Monday, January 9, 2012

Writing in 140: Seeing Down Writing Journey's Road

In January 2011, I wrote about stretching yourself as a writer. This New Year, how about we think about our future writing self? In your writing career, where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years? What projects are you writing? How many? Are you self-publishing or going the traditional route? Have you moved into writing articles and non-fiction to promote your fictional works? Are you now writing screenplays? Coaching and editing? It's great to think yearly and organize what projects you plan to write within a year's time, but it's equally great (and important) to stop and widen, deepen the view of your writing career…and take notes. Knowing where you want to be will help you situate what you have to do now and in the immediate future in order to get there.

Writing in 140 is my attempt to say something somewhat relevant about writing in 140 words or less.

Shon Bacon is an author, doctoral candidate, editor, and educator. She has published both creatively and academically. Shon also interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her official website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy editing, writing, and pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University.

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  1. Love your new avatar, Shon.

    I've had to take a longer view this year with a toddler and a new baby. I set the ground work last year by completing a first draft of a new novel, so I plan now to edit and revise that novel, get some critiques, do more editing, run it past a professional editor, more edits, and then begin the submission process. In parallel, I'll continue producing the short stories I began writing at the beginning of last year with the aim of self-publishing a collection of six stories, in print, e-book, and audio. I think that might take me three to five years while parenting. No rush.

    HearWriteNow & Blood-Red Pencil

  2. Thanks for this encouragement. Wonderful advice!! Making long term goals helps me stay focused and helps me take things slow and steady. If I focus only on the short term, I get stressed out!

    Happy Monday!

  3. Thanks for turning our eyes toward the longer view, Shon. It is too easy for me to focus on the immediate past (The Rosen Singularity just published and getting great reviews) and the near future (finishing another novel, doing a table reading of a screenplay I have been sent for Bashert).

    Five years from now? I want to have five more novels in print, including at least one picked up by a mainstream publisher. I want the first film from my techno-thrillers to be in production. (They are all very cinematic.) And I expect to be a full-time writer and composer and part-time home gardener and handyman.

    Ten years from now? If I am still around, I want to have a long backlist to leave as a legacy for my children and grandchildren.

    --Larry Constantine (Lior Samson)

  4. Great advice. I wish I had learned about setting goals and creating a plan to achieve them much earlier in my career. I can see where that approach has some great benefits.

  5. Five years from now, I want eight books in print and be retired! With goats. LOL.

  6. Ten years from now I hope to be on the right side of the sod, not needing a drool bucket and still able to put pen to paper.

  7. Thanks, Elle, :-) Love your thoughts on where this writing journey is going to send you. I like the "No rush" at the end. I think a lot of get very FRAZZLED with the whole writing/publishing process, feeling like we have to do it NOW, NOW, NOW, or the moment will end, and our narrow time frame to "be" a writer will end.

  8. Thanks for the comments, Jen. You know, I had to force myself to broaden my view, too. I'm a great planner, but I often focus on the task RIGHT before me and forget that there are long-term goals and smaller goals needed to be implemented in order to reach that BIG goal.

  9. Hey there, Larry! Do you have electronic versions of The Rosen Singularity, too?? Great forecast for that five-year mark. You know how they say people give great advice and often don't follow it themselves? Yeah, well, I'm reading my own post, then yours, and realize I need to sit down now and do my own 5-year forecast.

  10. Maryann...I sometimes feel like that, too. It's interesting how as you get older you get a lot of A-HA moments that would have worked so well say 10, 15, 20+ years ago. Live and learn, right?

    Dani, I had to ROFL at you! Ha! The "With goats" kills me.

    Amen on that, Christopher. I'd like to be on the right side of the sod, too...with a pen still in hand!

  11. I'm embracing the idea of planning. I tend to be a seat of the pants writer. Lately, however, I've decided to write things down and even give myself a timeline to achieve those goals.

  12. Thank you for sharing this article. I love it. Keep on writing this type of great stuff.

  13. I was asked this same question at a writing workshop some ten years ago. I felt, at the time, that having a "body of work" meant, to me, eight novels. Even the one I'd drafted was still a pipe dream at the time, but I set that as my career goal.

    Now, with your encouragement, I re-assess. I have finally been offered representation by an agent, so the possibility of a "career" can now begin. I have written two novels, partially outlined another, have ideas for two more and a memoir half written. Yet I still think: if I could write eight really well developed books—books good enough to stand as my legacy as a writer, books that linger in people's hearts—then that's still a damn fine goal.

    So I'll stay the course. Thanks for this post!

  14. That is DEFINITELY a damn fine goal, Kathryn. I like the thought of that.

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