Writing Deliberately

Time to commit to my writing goals for the year. I'm currently reading James Scott Bell who always manages to give me a good kick in the seat with his books.  In Just Write, he coaches writers to set a weekly word goal and add 10%,  plan your weeks, prioritize, take advantage of your best hour of your day, and ask yourself 'what's the best use of my time right now?"  I think I may need a separate word goal for fiction, otherwise my entire writing quota will be fulfilled by free writing in the morning and I won't make any progress with fiction.  

January I've devoted to getting back in the writing habit. For the past couple weeks, I have aimed to move forward  with my writing practice and thought about how I'm going to put some of those 10,000 hours to use. In addition to the plan, some days I'm not going to limit myself and let my mood carry me to work on whatever comes to mind. 


I am trying to free write daily which has been mostly successful with a combination of morning pages, journal, story scenes and ideas, poetry, and whatever else comes to mind. Work days have been a little iffy, but I have managed to squeeze in 10 minutes in the morning most days. 

Goal: Write at least four days a week /  500 words a day. 

Daily Read with once a week prompt:  I am currently working through a couple books:   A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 days of encouragement and inspiration by Barbara Abercrombie which also includes 52 writing prompts.  I planned to read one entry a day, but invariably end up reading several because each entry spurs me on, creating sparks of creativity, plus synchronicity matches up with my mood. Doubt starts to creep in and the reading for the day puts them to rest.  Such as today when I balked at putting my goals on the blog because that little voice inside my head was telling me you'll fail halfway through the year, so why bother.   If I do, then I'll just fail better. 

"#25 Failing Better - There's no clear path, no road without potholes, toward a piece of writing that says exactly what you mean to say in language that's clear and fresh.  A couple of writers I know have a quote by Samuel Becket about failing better hanging over their desks. My personal favorite failure quote is by Thomas Edison. 'I didn't fail one thousand times. The light bulb was an invention with one thousand steps.' What we need to do is think of all our failed drafts as simple steps toward the final one, the one that works."

Once a Week:  Plus 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration with one list per week along with an action item.   Week one began in Winter - I'm currently on week four.   


A few years ago I discovered the joy of the personal essay and flash non fiction writing. I lead a class using Moore's Rose Metal Press Field Guide to writing flash non fiction which was very enlightening and cathartic.  But I never took the time to work through the Rose Field Guide to Writing flash Fiction edited by Tara Masih.  

Goal:   25 chapters, 25 short short stories approximately 250 to 1000 words long.  Aim to utilize with current WIP but allow for new characters and stories to pop in.

During another class we worked through the first five chapters in Dinty Moore's Crafting the Personal Essay which I thoroughly enjoyed so I decided to dive back in.  

Goal:  18 chapters - 18 weeks = 18 essays.   Aim to utilize and submit on blog or to online sources. 

I'm trying to decide whether it would be better to do essay writing or flash fiction once a week while revising current WIP as I'll be working with characters and scenes.  Think I'll take it one month at a time and see what happens.

Which brings me full circle to My Two Blessing as I'll be posting some of the essays online. 

"To blog is therefore to let go of your writing in a way, to hold it at arm’s length, open it to scrutiny, allow it to float in the ether for a while, and to let others, as Montaigne did, pivot you toward relative truth."  Andrew Sullivan: Why I blog -  The Atlantic

Goal: Post at least twice a week.  

Monthly and first quarter

I finished typing the first draft of my current fictional work in progress, WIP-RT.   I included a few new scenes in the process which changed the story line and now I have a few plot holes. I need to analyze and figure out which scenes work and which don't, have a talk with my characters, Spackle, cut, and paste, and revise, review again until I am sure the structure is sound before I release it to be professionally edited or beta tested.  

  • Outline chapters and complete story board.
  • Write new scenes and revise old 
  • Character building

Quarterly review 

Do I have the 'my eyes are bigger than my stomach' syndrome' and over extended or puttering along nicely? 

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. 
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. ~Helen Keller

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