Saturday, August 6, 2016

Checking In: Challenges Update

Here are my updated goals from My Write Club.  I'm hitting it on many 
of them, behind on some, and I've missed the deadline on some, but it's 
been a wonderful writing year so far. 
You may remember early in the year when I talked about how much I love a challenge.  Maybe you're wondering if I still do.  The answer is, yes!  Absolutely.

My husband is lucky.  He goes to his office and people tell him, more or less, what to do.  He gets to decide how to do it, and he can pull things onto his plate, but mostly, his job is defined for him by some larger power or by the contracts he earns for his company.

Me, I have to decide what to do based on what I'd like to accomplish, what I'm interested in, and what I think will sell.  It's difficult.  I've been tempted to go to work as someone who does work for hire, and I may do that in the children's non-fiction market, but for now, I'm trying to give myself over to work that I think will build the career I want.  So much of what I achieve depends on how other people--agents, publishers, readers--respond to my work.  But what I accomplish depends on me.

So, I'm doing pretty well with the challenges.  I've taken four trips to Africa and one to Asia this year for the work I get paid for.  I've overseen huge renovations on my house (and done some of them myself).  I've thrown a fun party to celebrate my son and his soon-to-be spouse's graduation, their move to Tucson, and their upcoming marriage.  I've gone on a two-week trip to Italy with my husband.  And still, I've done a lot of the writing work that no one (yet) pays me for and no one orders me to do.

I've written seven picture books and read nearly 600.  I've written over 140 poems. I've read 61 other books--some poetry, some craft, some historical fiction--all grist for the mill that is this writer's brain.  I've posted on my blog nearly every week and started some regular features here (check out Writing Prompt Wednesdays which are allowing me to use to the photographs I've taken all over the world to inspire you).  I've sent out poems to journals.  I've sent out books to agents.  I've met with writers and attended a major writing workshop. I am, as I have for the past seven-plus years, building my own career, one word at a time.

No one pats me on the back (except my close writing friends) or gives me a bonus (good thing my husband gets those), but the work is meaningful and wonderful nonetheless.

So, did I challenge myself too much? Am I spending too much time counting and touting what I've done and not enough time doing the work?  I don't think so.  I don't have a boss to tell me what to do or to pat me on the back, so I take on the role once in a while.

Hopefully, some day that will be taken care of by my agent, Publisher's Weekly, and Hornbook. Now, it's just me trying to keep myself on track. So far, so good. Except for Christine and my daily word count. I think I've worked out the issue with Christine, and since I've been focusing on poetry and picture books this year, I'm okay with a word count that's lower than my goal.

There's one goal I'm not tracking on My Write Club but that was recommended by Kim Liao over at Lit Hub.  I'm up to 54 rejections.  Maybe I can reach Liao's recommended 100 rejections this year as well.

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