Category Archives: editing

New Year’s Resolution Time! {2016 edition}

OH HEY. Long time, no see, blogging world! I started last year by writing down a list of my resolutions for the new year and at that time I promised a check in of sorts around the end of it. So this post is going to be both addressing last year’s resolutions and how well I did in keeping them and putting up some new resolutions. LET’S SEE HOW I DID.

Last year’s resolutions:
1. submit writing more places: I actually did really well at this in the first few months of the year. Before 2015, my poetry hadn’t seen much more than the inside of my filing cabinet, and now it’s been published in a few excellent journals online. (you’ll eventually be able to see a list of places my poetry appears on the MY POETRY page here, once my ass gets around to it). I wish I’d kept this up for the whole year, but alas, I did not.
2. keep up with this blog: once again, after the first few months, this one went to the wayside (as you might’ve been able to deduce from the complete lack of activity on here).
3. read 100 books: I don’t even want to talk about how hard I failed here. I not only didn’t make it to the goal, but I read less than I’ve read any other year since I started listing my yearly books read (nearly 10 years ago, before I was on goodreads). My grand total was 21. I WEEP.
4. Eat healthier: didn’t take this one seriously until the end of the year, when I’d had it with feeling like total shit all the time, some of which could be attributed to my total shit diet (who knew? lol) and now I do a bit better with it. Not much to report, I’m no health guru by a long fucking shot, but hey, sometimes I snack on fruit instead of cupcakes so I don’t think I failed utterly here : )
5. Get dressed every day: nope. Nope. noooope.

Now, to be fair, 2015 was astonishingly successful in some ways that never showed up in my resolutions. I 1: finished the first draft of one novel and wrote an entire first draft of another novel, 2- began driving on the highway. This is a big breakthrough for me, as I’ve always had a lot of anxiety surrounding driving and highway driving in particular. 3- summoned the courage to participate in open mics for poetry and a couple book promotion events. These things are SUCH A MAJOR WIN for me.

Now, instead of going straight into listing my 2016 resolutions with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed vigor, I wanted to take a moment to pay tribute to something I ordered completely on impulse this year along with a new wall and desk calendar, which is THIS BOOK (pictured below and available for purchase here  by Lisa Jacobs )

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I waffled about whether to buy this for a while before getting it, but MAN am I glad I did. It starts off with a section for review of the past year, filled with prompt questions, then moves on to plans for the new year, and then the final section is set up like a monthly planner in order to keep track of the stated goals, complete with a midyear review section and quarterly reflections. The questions are so pertinent to my craft too, which I was a little surprised at- I don’t know why, though, writing is after all a ‘creative business’. It’s so well-organized and thorough that it helped me put my thoughts in order in a way I’ve never done before. I always thought ‘sure, I know what I want to get out of this year’, but this book really is effective in peeling back vague ambitions to reveal concrete goals (also, may I just say that when the author uses her own workbook every year, you know you’ve struck gold). If you work at anything creative with any real seriousness and struggle due to being completely in charge of your own schedule/fitting that around the rest of your life, this is for you!! (I wasn’t paid to advertise this book, I’m just hella enthusiastic, guys.)

Okay, anyway. One of the things the Your Best Year 2016 book prompted me to do was to actually write out not only the things I failed at last year, but WHY it was that I failed and examine how not to make the same mistakes again.

For example, when I planned to submit more writing, I ultimately failed due to giving myself too much of a structured schedule to follow for submissions/hours spent working in general. When an event would come up in my life and I missed a day, everything went to hell because of this bizarre brand of perfectionism. This has been a character flaw of mine for a long time, something I’m trying to erase this year. When I planned to keep up with this blog, I did really great with weekly posts, until I got over-enthusiastic and decided I wanted to try and post 3 times a week instead of one. Don’t remember that? That’s because it didn’t fucking work. I tried to do too much and the stress on my mind burnt me out before I got too far at all. When I planned to read 100 books, I failed because I wasn’t being serious about placing restrictions on any other type of media that would get in the way of enjoying reading. Once I got down to the root of the reasons I missed the mark here, I was able to make some clearer 2016 resolutions.

