Posted by: devonellington | January 3, 2009

GDRs 2009, Questions 13 – 25

Here are the remainder of my initial answers for the 2009 questions.

13. What is the greatest gift to your writing self you can give?

January: Time and focus.

14. What do you need to renegotiate with other factions in your life to give yourself more writing time?

January: I need to manage my own emotions better so that interruptions don’t throw me for a loop for hours on end. Drop it and move on. Also, this year, I have to take a long, hard look at whether or not I should do Nano. It threw a monkey wrench into several things this past November. Although I’m glad I got to play with the idea for the mystery begun in the workshop, I had too many other deadlines looming over me that didn’t get the attention they deserved because I was caught up in Nano. And I ended up feeling frustrated all the way around.

15. Decide on one writing risk for this year – be it a submission in a new genre, attending a conference, or trying something completely out of your comfort zone. Write about it, and set yourself a loose timeline to accomplish it.

January: I don’t know what this is yet. I’m still trying to figure it out. Maybe co-write something with a friend and fellow writer – we’d discussed it last year, but haven’t managed to get back to more discussions.

16. What new and unique marketing arenas will you enter this year to promote both yourself and your work?

January: I’m seriously considering purchasing a page on the Long and Short site. I’m trying to be more active in loops, and more supportive of my fellow writers on a regular basis. I think I also need to create a speaking platform and seek out more speaking engagements.

17. What do you need to do to enhance your self-esteem so you refer to yourself as “writer” FIRST when someone asks you to define yourself?

January: This is how I refer to myself and how I define myself. For me, this is a non-issue.

18. What kind of time commitment are you willing to make on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to support your writing?

January: Focus the bulk of my day on writing, revising, marketing, and searching for jobs each day. Fill in with other stuff only as needed.

19. What other elements needs to balance with your writing? What happens when you feel unbalanced?

January: Fitness, which for me, is primarily yoga. Spending time with friends and family. Traveling. Going to museums. Reading, especially material that I’m not paid to read or need to read for research, but am reading “just because”. When I don’t take percolation time and down time, I can’t create.

20. What contract are you willing to make with yourself to prevent writing from falling farther down on your priority list when “life gets in the way”?

January: No one will “give” me the time. I have to create the time and space to write. If I don’t achieve my writing goals, the only one to blame is myself. It’s up to me to set boundaries and to reshuffle as life requires.

21. How do your writing goals for the year fit into your dreams for the future?

January: Writing is the foundation of my future.

22. What resolutions do you make to integrate your writing and the rest of your life?

January: It is integrated. I just need to up the payment ante.

23. How do these goals fit into your three year plan? Your five year plan? Your ten year plan?

January: The writing is the springboard to everything else. I want the Jain Lazarus Adventures complete in three years. The Gwen/Justin adventures will be complete within five years, and I have several other multi-book projects that I want to write, market, and get published within the next ten years, along with everything else and all the new ideas that come up. I also want to keep playwriting as an integral part of my professional writing life.

24. Name one new non-writing element you plan to introduce into your life (and that might give you something new about which to write).

January: There are several non-writing elements I want to introduce into my life, but they have to wait until I move.

I want to find a good and supportive yoga studio.

I want a garden (one where I can grow a mixture of flowers, herbs, and vegetables)

I want to learn how to play the piano

I want to take a pottery class

I want to play at paining (as in pictures, not walls)

Not all of that will happen this year, but I hope that some of it will.

One of the goals I can put into practice is to not rush my yoga practice, even when I feel time pressure to get other things done. By taking the time out for my daily practice, I come back to the page far more focused and productive, so it is not time lost, but time gained. And that’s the way I need to look at it, when I’m feeling deadline pressure – which is almost all the time.

25. Name one non-writing element in your life that gets in the way of your writing that you commit to giving up or limiting and, instead, devote that time to writing.

January: I became a news junkie leading up to last fall’s election. I need to cut back on that. Not only is it cutting into my writing time, it depresses me. We are responsible for knowing what’s going on in the world and taking the action to change it. Apathy = condonement. However, I don’t need to remain glued to the set for hours on end. I’d be better off making the world a better place through my writing.

GOALS FOR 2009:

Increased writing output and quality, in both longer and shorter projects

Landing a couple of regular, well-paying clients

Expand my marketing techniques and speaking engagements

Move

More efficient time managment

DREAMS FOR 2009:

Live in my own house with a garden

Travel more

Start either piano, pottery, or painting

RESOLUTIONS FOR 2009:

Take the needed time for yoga, fitness, and percolation time

Stay out of creating a 9-5 trap within the freelance world

Search for the kindness and the good in stressful situations; I feel I took a very negative turn in my outlook last year.

