Mid-Year Writing Update

I know, I know. We’re already well past the year’s midpoint, which makes the title of this post kind of pointless. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s never too late to check in on my writing goals, celebrate what I’ve accomplished, and decide whether there’s anything I need to re-evaluate.
Between the New Years Resolutions I posted on my blog, and my personal business plan, I wanted to accomplish some big things with my writing this year. Here’s a quick breakdown of how those big things are going so far.
Goal #1: Begin querying Facing the Music
Progress: I’m almost afraid to say this, but . . . I think I’m going to meet this goal this year. The first 18 chapters of the manuscript are FINISHED. I still have to write in the necessary changes for the last six chapters, but I’m not expecting that process to be as agonizing or as time-consuming as I originally thought it would be. I have a solid draft of a solid query letter that needs one more pass each from myself and my CPs. I’ve got a list and ranking system for possible agents, and a whole bunch of research to back that list up. And, for the first time in years, I finally feel like I have the courage to dive into the slush pile without turning into an anxiety-ridden mess.
Goal #2: Finish drafting a new manuscript
Progress: Barring a minor miracle, this just isn’t going to happen. I set this goal for myself back when I thought I was ready to commit to my YA contemporary romance. Although I have no regrets about setting that story aside because I wasn’t passionate enough to stick with it, I also don’t have any other ideas that are close to being ready to draft.
Goal #3: Revise a draft of my mystery and send it to my CPs for feedback
Progress: Considering the last novel I revised was an unmitigated disaster for 90% of the process (here’s looking at you, Facing the Music), I was determined to make a plan for revising my mystery before I changed a single word of the first draft. There are so many great resources out there for approaching revisions, and I culled a bunch of different strategies from authors whose blogs–and books–I read and respect. I reverse-outlined my book for the very first time and wrote out a plan of attack for myself, so that I knew what the steps of my revision process would be. I went back to the drawing board regarding my characters and plot, and did some thinking and free-writing about which aspects of the story I want to focus on and what I need to build into the next draft.
And then I sat down to begin re-working the arc of the actual mystery, which I’ve known has needed work from the very beginning, and . . . I stalled. Not indefinitely. Not even for longer than a couple of weeks. Just long enough to do some serious thinking about how freaking hard it is to write mysteries, and how I might need to fix both the starting point of the mystery AND the starting point of the story in order to make things work.
Once I came to that conclusion, everything started flowing. My absolute favorite thing about revising is watching the fragmented pieces of a story come together and build on each other and grow closer to the initial glorious idea that I had in my head. The story’s new beginning doesn’t fix every problem there was with the mystery’s initial draft, but it fixes a lot of them. And for the first time in ages, I can’t wait to dive back into writing once the mystery is fully fleshed out and the outline is complete.
Goal #4: Have something new ready to draft by November (and National Novel Writing Month)
Progress: Unless that something new winds up being the revised version of my mystery, it isn’t going to happen.
Goal #5: Write and submit 2-3 things that aren’t one of my manuscripts.
Progress: Not terrible. I finished the first draft of a short story back in June and did some research on potential markets not long after, but I also haven’t given it much thought since. I do plan to go back and revise it before the year is out, but it isn’t my top priority right now. Considering the whole purpose of this goal was to keep me writing and submitting, and I have a manuscript that’s close to being submission-ready anyway, I think that’s understandable.
That said, I would still like to draft and submit something else before the year is out too, just because it should be possible and there’s no reason not to.
Goal #6: Blog at least once every month.
Progress: Knocking it out of the park. 🙂
If you’re a writer, how’s your writing coming? If not, what have you accomplished this summer that you’re proud of? Let me know in the comments.
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