira Glass – I printed this quote, taped it to the front of my notebook, and took it with me to Clarion West. A great reminder that working your way towards your best creativity takes time, so keep making things even if they don’t live up to your expectations just yet.
  • Writing Groups:  Setting goals means much more to me when I have people waiting on me to reach them. So in 2012 I’m going to make an effort to be more involved with my online and local writing groups. I’ll have to have finished stories to show to these groups, and knowing that others will be reading/ hearing my work will encourage me to make sure that work is tight and well-written. 

As for talismans, I’ve got my Clarion West certificate beside my desk, reminding me that I’ve reached one goal, and that I can reach others.

What resources are you using to meet your writing goals this year? I’d love to hear about them. 🙂

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