Spend more time in my private, handwritten journal

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Responses

  1. Devon, some things – many things – are out of our own control, and you had a lot of that to deal with last year. Despite that, you did deal with it and you got on with it, while still keeping on top of the stuff you could control. You deserve a massive pat on the back. Thanks for being a continual inspiration – for me at least.

    I’ll do my 13 – 25 tomorrow. :o)

  2. Hello, Devon,

    I’m working on these questions, 1-12 as well. May post them to Soul Echoes, in the next day or so. But, my recent post speaks to my resolution of Renewal. I gave thought to that back in October; during Muse2008.

    ANYway, will post my answer to 13-25 soon.

    Many Blessings to your achieving yours!!!!

  3. Also over on my blog (http://dianeparkin.blogspot.com).

    13. What is the greatest gift to your writing self you can give?

    My new 2009 mantra: JUST DO IT. I need to discipline myself to get my bum on that seat and DO IT.

    14. What do you need to renegotiate with other factions in your life to give yourself more writing time?

    The sitting-around-doing-nothing time I think is the best place to start. I’ve already culled my television watching to after 9pm, and that’s not even every night. I’ve also started to buy Radio Times so I know what’s coming up on the radio as I like to sit and work/read along to very quiet classical music I’ve recently discovered.

    I could also work one day a week at home, which would use less petrol and give me at least an extra hour in which to work – I could also start the day job earlier and so finish earlier. My boss is already quite happy for me to do that. I may make that my alternate Thursday, as the other one is a day off.

    15. Decide on one writing risk for this year – be it a submission in a new genre, attending a conference, or trying something completely out of your comfort zone. Write about it, and set yourself a loose timeline to accomplish it.

    I think my writing risk for this year is to try and write 3 novels.

    16. What new and unique marketing arenas will you enter this year to promote both yourself and your work?

    I don’t think I will this year. I think I need to just get going again first, and maybe consider this next year. I’ve been listed on Society of Authors contacts page and the NUJ, but as I’m no longer a member of either …

    17. What do you need to do to enhance your self-esteem so you refer to yourself as “writer” FIRST when someone asks you to define yourself?

    This is how I’ve always referred to myself. I mean, people training to be a nurse don’t say: “I’m training to be a nurse”. They say: “I’m a nurse.” What’s the difference?

    RANT ALERT: And this reminds me of point 6 from the first 12 questions. I can think of no other profession in the world where you have to work for nothing or a pittance while you work your way up. A trainee nurse gets a good, basic wage. A trainee journalist/writer gets nothing. (Unless they’re lucky enough to get a job on the local paper or similar, in which they then do get a pittance of a wage for a 50+ hour week.) Can you imagine if you worked for the water board and they said: “Sorry, love, but until you’ve proved yourself, we’re not paying you.” Or: “Okay, we’ll give you a fiver an hour, but you’d better be good or I can just choose from all these other hundreds of enthusiasts that are willing to work for free.” Did you know that the average author earns just £7k per year? For hours and hours of work? Would YOU do that? I don’t think so. (Rant over.)

    18. What kind of time commitment are you willing to make on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to support your writing?

    I’ve already scheduled in writing time every day. If I’m at home, it’s all the time after I’ve done other essential stuff – like correspondence, finances, and filing (cough, cough). If I’m working, I’ve worked in at least an hour every evening, but more often 2 hours.

    19. What other elements needs to balance with your writing? What happens when you feel unbalanced?

    I think this is my love life – or not, as the case may be. If I’m happy in life, then I’m happy in my writing. If I’m unhappy or lonely or feeling as though people are take, take, take and giving nothing back, it drains me. This also comes under the “energy vampire” previously mentioned. Much of this is out of my control. How I deal with it, though, is within my control. This is where I need to balance things out the most.

    20. What contract are you willing to make with yourself to prevent writing from falling farther down on your priority list when “life gets in the way”?

    It’s fallen down my list so far already I can’t afford for it to fall any further. This is as far as it goes. The turnaround starts now.

    21. How do your writing goals for the year fit into your dreams for the future?

    Quite well. I’d love a publishing contract, but it won’t come to me if I just sit here.

    22. What resolutions do you make to integrate your writing and the rest of your life?

    I have a special section just for writing. (See previous resolutions here: http://dianeparkin.blogspot.com/2009/01/happy-new-year.html.) These also work with the balance part.

    23. How do these goals fit into your three year plan? Your five year plan? Your ten year plan?

    I don’t have 3-, 5-, or 10-year plans yet. I’m just getting started with my 1-year plan.

    24. Name one new non-writing element you plan to introduce into your life (and that might give you something new about which to write).

