It’s Been Quiet…Too Quiet

Hello.

I’ve been neglecting this space for some months now. I don’t think anyone noticed yet, so let’s pretend this is a brand new project. Just ignore those old posts; they were written by an entirely different person.

So, hello. I’m Rachel, and I’m throwing words into the cyber ether with the hope some of them will filter through to your eyeballs. Maybe they’ll be useful to you.

In the past I’ve tried to do too many different things in this space, and I’ve failed to keep up with them. Now is the time to change that. I want to talk about writing, what struggles I’m having, and what I see out there that I admire. That’s it.

It’s a potentially broad focus, but that’s what I’ll be looking at. I intend to read considerably more in the coming year, too, in order to learn, and grow, and see what’s going on out there.

I tried to get back to this blogging routine with the start of NaNoWriMo, but that fell off my radar fast. I continued to plug away at my NaNo novel though. I wrote every day—a first. I lost anyway—not a first. I have half a novel, 30,000 words, and the rest planned out in detail (at least for me it’s detail). I put that project on hold after November 30th. It needs more research before I can go on.

I also had a rough situation going on at work, which only resolved in time for the chaos of the holidays. Then I got sick. Looming over all of this personal mayhem has been the specter of the election and its results, as well as the continuing train of public icons passing away. I try to remain philosophical about the deaths of the famous, but this year’s deaths hit hard and were unrelenting. It’s been a rough year for many people. Things have since settled down in my life, so here I am: new year, new goals, new direction.

I’ve been in my head too long. It’s time to get out.

Here’s my plan:

1. Read a lot in 2017.

Not only read a lot, but read with discernment. I have a BA in English Literature, might as well flex my literary criticism muscles and really analyze those books. I want to focus on phrasing, word choice, what works and what falls short.

2. Write a lot.

I have a stack of unfinished stories haunting me. I looked through it and some have real potential. I need to finish what I start.

3. Edit the suck out of my first novel.

I actually finished writing one thing, but I’m far from done with it. There’s a reason the first draft is often called the ‘rough draft.’

4. Explore other formats of sharing.

I’m bad at social media, bad at adhering to a set blogging schedule, and hesitant to interact online. I run sarcastic and dry humor just doesn’t translate well into 140 characters. I need to work on my people skills. That’s where the stories are, out with people.

I’m also considering some self improvement goals. I want to get in shape. Exercise quiets my mind so I can get work done on my writing. I’m also looking at my options for further schooling. Not that I think an MFA or other master’s degree is the Holy Grail of artistic achievement. (Publication seems closer to that.) I only got my undergrad degree after much wailing and gnashing of teeth and fighting my own demons of Stupidity and Selfishness. I’d like to try doing school again, for myself, this time with a firm understanding of the requirements and my own weaknesses. I want to do it right, and I have the focus and drive I lacked the first time around. Probably, this won’t happen as my GPA works against me, but I can try. I won’t talk about school much on here, if I get accepted, except in relation to writing projects. I just wanted to get my goals out there. Accountability, you know.

So that’s a quick look back at 2016 and a long plan forward into 2017.

Care to join me?

P.S. My first task is to finish the books I started in 2016 and carried over, unfinished, into the new year. After that I plan to be more deliberate in both my selections and my analyses. Not sure yet what form that will take. I might vlog on Youtube. I’m using BookRiot’s 2017 Read Harder Challenge guidelines. I’ll be setting up a separate page devoted to tracking my progress.

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