So, without further ado, here they are, my new and improved resolutions for 2016:

  1. Get the rough draft of a book I’ve had laying around edited and acquire an agent. – The biggest, most daunting goal, probably, and the one I spent the most time mapping in Your Best Year. As a self-published author, I’ve had little experience with traditional publishing, but I want to give it a shot for the first book in the rough trilogy I finished last year. The rough draft of the first book has been finished for nearly a good four years now and this has always been something I wanted to ‘try doing eventually’ but never initiated. Game on!
  2. Limit time spent online unless it’s for work purposes – this resolution helps out my “read 100 books” goodreads challenge goal, which I’m giving another go-around this year. I know if I successfully limit my time wasted doing god-knows-what-I-do to eat 500,000 hours a year online, I will read more books in my spare time as a direct result (I’m not a TV person). It will also kill off my biggest distraction to getting writing/editing/you name it done. Your Best Year gave me the excellent idea of giving myself a little chunk of time faffing on twitter, instagram, youtube, wherever as a reward if I spend a bigger chunk of time devoted to working and keeping away from checking my phone.
  3. Show up at office as many days as possible- This one’s exciting mostly because for the first time I have a real office space, separate from the place I sleep, and even five days into the year, it’s really helping. I’m not going to give myself a stringent, impossible-to-follow schedule. Instead I’m going to endeavor to 1- wake up at a reasonable time. I do my best work earlier in the day, and 2- show up for however many hours or tasks I’ve allotted that day. Even if it’s a day I have to be at my other, paying job, I want to get in maybe an hour in the morning.
  4. Get a chapbook of poems together- The original resolution was going to be something more vague like “get back into writing fresh poetry”, but I came out with this one instead. I’ve always wanted to pull a collection of poetry together, and a chapbook is a great place to start. Over the past few months, I’ve been attending poetry open mics and I’ve been honored to meet and hear and be inspired by so many amazing fellow poets, and yet… I still feel blocked when it comes to my own writing. If I resolve to have a chapbook out this year, I will HAVE to write new things.

That’s about everything! Well, there are more small goals, but these are the major writing-related ones at least! If you’ve stuck with me this far, thanks, I wish I had a cookie to give you because you really deserve one. What’ve you got planned for 2016? Do you enjoy planning resolutions out or do you like to take it as it comes? I’d be interested to know!
Until next week!

{C}

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Filed under editing, musings, publishing, reading, writing

time for some embarrassing facts, re: editing & I

Editing.

It’s the bane of many a writer’s sordid existence. In fact, I’ve tried to get around it for years. Yes, you’ve read that right. It’s understandable that when I wrote my first stories, I didn’t edit them at all: I was all of nine years old. But when I started writing poetry the summer after high school ended, I decided poetry was a different beast altogether. Poetry struck me in inspirational little lines scribed in the back of my head, and so was exempt from all the natural proceedings! Poetry was a gift from the gods! Poetry was certainly ABOVE editing; it was too lyrical, too abstract, too confined to the moment. I suffered from the impression that the way the words flowed out of me was the way they should stay; otherwise, I’d be untrue to the feel of the moment, and poetry is always trying to capture the feel of a moment, or several moments.

Obviously my writing suffered from this, though I didn’t think so at the time. I learned the value of rethinking line breaks (or thinking about them at all, which it’s hard to do the first time around), and noticed that when I wasn’t in the rush to get everything down before the mood or inspiration faded, I could afford to find word choices that might *gasp* EVEN BETTER describe what I was feeling at the time. If I wrote the poem down well enough the first time, I could retrieve the mood in which I wrote it and live in that place while I edited. My poetry editing became two-fold: I’d write the poem down as it came to me, when it came to me, and then I’d let it sit for a day at the least. I’d come back to it again the next day and if I still liked it well enough, I’d write up a copy on my laptop, this time inserting final line breaks and shifting my words about, and even deleting/adding sections as I saw fit. Poetry editing had lost its negative stigma for me; now I can’t see how I ever went without it.

I treat novelling different than I do poetry, both in the way I write a book and the way I edit. When I write a story, I feel as though there must be massive changes made, somehow, to the structure of the thing, before I can concentrate on grammar. There’s ALWAYS a better way I could have put something; my inner novel editor, unlike the one who edits my poetry with me, is a picky bitch. I can’t sweep through a chapter of a novel, only covering grammar and spelling mistakes, and feel I’ve done a thorough job. Therefore, while I can go through a poem once or twice and feel it has been editing to its best, it’s not uncommon that I NEVER feel my novels are properly polished.

I’ve recently begun to wonder why this is. Do others have this problem? Does anyone else who writes both poetry and prose feel that editing one is easier than the other? Maybe I should look at my novel more how I’m looking at my poetry: take it in pieces, look for discrepancies in plot and character, but pay attention to the wording in the way I attend to the rise and fall of the words in poetry. I hope for, one day, my two internal editors to become one.

For now I’ll go back to working on editing a book that totals 214 pages in Microsoft Word, and try not to cry about it ; )

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adventures in editing

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Coffee is essential.

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as is a good fall scent.

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ughhhhh.

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He helped (distract me xD)

Editing is my worst part of the writing process. Too bad it’s also the longest. The least I can do is set the atmosphere a little, right?

~C

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Filed under editing, picspam