Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And I'm back...

Hi everyone, remember me? Apologies for disappearing for all of November, but I was knee deep in kids (21 of them!) and they took all my time. Actually, they're still taking all my time until Dec. 20th, but I figured I could go with a few hours less of sleep to do my crit and blog duties :)

Today I wanted to talk about something that I do every year around this time: I start thinking about what my writing challenge for next year is going to be. Every year, I set a challenge for myself, for the entire year. This year my challenge was to create an entire fantasy world, which I kind of put off until the last minute, I must admit, but now I am 20K into my new paranormal series project and having the time of my life with world-building. Last year, it was to write a decent sex scene (which I did, but I am totally never showing anyone). 

I try to challenge myself with writing stuff that I either a) think I need to improve b) others think I need to improve or c) things/subjects/character types/genres I haven't written in awhile. 

After I choose my challenge for the year, I write it down (generally in glitter glue, because who doesn't love glitter glue?) and tack it to my cork board, where it looms above me constantly, whispering: "Tess, remember this challenge you gave yourself? You can't escape me. WORK ON IT OR THERE WILL BE HELL TO PAY!"

Let me tell you, it's a motivator. By challenging myself each year with something big, I know that I will be improving my writing throughout the year, I have something to focus on when I'm between books or having trouble with whatever project I'm on. The challenge not only helps me grow as a writer in different ways EACH year, but it also kicks my butt into action when Lazy!Tess takes over. 

So my challenge to myself for 2009 is this: I am going to work on my settings and description and work harder at making the character's world come to life for the reader. I am told over and over again that my dialogue and characters are good, but my setting needs work, so 2009 is the year for creating realistic, fabulous settings, even if it kills me :D 

What about you? Do you challenge yourself?


Tami Klockau said...

GREAT post, Tess! I have goals set at the beginning of the year, too. Around the New Year, I crack open my new journal (I start a new one each year) and write down what I want to accomplish that year.

For 2008, I wanted to finish Diary Girl (I did), edit it (I did once but it needs a full rewrite), write a query for it (nope, because it needs a rewrite) and start a new WIP (yep, working on it now and loving it!).

As far as 2009, only time will tell. I'll be setting my goals at the end of this month.

Anyone else do this?

Tracy Belsher said...

So supa to have Tess back with us! I do want to read that sex scene

Okay - I'll play. Here are my writing goals for 2009:

1. finish UMS edit (almost there but have to increase word count to 65k)

2. complete WIP "Losing It" and send to editor at Razorbill with a reminder that at one time she thought it worth a look see.

3. complete WIP "Witch's Ladder" and 1st draft of "The Rising" with Kitty Keswick (co-writing should be an

4. switch to working part time and write all day and play with my dogs and live the good life with my hubbie (hey...that's a valid goal).

Tami Klockau said...

Love the goals, Tracy! I'll post mine when they're more concrete. :)

Ok, I must say. Love the titles for the two WIPs w/ Kitty. So awesome! I ESPECIALLY like your number 3. We can all wish, right? I'm crossing my fingers on that one for you!

Denise Jaden said...

For the last couple of years I've geared my goals around Nano. I try to outline a new novel in September, write it in November and spend the rest of the year either taking breaks from it to get a clear head or revising.

A little boring maybe, but it seems to work for me.