Therese here. Just a quick reminder that our second Writer Unboxed Twitter chat will take place today at 1 p.m. EST on Twitter.com. Anyone can participate; just look for — and use — the #WUChat hashtag. Be sure, too, that you’re following host Heather Webb (@msheatherwebb) and the Writer Unboxed Twitter account (@WriterUnboxed). Let’s recap 2014 — favorite books, accomplishments, and more — and discuss goals for 2015, including how to create new pathways to better fiction writing. See you on Twitter at 1 p.m.! Until then, please enjoy today’s post by Erika Robuck!
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~Henry David Thoreau
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, we are just on the other side of the solstice, in the dark, dark days. Light is precious, especially when many of our waking hours are spent under low, heavy clouds, enduring winter storms, or in the lethargic state prevalent at this time of year. (Can you tell I need my happy light?)
I have great admiration for creatures who hibernate, but since I can’t cozy up in a cave to wait it out, I thought I’d look to the future for momentum. Like many others, I use this time to set my creative goals, which are two-fold: first, to get my forthcoming novel The House of Hawthorne (NAL/Penguin Random House, May 5th) into the hands of the first readers who would most enjoy it, and second, to complete a new historical novel that does not have a famous dead writer as a protagonist, but rather, a very specific setting and time period.
I asked a group of authors whom I admire to share their goals for 2015 with me. Their answers were humorous, heartfelt, reassuring, and inspirational. I hope they are for you, too.
“After two writing projects (let’s call them books) that didn’t quite gel, I’m hoping 2015 is the year that the third one is a charm. Here’s to someone thinking what I’ve got is worth sharing and here’s to this next year being one where I can learn how to meditate for even ten minutes.” ~Lee Woodruff, NY Times Bestselling Author of Those We Love Most
“I’ll be publishing my biography of Daphne Du Maurier in March 2015 in France and then hopefully in other countries. She is my favorite writer, a great inspiration for me, and writing her life was a tremendous experience.” ~Tatiana de Rosnay, Internationally Bestselling Author of Sarah’s Key
“In 2015, I hope to finish work on my sixth novel, “The Painted Dove” about the French courtesan Marthe de Florian and the mystery of her Paris apartment that remained locked for 70 years. I’ve been relishing working on a novel than spans the Belle Epoque to Paris just before its German occupation in WWII.” ~Alyson Richman, Bestselling author of The Lost Wife
“The first order of business is to complete what I hope will be the final major rewrite of my new book, and then to herd the text through the gauntlet of line edits and copy edits that await. Oh yes, finding a title would be good, too. When I finally head into the foothills of my new project, I’ll be confronting the same old challenges, no less confounding for their familiarity: to find a healthy equilibrium between my writing, my family, and my legal career; to write with passion and humility and maybe the occasional pretty sentence; and to always, always tell the truth.” ~Alex George, Bestselling author of A Good American
“I’m hoping not only to finish my new novel, but more importantly, to savor the process. As exciting as launching Chasing the Sun was in 2014, the real reason we do this is for the moments that happen on the page, so I’m making it a point to relish them.” ~Natalia Sylvester, Author of Chasing the Sun
“2014 was a year of waiting. Interminable waiting, it often seemed. In mid-summer I finished a first draft of my third novel. In the time since, I’ve waited for myself (to figure out how to fix what was wrong with the book), I’ve waited for my wife (to tell me what was still wrong with the book), I’ve waited for trusted friends (to help me fix what was still wrong the book), I’ve waited again for myself (for the time to fix all that was wrong with the book). And I’ve waited for agents and editors (to let the business end of this whole endeavor unfold). For much—maybe most—of the time I spent waiting, I was downright fretful. Naturally, I told myself over and over again. This was three years worth of work, after all. But all that waiting took its toll, and only as the holidays rolled around did I convince myself that the waiting is something almost entirely out of my control, and in order to restore my own peace of mind, I vowed to get to work on something new. Which I did. And so now I vow to relish the work and forget the waiting. In this game, you’re always waiting for something. The rewards can seem scant because of how much time passes between them. But the pleasure, that’s something that can be found anytime the fingers find the keyboard. And so I vow to make that time often, and to let that be the pleasure and the reward.” Peter Geye, Bestselling Author of The Lighthouse Road.
“I’m hoping to write more short stories in the New Year, and perhaps even publish some of them in a few journals and magazines. But good stories are hard to write, and that short story market is difficult to crack.” ~Wiley Cash, New York Times Bestselling Author of A Land More Kind Than Home
“Every day since July 1, I have set a timer for 30 minutes. I write during this time, and on less-chaotic days, the 30 minutes extends into longer sessions. My goal is to continue my streak (I haven’t missed a day, yay), and produce my version of a readable draft by June 1.” ~Maryanne O’Hara, Bestselling Author of Cascade
“With my next deadline looming, my very first goal is to finish my current novel, THE EDGE OF LOST. (If my editor is reading this, I swear I’m almost done!) Soon after, I’ll be diving into promo plans leading up to its November release while also researching and brainstorming for the next book — because who really needs sleep, right? :)” ~Kristina McMorris, Bestselling Author of The Pieces We Keep
“My 2015 goal is to finish a draft, maybe two, of my new novel, The Gypsy Moth Summer. Another goal of mine is to have a more complex story line in this next novel, and so I’ve been thinking a lot about order of information, what info needs to be revealed (or withheld) from the reader, and when is the best time to reveal. I’d also like to do this without eating too many donuts, which helped fuel late night writing when I was working on my first novel, Cutting Teeth.” ~Julia Fierro, Author of Cutting Teeth
“My goal for 2015: Basically I’m just going to walk the earth. You know… like Kane in Kung fu: walk from place to place, meet people, get in adventures. Visit Harlan Ellison. And write more short stories.” ~Jamie Ford, NY Times Bestselling Author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Did any of these resonate with you? What are your goals for the New Year?