04 January 2012

IWSG: New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had enough rest and time with family.

Huge thanks, once again, to Alex Cavanaugh for creating the Insecure Writer's Support Group!
It is a pleasure to be a part of such an encouraging group of writers.

These last three months I've been very much encouraged by everyone who has visited this blog, so thank you to my readers too!

I don't like to get too wrapped up in resolutions for the new year, but I do have some goals. I thought I'd share them on this post, and hopefully they'll encourage you all while helping me stay focused. Also, if you'd come back and check on me, I'd certainly appreciate the accountability!

1. Read more about writing. Later in this post I'm going to share a helpful quote from a grammar book I'm reading; the clear directives in this book have made me want to read more from talented writers and teachers about how to write well.

2. Read more. Well, duh. As Iyer says, "reading is the best school of writing..."

3. Use this blog to sharpen my writing. I want to post at least twice a week, three times if time and ideas permit. This goal also includes participating in more blog fests, hops, and challenges. I'm already planning my posts for the April A-Z challenge, and if you know of any other events, tell me!

4. Submit to literary journals. This includes the new journal put on by Jessica Bell and Dawn Ius, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and others as well. Again, if you know of online journals share them with me!

Also, stop by on Friday - I have an exciting announcement! (Hint, hint.)

5. Query at least two agents and/or two publishers. My first novel is begging me to work on it, and although I named last year the year of the agent, my goal was too lofty. I think I can handle a couple more queries this year.

When I set out to create these goals, my intention was to make them doable, which includes keeping the list short and simple. In order to sharpen my writing overall, and not just with this blog, I am challenged by this quote that I promised above; I hope it will encourage you:

"Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all sentences short or avoid all detail and treat subjects only in outline, but that every word tell."

If you don't own a copy of The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, you need to pick it up. It's a great lens through which to view all your writing. The 50th anniversary edition also includes an intro and essay on writing from E.B. White, a student of Strunk.


Nancy Thompson said...

It's always a good thing to have goals. I keep a few myself. Much better than resolutions. Good luck with yours. They sound good and easily attainable.

FYI - four really good books on writing are:

The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass

Writing the Breakout Novel, also by lit agent Donald Maass

On Writing by Stephen Kink

Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I followed from Alex's blog. In fact, now you have a new Follower! I wish you luck in obtaining your publishing dreams. My Insecure Post is WE GUESS WITH OUR FEARS, on how to deal with form rejections and how to write winning query letters, Roland

WritingNut said...

Visiting from IWSG :) These are great goals... I wish you the best of luck.

This sounds like a very helpful book on writing, I will check it out.

Man O' Clay said...

Thanks for the titles Nancy!

Nice to meet you Roland and WN - I'll check out your posts for sure, and thanks for following Roland!

RachelMaryBean said...

Sounds like a great book to check out. Thanks!

Heather M. Gardner said...

Best of luck.
I'm not any good with resolutions but I do like to have a few easy goals so that I feel better when I accomplish them.
Thanks for coming to visit.

Tonja said...

I bought that book for my niece a couple of years ago when she was in 9th grade. She looked like she wanted to hit me up side the head with it. She'll appreciate it later.

Lydia Kang said...

I'm definitely going to read more. It's a goal with very little suffering involved!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Excellent list! And glad you're on board for the A to Z Challenge. We have a big announcement tomorrow!
And my favorite book on writing is Save the Cat.

Rusty Webb said...

Strunk & White is a classic. Good luck querying - it's such a soul sucking experience.

BragonDorn said...

Best of luck with your goals :)

Man O' Clay said...

Tonja, I'm still laughing; she will appreciate it later.

Alex, thanks for the suggestion - I'll check it out.

And once again, IWSG is a success - thanks to all who've stopped by!

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