Setting new goals

The summer has slipped by with nary a word from my in my work in progress. 🙁

I know… I’ve been busy. I’ve had a great time traveling and visiting family. I’ve solidified our newest homeschooling curriculum and I’ve entered three writing contests – that’s two more than I’ve entered since I started writing years ago. And so… my muse has taken a hiatus and now I must coax it back.

My new goals… to write something, anything, on my story each and every day. I don’t care if it’s one paragraph or one sentence. As long as it’s a NEW paragraph or sentence and not one I’ve decided to tweak, I will have accomplished my goal.

Of course, as you can see by some of my posts on this blog, one paragraph tends to grow quickly when I actually sit down and write. My only hope – not goal – is the same will happen for my story.

I’ve hit the proverbial brick wall. I need to back up, take my characters out of the situations I’ve left them in and rewrite them into new situations. Situations that will help me move my story forward. See, part of the reason I stopped writing in the first place was because I’d somehow veered off the track I’d set for this story. I allowed the characters to have their way and like unsupervised children, they’ve done some things I’m not happy about. And so, I’m going back in with sleeves rolled to the elbows and I’m going to straighten things up… with their desires in mind. A neat compromise should do the trick of getting us – myself, my muse and my characters – back on track.

So my new goals are to write each day no matter how little. To walk away and do something else when the words stop flowing – rather than sit and stare at the blinkin’ cursor. And to explore even the most far-fetched ideas my characters and muse introduce.

What is writing fiction if not playing with ideas and “what ifs”.

What if… I actually finish this story before this year is out. Now THAT’s a goal I’d like to reach.

10 Responses to Setting new goals

  • Debbie, I’m having a writing problem also, and this is what it is– I have a mentor (a paid one from Long Ridge Writing Group)who wants me to write a short story to submit to ELLERY QUEEN magazine. My mentor feels it would be a worthwhile stepping stone to be published in a magazine as a way to break out of small press publication. I am about three quarters finished, but I am finding that it’s harder to write a short story than a novel. I’ve been working on this wee project for about two months now. By the end of this week, no matter how tedious, I WILL FINISH IT. And then (in case it isn’t published since it is a long shot) I am going to use my plot and write it as a romantic suspense.

  • Kathleen,
    It seems your mentor sees something exciting in your writing and that’s why he’s encouraging you to write this short story. I can imagine, though, how torn you are. I love how you’re turning it around, though and intend to use the plot in a full RS in case it isn’t published in the magazine.

    I remember writing short stories, and I felt the same as you. They are very hard to write. But good for you for setting that goal! I’ll be here cheeriing you on!!


  • You can do it, Debbie! 🙂


  • Debbie,
    A great goal. You’ll be surprised at how it pays off if you follow through. And you WILL follow through, won’t you?


  • Good luck, Debbie. Let us know how you get on.


  • Thanks Marly!

    I will TRY to follow through… how’s that? 😉

    I will definitely keep you posted. I so want to finish this story. It’s been sitting stagnant for a couple of months and that doesn’t make me feel very proud of myself. So…



  • Like with yours, when my characters veer off track is when my story stalls. Sometimes, I have to backtrack and see where things went wrong and come up with alternatives. And once, I had to go back to square one and write it in first person just to get out of my own way.

  • Debbie, I feel your pain. I just scrapped 6 chapters and started over. I knew my characters inside and out but I needed help with their story. I went to a plotting session with a few authors from my local RWA chapter and it helped A LOT. I was smart enough to record it and have played it back several times. I am not going to use all of the ideas but many of them have inspired new ones and helped to flush out my story. I’m excited to write about my characters again and their story.
    I like your new goal. Sometimes that one sentence or paragraph can jump start your story into high gear. Good luck!

  • Rhonda,
    My CP has suggested something similar to rewriting in first person – write a letter to yourself FROM your hero or heroine. In that letter they’ll tell you what’s going on their world. It might help get the story back on track. Sometimes, though, I find the track I laid out is not as exciting as the track they want to follow. I want to remain open to ‘their’ desires but sometimes my vision is nowhere near as clear as theirs. Imagine that. 😉

    You scrapped SIX chapters?! Oh wow. How painful was that?

    I’m interested in this plotting session you went to. How did it work? Was it strictly about your story or about plotting in general? Either way, I’m very happy to hear how excited you are to get back at their story.


  • There were 7 of us but only 3 of us had stories to plot. So we worked on them one at a time. We met for 1/2 a day. The rule was that there were no stupid ideas and that no on would get shot down. Someone would throw out a suggestion and then someone would build on it. It was great to pick the creative minds of other writers. We meet once a month to do this. No reading chapters, just plotting. You might want to get together with a few friends from your local writing chapter. The next plotting session is this Saturday. I’m trying to work out how I can go and still get Monkey Boy to his game on time…. it was great fun!

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