Friday, January 4, 2013

Goals for the New Year

I think Mr. Einstein was on to something when he said that. I can recall that many of the greatest experiences of my life have been those related to having a goal. I've won NaNoWriMo twice now. I'm a year off from graduating from college. I've gotten married. I've gotten help for my addiction. And on and on goes the list of goals that I've set and been able to achieve. And I think I want to actually reach for things that are terrifying now. Because when our goals scare us, the joy we get from their achievement is multiplied.

You can do anything, when you set
your mind to it.
This year I plan on going to Clarion West Writers Workshop. It is a workshop that is based entirely upon the submission of a work of fiction. The story that I wrote during this last NaNoWriMo "The Blood Malediction" is the story that I'll be sending to the judges. It is based in the same world of "Crimes of the Umbramancer." And writing it already has developed that world far more than I would have thought it would. I've finished the first draft of the story at 10,672 words. I'm now in the process of rewriting it. My rewrite and edits have to be done by the end of January for me to send it in to the judges of the workshop (not because the deadline is then, but because I don't want to send it to the judges once they are burning out).

The food my demon prefers: Eyeballs.
I can't tell you how much this scares me. I'm competing on a national level with my writing and hoping that others like it enough to get me to a place that I can take it to the next level. I find myself wondering if I'm good enough. Wondering if I will belong if I make it. Wondering if I haven't wasted all this time working towards this dream that can't come true. I know that it is the inner demon critic within trying to tear me down. That knowledge is the only reason I refuse to allow myself to wonder in those avenues.

My internal editor is much
like my wife. Supportive
& willing to push me.
Instead I go to the productive places. Like tonight I was writing a scene that I had watched multiple classmates attempt and get wrong, and I found myself making the same mistakes. I fought with myself to figure out why this scene had relevance and found what made the scene meaningful. That struggle made me really think about what I want to say with my writing, and it got me to the place where I understood my characters and their motivations much better than if I had simply allowed myself to make the same mistakes they did. This is the work of my friend, my internal editor. I am grateful for him, because he encourages me to work.

I am determined to actually move somewhere with my writing this year. So I joined up with Write 1 Sub 1 this year. I will be finishing "Crimes of the Umbramancer" before I leave for Clarion this summer, but in the meantime I will be writing at the very least one poem per month. This month for the project I'll finish this short story, but while I'm working on the novel I'll do poetry. It is a good way to learn how to compress meaning into small works.

So listing them out in order goals for this year:

1. Get accepted to and attend Clarion West Writers Workshop.
     A. Finish "The Blood Malediction" by the 31st of January.
     B. Send story and application for scholarship to Clarion February 1st.
     C. Await letter of acceptance in the mail (This isn't so much a goal, as a projection of what I want to have happen.)
     D. Attend Clarion West starting June 23rd, 2013.

2. Write one short story or poem each month for 2013.
    A. Finish "The Blood Malediction" by the 31st of January.
    B. Write one poem per month while finishing the drafts of "Crimes of the Umbramancer."

3. Finish complete second draft of "Crimes of the Umbramancer" by June 22nd.

Concerning my writing those are the only goals I have at this time. I thought about attaching a wordcount goal to them, but it doesn't feel right. I need to base this year on finishing projects, not on wordcount. Perhaps when I get to work on NaNoWriMo next November, I'll focus on that again, but right now I need to be elsewhere. Particularly on the commitment I've made to you. Yeah, by writing these goals down like this and committing to them publicly I need to achieve them. Kinda like when I was doing NaNo and I had to finish because I had announced on live television that I would finish.

So wish me joy this year friends, because I'm going to places that I never thought I would have the opportunity or skills to go. Share in the comments what goals that you have for this year. Maybe we can support each other. ;) Peace, y'all.


  1. Those are great goals! Best of luck with them.

  2. I think it's great you are focusing on Clarion. You are a far braver man than I, Jayrod.

    The only caveat I would make here is that you are trying your happiness to someone(s) rather than to a goal. In the "getting accepted to Clarion" you are tying your goal (and thus happiness) to the judges' decision. Kind of the curse of choosing writing as a life-style, I know... we're all at the mercy of our audiences to a degree. But it is something to consider...

    For now... Get writing and finish The Blood Malediction. Write it and polish it and MAKE it... build that world and fill in its corners so that people want to see what hides in them. :-)

  3. You have wonderful goals! Good luck with your submission. They'll be lucky to have you :) My goals are mainly to become a better storymaker/wordsmith by listening to writing excuses each morning and then reading a chapter (or so) of a book on writing to improve my general knowledge (Currently ON WRITING by Stephen King, which I believe you suggested once). I also want to edit the nearly five books I wrote last year. I had the brief goal to start a writer's group and hazzah! I already have one off the ground only four days into the year :D Again, best of luck my friend! I will have to be a copycat and have my own post on goals on my blog ;) I've gotta post *sometime*. :P

  4. Go get 'em Jayrod! Best of luck w/everything!


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