Stretch Goals (Personal development)

A Reminder: All Goals Should Be Smart

I know I’ve talked about SMART goals — all our goals should be Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic, and Time-bound. It’s good to write these down to have something to refer to and direct your energy.

Stretch Goals!
But what if we fulfill those goals? We need new goals, and we want them to continue the progress of the met goals. Stretch goals are these next level of goals. They should be as we’re nearing success in the first tier of goals, so we can build them using the momentum we currently have.

  • I am nearing 1000 followers on Twitter. Now I would like to see 2k. I now plan I will acquire 2000 followers by June 1 through a combination of getting my name out there by making and following and liking posts, and following others. 
  • I have just finished the developmental edit stage of my WIP. My next stage is to find beta readers, then collect their comments and edit some more. (This goal has not reached SMART goal status; notice I haven’t developed it enough to make it SMART)
What now?
Look at your goals. What’s the next step? Start plotting that! 
If you want help with that or SMART goals, drop me an email at

Part 2 Developmental Edit (Personal Development)

“That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
After a certain amount of hyperventilating at the sheer length of the developmental edit notes, I took a deep breath and dipped my toe into the first chapter. It really wasn’t bad with a two-screen setup so I could go back and forth between comments and book. I made it halfway through the second chapter before my eyes started bleeding. Only 29 chapters to go.

Procrastination is not my friend
Honestly, I’m my own worst enemy with these edits. It goes back to my dissertation, where I sat on a major edit for six months, because I thought I couldn’t fix it. It was easy to think that, what with comments like “why should I care about this?” I finally approached the professor who made the remarks, and she said, “Oh, that’s simple. Just explain the importance of it.” I did not respond with “Why didn’t you tell me?! because I was a lowly grad student and she was a tenured professor.

In praise of dev edits
I have a long ways to go on fixing my work in progress, but I wouldn’t go without the dev edit. I have trouble looking critically at my work — I’m either too critical or not at all, and I sometimes get overwhelmed by the sheer number of words. So I need help in the form of an educated set of eyes.

I’m looking forward to seeing more of my work blossom under edit.

Unboxing my Dev Edit (Personal Development)

I’m a bit nervy about this …
I confess — I’ve been afraid to open up that dev edit for Whose Hearts are Mountains. It’s long, it’s detailed, and I’m going to be mortally embarassed by the mistakes I’ve made.

But it doesn’t matter.
My novel deserves an opportunity to improve. It deserves to become great, not just good. And I deserve to have a better book.

Too many excuses
I’ve been avoiding reading this for four days. I had to clean my room, take a nap, write a synopsis of a poster session I want to present research in, nap some more…

But now it’s time.
I need to get the courage to dig into it and improve the story. Anna Schmidt and Daniel Ettner deserve better than to be left in the corner, their story never heard.

A Case of Writers’ Block

I’m back home, sitting at the Board Game Cafe, trying to figure out what I want to write.

Anything I start will be interrupted in two days when I get my dev edit for Whose Hearts are Mountains back, so I can work on fixing it. On the other hand, I feel weird not writing. Not writing poetry, not writing short stories, not writing novels, not editing. 

I’m afraid that if I take a break, I won’t go back. But I have taken a break over finals week and beyond to Christmas. And inspiration has taken a vacation as well.

If I felt like starting a novel, I could turn the jam-packed short story Hands into a novel, if I could get some insight as to what Warsaw, Poland was like fifteen years ago. Boy, did I paint myself into a corner there. 

My blog counts as writing, though, as I intended it to. Warmups to something bigger for the day. Let’s see what that will be.

Looking forward to dev edit

My developmental editor has warned me that there’s LOTS of comments on the manuscript she’s turning in to me this week. LOTS. 

I think she doesn’t want to freak me out. My only worry is that there’s going to be so much to process I don’t know where to start. But it’s exciting to be able to delve into improving my work.

Note: this is going to be short because I’m typing it on my phone. I’m typing it on my phone because my cat is on my lap cleaning itself. Oh, the hardships I go through …

Rewriting another novel

I finished my rewrite of Apocalypse, and currently I don’t have enough distance from it to look at it objectively anymore, which is why it will go back to dev edit shortly. 