    I want to get to the theatre or the ballet this year. Reviews are very short pieces of work, can be fit into tight blocks of time, and turn out to be well paid if you do enough of them. I already do reviews for the rock gigs I go to. I’d like to branch out into a local What’s On, if we have one, and take it from there. These “reviews” would come under “fillers” this year.

    25. Name one non-writing element in your life that gets in the way of your writing that you commit to giving up or limiting and, instead, devote that time to writing.

    If I go out and have a late night, I then have a late start the next day. This then eats into whatever writing time I’ve managed to carve out for myself. If I have too much to drink, I lose the next 2 days – whole days. I stopped drinking “too much” when I had to start driving everywhere. Perhaps I could leave a gig at a certain time in order to get home in good time to get a good night’s sleep before work the next day. (I already stay in on nights before day job work days.)

  4. 13. What is the greatest gift to your writing self you can give?

    Would it be time? I commit a huge amount already.
    Devotion? Nobody can doubt me.
    Publication? Only hard work and perseverance can achieve this – I can’t gift it to myself.
    A higher level within my craft? I suspect this is getting closer but this isn’t something I can pinpoint precisely.
    What “gift” could I give myself when writing is already a gift?

    I can’t answer this.

    14. What do you need to renegotiate with other factions in your life to give yourself more writing time?

    Not sure I could find more time without risking a divorce. Being honest, I’m not sure I want more writing time unless I could reduce my day-job working time – which I can’t. I’ve learnt the hard way how important downtime is away from writing (although never out of mind), but from the computer and the notebook – it’s vital to staying charged and focused.

    15. Decide on one writing risk for this year – be it a submission in a new genre, attending a conference, or trying something completely out of your comfort zone. Write about it, and set yourself a loose timeline to accomplish it.

    I’m not. I intend to focus this year mainly on the development of my fiction, and I intend to give myself the best chance possible of being published and meeting my Dreams.

    16. What new and unique marketing arenas will you enter this year to promote both yourself and your work?

    I will introduce videos and podcasts to my blog.

    17. What do you need to do to enhance your self-esteem so you refer to yourself as “writer” FIRST when someone asks you to define yourself?

    I already do, but having a major piece of fiction published will complete this by proving it.
    Continue to widen and make my freelance business more successful.
    Promote myself more naturally when opportunities arise.

    18. What kind of time commitment are you willing to make on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to support your writing?

    As I’m doing: 5am – 8am; 1pm – 2pm; 6pm – 10pm

    19. What other elements needs to balance with your writing? What happens when you feel unbalanced?

    If I’m unbalanced I can’t write. I become constricted in my head, can’t focus, and can’t be creative. I most often feel this way when I feel I don’t have the support of my family.
    To create a balance I need to ensure my writing time does not encroach on family time, and that family time does not encroach on writing time.
    I also need to find a way to convince those who remain unconvinced, that I’m not a pretend writer, I’m not doing it for a cheap laugh, and it is something that is serious to me.
    They need to understand that I am being affected by their negativity and refusal to acknowledge me as a writer, ergo, who I am.

    20. What contract are you willing to make with yourself to prevent writing from falling farther down on your priority list when “life gets in the way”?

    I don’t let it, unless it really needs to.

    21. How do your writing goals for the year fit into your dreams for the future?

    They are directly related to achieving my dreams and long-term goals.

    22. What resolutions do you make to integrate your writing and the rest of your life?

    I think they are integrated enough and I like a certain degree of separation.

    23. How do these goals fit into your three year plan? Your five year plan? Your ten year plan?

    My GDRs are directly related to giving me the best chance possible of achieving all of these things, whether short, medium, or long term.

    24. Name one new non-writing element you plan to introduce into your life (and that might give you something new about which to write).

    Research and build my family tree.

    25. Name one non-writing element in your life that gets in the way of your writing that you commit to giving up or limiting and, instead, devote that time to writing.

    I’m putting in as much time as I can so this doesn’t really apply.

    GOALS
    ——–
    1. Have a major piece of fiction accepted for publication.
    2. Complete and submit two fully drafted novels and one novella.
    3. Write one new novel and one new novella (dependent on completing Goal 2).
    4. Write one new poem per week.
    5. Write one new short/flash story per month.
    6. Publish a new chapbook.
    7. Increase my freelance earnings by 50%
    8. Become 100% debt-free.

    DREAMS
    ———-
    1. To obtain the services of an agent.
    2. To have a novel bought by a publisher in a traditional book deal.
    3. To win a fiction competition.

    RESOLUTIONS
    ——————
    1. Reach target weight.
    2. Personal Resolution.

