Happy 2012! I bet many of you thought I disappeared after a brief stint in the blog world. Not the case. Let’s recap the last six weeks. In addition to the holiday craziness, I was busy with deadline craziness.
I completed and submitted an executive summary for my non-fiction book, and finished up the table of contents and index. These are all of the little things that no one tells you about when you sign that book contract. In the case of this book, the project was grant funded. Consequently, there wasn’t a team of people to tie up administrative loose ends like indices and searchable table of contents. I was the whole team – pitcher, catcher and coach, baby. Although slogging back through a book that’s been completed for six months can be incredibly rewarding, it’s also a little bit scary. You find all the things you wish you could change but can’t because you’ve already hit “send.” Thankfully, most of the little things weren’t glaring errors, just style bugs that creep under my skin and bother me when I’m trying to fall asleep at night. Those are the times, as a writer, that I force myself to focus on the work in progress instead of the the work in print. If I obsess over my published babies long enough, I could rewrite myself into the loony bin. Write it the best you can, revise and edit it better than you ever thought possible and then send it out into the great big world. Chances are that by then the manuscript is like a supermodel – prepped, primped and ready – a few pimples aren’t even going to show during that “fierce” walk down the runway.
Speaking of supermodels, let’s talk about the out of shape, slightly less charismatic sister manuscript – NaNoWriMo. My blog kicked off just in time to join the NaNoWriMo fun, and I wasn’t faithful in posting updates on the progress. You deserve some news. I didn’t win the coveted digital certificate this year. I clocked in at 11,436 words. In most worlds, this experiment would register as an epic fail. However, when you add up November’s paid word count that accompanied the unpaid NaNoWriMo, I well exceeded the 50,000 word goal. For me, that falls into the success column.
What made it an even greater success was letting Ivy (my main character) out of my brain and giving her a chance to stretch her legs after seven years in cramped quarters. Per usual, the frenetic freedom of excessive word counts led to some quality work by the muse. That’s what I love about NaNoWriMo – those moments when you discover the details that have been brewing just under the surface while you’ve been busy stewing about the bigger picture of your plot. In a nutshell, NaNoWriMo gave birth to Ivy (and Delilah and Tom) a dysfunctional trio from 1949 desperately clinging to the idea of family because their own family reality has been smashed to pieces. Although I can’t rightfully buy the NaNoWriMo t-shirt and hang that PDF winner’s certificate in my office, I still consider NaNoWriMo 2011 a success. You’ll definitely be hearing more about Ivy and her cohorts in the coming months.
And finally, I spent a few weeks with the supermodel’s distant cousin – the strategic plan. Along with my freelance writing business, I facilitate strategic planning sessions for non profit organizations. November and December were spent working with a Board of Directors to verbally deconstruct and reconstruct a 10 year old 501(c)3. The result was a 50-page action plan for this organization’s next five years of operation. Not exactly light bedtime reading, but projects like this always result in meeting some incredibly fascinating and passionate people and provide much needed perspective on the importance of setting goals for my own career.
After the hectic delight of the holidays settled down, I spent an afternoon creating my own strategic plan. Call it resolutions, call it action items, call it crazy, but I’ve put together my own strategic plan for my writing career in 2012. Tune in tomorrow for the details. Meanwhile, take a look at this and this. The first is a few words of wisdom by which everyone should live. The second is a tell-it-like-it-is list of things every writer should think about. Both might help you set some goals or resolutions of your own.
Happy writing and happy 2012!