So where does that leave me relative to writing? I can either start a new book, figure out what to do with the idea for Gods’ Seeds (I’m struggling with that — there’s so much I want to do that it could be two books, my usual problem) or I could look over the post dev edit on Gaia’s Hands and see if I can feel better about it.

I’ve decided to work on Gaia’s Hands. If (when?) I get Apocalypse published, Gaia’s Hands would be a prequel. As such, I’d like to get it polished while I have the time to and before I come up with any other bright ideas. Whose Hearts are Mountains, which still needs a developmental edit, would be the next novel after that.

Yes, I have a plan. All I need is for the stars to align so that I can actually get something published. If you pray, put in a good word for me.

In Praise of Dev Editing

I’m almost ready to send Apocalypse to dev edit again. 


That’s not saying it’s flawless, just that I will get to the point that I can’t find any flaws myself. That’s why I need editors — because they’re new eyes on my work. Because they can see things I don’t. Because they’ve read enough that they know what the shape of a novel looks like. Because I want to be read.

I am about at the place where I need to send Prodigies out for queries again, but my dev editor wants to work with me first to find a new angle.

So I prep and I wait till June, when she’s ready to work with me on my books again.

I’ve learned so much about myself and my writing since I found a developmental editor. Here’s to improvement!

A good rejection

Yesterday I got another rejection, but I didn’t feel too bad about it.

I sent the query out for Mythos at least a year ago, and since then, I’ve learned a lot about writing. I’ve learned about developmental editing and beta-reading and about taking out the cherished bits that don’t do anything to further character or plot.

 In fact, Mythos as a book doesn’t exist any more — part of it has been cannibalized for the book Apocalypse, which is the next book to go into dev editing. There’s been lots of editing there already. So I’ve gotten a rejection on a book that no longer exists.

Every time I think I’ve learned nothing, I can look back on what Mythos was before its editing and incorporation into Apocalypse. In effect, Mythos was an idea with a lot of character development and a plot driven by nebulous bad guys and disconnected portents. The bones, however, were good enough to develop into a different story.

So all in all, this was a good rejection.

The Plan

I have a plan for how I’m going to handle the whole querying thing. Bear with me:

  1. I will continue dev editing and re-editing my existent books one at a time because that’s just good practice wherever I’m published.
  2. I will wait for six months for this querying cycle on Prodigies to complete, researching self-publishing and self-marketing as I go.
  3. If at the end of those six months I don’t have any takers, I will self-publish Prodigies. You will hear a lot about this and hopefully you will read it. 🙂
  4. I will query other books as they get edited — Voyageurs will probably be the second book in the pipeline, followed by Apocalypse. And so on.

This plan doesn’t include writing. I have not written since I finished Whose Hearts are Mountains, which I am sure needs serious dev editing as do the others.  That’s only been a month and a half. I haven’t been inspired to write lately, but there are various directions I could go — a sequel to Prodigies, a sequel to Voyageurs, another book in the Archetype series, a faerie adventure/romance novel … I have enough books that need to go through the dev cycle, though, that I wouldn’t have to write for a while. But I don’t want to get rusty.

I am hoping, of course, that this hard work pays off. I don’t know why I’m getting rejections from agents except for the usual “…I’m very selective … I don’t know if I can represent this novel with the enthusiasm it deserves.” (Question: If it deserves enthusiasm, why aren’t you — oh, never mind.) But at least I have a plan so that I’m not at the mercy of judgments about “what sells”. I just know that I write for a reason, and I want to see what that reason is.

Update — not knowing

Sorry I have not written lately — I’m still feeling discouraged, still struggling. I’ve sent the rest of my queries out for Prodigies, and I know there’s always a chance one of the agents sends me a request for a whole manuscript. If I don’t get a nibble, I’m not sure what to do next with Prodigies.

I mean this literally. I don’t know what to do.

My friend Lynn tells me that it’s okay not to know. I do very poorly with not knowing. It might have to do with my disordered childhood, but there it is: I don’t like not knowing. I don’t like not having a plan B, and right now I don’t.

Except I do. I have Voyageurs in dev edit, and I can ship it out next. I will send Apocalypse to the developmental editor next, and there are other novels to be dev edited.

I don’t know when to quit, perhaps. I don’t know how to quit.

Maybe if I found something else that fulfills me as much as writing does, I would quit it. But I haven’t.

PS: I may be having mood swings right now because of the high stress of finals. Please be patient.