Taking Stock

Tuesday, I had lunch with a small group of writer friends. Discussion turned to the topic of goals and we all sat with pen and pad and wrote them down. Putting goals in writing helps imprint them in our brains better than just speaking them.

I had jotted down “Finish my novel” and “Create a plan of action with my agent,” but as I sat there staring at my brief list, I started really taking stock of my progress over the last couple of years.

In 2006, my goals had been to finish the novel I was working on at the time and begin querying agents. And I had wanted to get things moving with my fiction writing. Looking back, I did finish the novel and I signed with an agent and I had the two short stories published.

BUT I didn’t make one penny on my writing last year.

During my lunchtime epiphany, I came to the realization that, yes, I want to focus on the long fiction and my ultimate goal is in that area. But in the meantime, I need to create some cash flow. Or at least put that on my list of goals.

So number three on my list became “Make money with my writing.”

A goal is only a dream unless you get specific, so I continued to jot notes on my pad. I listed the articles I have sitting here collecting dust. They need a little revising, but that shouldn’t take too much effort. I have a short story that needs more than a little revising, but it has the potential to be submitted to a rather lucrative market. I have some story ideas that I could pitch to a few magazines. I wrote them all down. I decided to write AND submit one story or article each month. The story I write this month doesn’t have to be the same one I submit, but one has to be created and one has to be put out in the pipeline each month of 2007.

I drove home energized from my plan and pulled out article number one. It had place third in the Pennwriters Writing Contest last year, but hadn’t found a home yet. I pulled out the notes from the judge, ready to revise. Then I decided I’d better check the publications I was planning to submit to. Get an idea of the style they like. So I went online and promptly learned that one had been completely reorganized and the other had gone out of business.

But that’s only a temporary road block. I plan to do more research into the publication that was reorganized to see if my article still fits. There’s still the little matter of revising the article, though. The problem is I like it the way it’s written, but the judge’s comments make sense, too. Now I remember why I didn’t fix it sooner.

So I’ve moved on to the short story. That’s coming along a little better. It will most likely be January’s submission. I do still have a couple of weeks yet.

I’m keeping my notes from Tuesday’s lunch on my desk. One of the other writers at the lunch chose the same money-making goal for 2007 and we’ve promised to hound each other about it. Nothing like a little friendly competition and nagging to keep me on my toes.


Joyce said…
Wow. Very ambitious goals, Annette!

That money making thing would be nice. Maybe I should add that to my list, too.

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