    Note: Some of these questions I never used in my full GDR for the year: http://www.colingalbraith.co.uk/images/blog/gdr2009.pdf – but have answered here based on what I did put down.

  5. Diane:
    Great stuff. I love your mantra.
    I decided that my mantra for the year is: No Excuses.

    I agree completely with your rant. People in the arts, in general, are punished for expecting and demanding to make a living doing what they love by the people who hate what they do for a living and feel the need to punish everyone else. We each have to draw our lines and make sure it stops. We have the right to love our jobs.

    I agree with the adjustments — generally, when I stay out late, I don’t have the option of a late start, I still have to get an early start, so it’s the sleep that suffers. Fortunately, most of the time I don’t need much sleep, but sleep deprivation does take its toll over time.

    Colin:
    I think, as you keep moving forward in your writing, in reference to question 19, you will find that the negative people either fall away or you’ll cut them out of your life as deadwood. Unless they’re related to you and you can’t get rid of them (and your family seems quite supportive), the rest aren’t worth the effort, in most cases.

    Great, logical lists, both of you

  6. Okaaay, here’s my 13-25!

    13. What is the greatest gift to your writing self you can give?

    The true knowing that my thoughts and words have value.

    14. What do you need to renegotiate with other factions in your life to give yourself more writing time?

    Last year was about coming to terms with my physical limitations. Both the online writers conference in Oct., and pushing to accomplish NaNoWriMo in Nov., were valuable reminders and lessons that will help me better navigate my goals for 2009.

    15. Decide on one writing risk for this year – be it a submission in a new genre, attending a conference, or trying something completely out of your comfort zone. Write about it, and set yourself a loose timeline to accomplish it.

    ScriptFrenzy in April—finish: Remembrance

    I posted the idea in the Muse2008 short script forum and she really liked my idea. Needless to say, that gave me the drive to want to see it to fruition.

    16. What new and unique marketing arenas will you enter this year to promote both yourself and your work?

    I keep adding elements to my Soul Echoes blog, I’d like to try a trailer some day, or a podcast maybe. Check out the audio I did for my Chronicles site: http://members.tripod.com/heartsong2000-ivil/theforbiddenworldchronicles/ I’d like to have a little more time, though, than the minute tripod allows, and not feel so rushed.
    And, I just opened up a FaceBook account: http://www.facebook.com/people/Laura-Abbott/1095621661#/profile.php?id=1095621661&ref=name, but still need to dress it up, and have yet to establish any writerly contacts.

    But, one my list of goals 2009 is to brush up my bio site [especially since Muse2008], into something more professional looking, and not just the About Me webpage that currently exists.

    17. What do you need to do to enhance your self-esteem so you refer to yourself as “writer” FIRST when someone asks you to define yourself?

    Having something traditionally published, I suppose might be the first step. Otherwise, I’m just someone with a hobby.

    18. What kind of time commitment are you willing to make on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis to support your writing?

    I’m generally up here every morning and throughout the day. One of my goals for the next few days is to get my desk more organized, planners, files, projects, etc.

    19. What other elements needs to balance with your writing?
    My body, mind, and spirit.

    What happens when you feel unbalanced?
    I’m totally unproductive; immobilized.

    20. What contract are you willing to make with yourself to prevent writing from falling farther down on your priority list when “life gets in the way”?

    A contract that makes me look at my writing as a job, and not just another one of my numerous artistic endeavors.

    21. How do your writing goals for the year fit into your dreams for the future?

    My financial future looks pretty depressing; frighteningly ominous and insecure. I’ve hoped to use my writing to help supplement my limited income. But I keep seeing articles regarding the dismal state of the publishing industry of late, and now I find my hopes/goals juuuust a little more daunting.

    I need to determine the best direction, to achieve the best efforts.

    22. What resolutions do you make to integrate your writing and the rest of your life?

    I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions, but times— they are a changin’! I need to determine—resolve that I AM a writer, in the business of writing

    23. How do these goals fit into your three year plan? Your five year plan? Your ten year plan?

    I’m not even close to determining what these are!

    24. Name one new non-writing element you plan to introduce into your life (and that might give you something new about which to write).

    Refocusing on/re-establishing my Renewal Journal?
    Sprouting~whole foods/Dehydrating~food storage.
    Quilting, knitting, artistic projects.

    25. Name one non-writing element in your life that gets in the way of your writing that you commit to giving up or limiting and, instead, devote that time to writing.

    When I’m relegated to the couch in recovery mode, the tv is always on. Though that is the time I use to knit. I can also determine the need to commit to turning it off, and use that time for issues related to writing, i.e. hardcopy research, etc. Wish I had a laptop or one of those AlphaSmarts.


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