Thursday, March 29, 2012

*Random Spark -- Thursday, March 29, 2012

"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."
~English humorist and science fiction novelist, Douglas Adams

While following hundreds of authors, agents, editors and a plethora of other literary professionals on Twitter, Blogger and Facebook, I came to the realization that I was missing something all of these above people have: deadlines. As a published author, you're given various deadlines: drafts, revisions #1 thru #1,303,439, proofs, and more. Agents and editors have to meet deadlines in order to stay abreast of the current market and publish books target audiences are eager to read RIGHT NOW, as well as deadlines relating to copyeditor, printer expectations and publicity/marketing departments.

Since most of those deadlines are part of someone's part- or full time job, I came to the conclusion that I needed to set goals and deadlines for myself. Using my iCalendar, I mapped out when I needed to have my first and second drafts done, certain revisions completed after receiving valuable feedback from my critique groups or making sure I simply wrote 500 words by nightfall. I also pinpointed what days I needed to work on specific chapters of my MG novel, or the first part of my current WIP picture book. Having these reminders keeps me informed of what needs work and what doesn't.

Creating personal deadlines for yourself also helps when contests rise. If the deadline to submit your entry is down the road, set a goal to finish your first draft by the end of the week or month. If it's shorter than that, try completing it by the evening. Why not choose a unique time to finish it by: "I must finish this part by 4:44pm." Spice it up! No need to be boring.

Professional deadlines have consequences when they aren't met, but by setting your own personal ones now, it will keep you on track, motivate you to write every single day, and help you avoid the evil procrastination. 

Good luck!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

* Random Spark * -- Tuesday, March 27, 2012 is an excellent site to spark your writing skills and get your creative juices flowing! Jumping into your manuscript where you left off the day before can work well if that is your style, however, like athletes I prefer to warm-up.  Hence, Figment.

Recently, I tweeted that I would take on the challenge to enter each and every writing contest Figment posted. While I haven't succeeded in ALL of them, I do find myself at the very least, attempting to enter each one. Now I receive an email every day with a different type of writing prompt; sometimes from Judy Blume, other times from Figment or from journalist Douglas McGray (@dougmcgray).  Some of these daily writing prompts really hit home and I can explore my writing capabilities, crossing boundaries and taking risks unknown to me. Simply put, it expands my writing circle far beyond the children's arena that I'm so comfortable in. Other times, they are more challenging, but the outcome is always something unique.

And gets me in the zone. Perfect.

Now I'm warmed up, and ready to roll!

While you can find (and follow) me on Figment, feel free to stop by here as I will be posting my Daily Figment Themes as much as possible. Comments are always welcome!  For writers of any genre that have not yet joined, I highly recommend it!

News: recently welcomed the members of to the Figment community.  Founded by HarperCollins and similar to Figment, InkPop encourages members to comment on other writer's short stories, poems, etc.  According to Figment, HarperCollins will also continue to its search for great stories and host contests for publication consideration.  Exciting things to come!

Lucky 7 Meme

A couple of weeks ago, my good friend Cherie Colyer, debut author of Embrace, tagged me in a really neat manuscript post called The Lucky 7 Meme.  See how it works below:

1) Go to page 77 of your manuscript (in this case, my middle-grade novel)
2) Go to line 7
3) Copy and paste the next 7 lines -- sentences or paragraphs -- and post them as they are written. No cheating!

And without further manuscript...

     “Huh?” I asked.
     “Prepared and professional.” Casey smiled. “I think that’s going to be my motto if I win.”
     She has a motto?! “I would have changed, but I didn’t have time,” I said. At least this was the truth. After Mom picked me up from school, she dropped the twins off at a play date, ran to the bank and then took me straight here. 
     Casey couldn’t have cared less. “Whatever. Let’s go in the basement. It’s all ready.” Boy, was she prepared.  In the middle of the room sat a round table with a striped cloth and a bowl of flowers. 

**They actually appear as 7 lines in my manuscript. Pretty neat, huh?