Thursday, January 31, 2019

Post-From-the-Past, January Archives

"There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes." --William Makepeace Thackeray

Thackeray's quote resonates with me as I enter my tenth year of blogging. Ten years! And over the years, the number of blog posts--and thousands of thoughts I didn't even know I had--has grown, now numbering 440. So in this, my tenth year, I thought I'd go back in the archives and highlight a post-from-the-past each month. A re-post, yes, a revisit, a re-encounter...

Traveling then back to the records of January 2012:

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Aim, Shoot, Bull's Eye: Targets for a New Year

 "It's the sheer act of writing, more than anything else, that makes a writer." --John Gardner

Call it semantics, but I've decided to set writing "targets" rather than resolutions for the new year. The "dart board"--what I'm aiming for--is to write every day. No matter how much, how little--my goal is to hit at least one of four targets every day. Each is represented by the graduated concentric circles of a dart board. (I wish I could diagram this, but such design skills aren't in my repertoire yet!) 

The four targets include:

1. The Bull's Eye: Write 1000 words. I hope to hit this mark more often than not in this new year. But that is the real prize, and often hard to attain. So if circumstances--like life's challenges away from the computer--preclude this then I'll aim for...

2. The Inside Ring: Write two pages. Linda Sue Park, author of the 2002 Newbery Medal Winner A Single Shard, in an interview over at Cuppa Jolie, said: "My most valuable tip came from Katherine Paterson, who wrote in an essay about how she tries to finish 2 pages a day. I read that when I was starting work on my first novel, and it was a huge light-bulb moment. I thought, I can do that! I don't know if I can ever write a whole novel, but I sure as heck can write 2 pages a day. I've written every single one of my novels that way, and I'm positive I never would have written even one if I hadn't read that tip." Still and all, though, if time is at a premium on a busy day, I will at least shoot for...

3. The Middle Ring: Write for 15 minutes. Dan Goodwin, at Coach Creative, says: "Create every day and you get used to starting creative sessions quickly and easily. They become a routine, a habit, and you begin before you've had a chance to procrastinate. The less often you create, the harder it becomes to get started, and the more excuses and 'urgent' tasks that have to be done before you create begin to stack up...(so) start today, set aside 15 minutes, make an appointment with your creativity, and write it down. Do the same tomorrow." Yet, being realistic, on days I can't even do that I will at least...

4. The Outer Ring: Write ten words. This from Mary E. Pearson, on a guest post at Dear Editor: "When I feel like I can't move forward, I will do all kinds of things to help me keep going, like...Trick myself. I sit down to write and tell myself I only have to write ten words and then I can get up and do whatever I want guilt-free. TEN. That's all. But I have to do it every day." She says it's amazing how allowing yourself ten simple words more often than not jumpstarts the writing process and you end up writing more than you thought you would.

So there you have it, my targets for 2012. Every day, hit at least one. Now my aim might be poor at the beginning. After all, I haven't been all that consistent in the past. But with practice, who knows what will come. I'm looking forward to finding out.

What are your writing targets for the new year?

And returning to the present, I recommend an article posted by Mary Carroll Moore: Your Writing Life: The Benefits of an End-of-Year Review. Ms. Moore, whose tag line to her blog is "How to Plan, Write, and Develop a Book," poses questions to ask ourselves in review, questions such as what did I want to have happen with my writing life this past year? what steps did I take to bring that about? what was my biggest ah-ha moment? my actual accomplishments? where did I find the most satisfaction or joy? Good reading here, with a proposed review process that I'm now in the middle of. You might want to check it out. 

Happy reviewing, goal-setting, and target shooting in 2019!


  1. I'm not really doing a resolution. I guess I think of it more as an overall goal - not X pages per day but trying to finish a task (like a chapter or a revision). Are you still using the targets?

    1. Peggy, reviewing this old post was actually a good reminder for me--and I can see how through the years I've applied each of the targets at different times. But mostly it just boils down to one simple thing: "time." Will I really choose to write, and not procrastinate? Time slips away so easily and I need to be more intentional. So target #3 is my goal for the year in one variation or another, and we'll see where it takes me. I did follow Ms. Moore's advice about reviewing last year's work and, although I don't have any earthshaking results to report, still I'm encouraged to keep going for a while longer...

      So glad to know that you continue to write, too. Here's to another year of getting those words down for both of us!

  2. Congrats, Kenda, on 10 years of blogging. That alone is an achievement, but your posts have ALWAYS been of such outstanding quality that it nearly boggles the mind. And would make me a tad bit jealous, if I were the type. ;) Please, keep your blog going for another 10 years, or more.

    I've had an intermittent online presence for nearly as long, however I hop around too much, try too many new things, quit blogs, start blogs, delete scads of posts, due to my constantly evolving identity ... which is indicative of my messy, evolving life. No wonder I've never gotten anywhere in my writing. I just can't seem to stick with anything. I've gone from writing for YA to Christian fiction, back to YA, back to Christian fiction, and now ... maybe just (clean) historical romance.

    I love the idea of the bull's eye approach.
    I also plan to check out Moore's website. I did not write at all last year, but am working toward getting back to it, and blogging, and Instagram-ing. Crawling out of a deep hole ...

    Best wishes to you and for your writing in 2019.

    1. Cathy, you are so kind :-) And I say thanks to you--and to Peggy. You've both been such encouragers to me through the years. And then there's the critique you did for me. It's thanks to you that I'm even entertaining the thought of revisions, you were so helpful to give me much needed direction. The book may never see the light of publication, but at least I have an idea now of how to make it better...

      Doing an end-of-the-year (or in your case, maybe lump it into the last five years?) review of your work might encourage you, too. Your completed manuscripts, awards, and an agent? You've already accomplished a lot and are way ahead of me. So, no matter what target you choose, may you enjoy the process as you go. Wishing you all the best :-)

  3. This is a nice reminder for me to try the 2 pages a day. I've been busy researching for a WIP and also researching markets for a chapter book I've written. Consequently, the current WIP has bogged down completely. Maybe even the 15 minutes a day can get me re-started.

    On another note, are you planning to take part in the 30 poems in the NaPoWriMo contest this April?

  4. Glad the post has been helpful, Elizabeth--here's wishing you a good 're-boot'! As for April's poetry, I haven't decided if I'm going to enter NaPoWriMo or not, but for sure I want to pick some kind of poetry challenge. Looking forward to April and its poetry surprises :-)