I want you to take a look at what you've accomplished since our last IWSG day. Maybe you should jot a few notes to organize your thoughts. Accomplished a lot? Great! But what about all of you who have done nothing because of vacations, kids being home, sickness or surgeries? Don't feel bad. Life gets in the way sometimes, but honestly, we shouldn't let life get in the way ALL the time.
Ask yourself this question:
What do you truly want to achieve with your writing? Be realistic when you answer. Being a best selling writer is a realistic goal for someone who writes daily, wins contests and is actively studying and learning, but being published by one of the top five might not be realistic for someone who only writes a few times every few months, never enters or wins a contest and doesn't revise according to critiques or feedback. We always need to learn and grow.
I'd like to suggest a writing/learning plan for those of you who aren't accomplishing anything.
Settle on one goal. You might want to finish your novel. When you reach the end, go through it again, do a little tweaking, then find beta readers or someone willing to critique. You can revise according to those comments you get from your readers. Oh, wait... you don't agree with any thing they said? Then Houston, we might have a problem. Put your pages away for a few weeks or even better, a few months while you delve into a really good how-to book. When you go back to your critiques, I'm certain you'll view them differently.
Or, your goal might be to write a few short pieces and get them out there. That's great: Identify your markets--print magazines or online literary journals. Study them by reading several months of back issues, including their guidelines. Then write. Find someone to read and give you a critique. Believe me when I say feedback is helpful. Revise accordingly.
I know I've said this to you a thousand times: making up our mind to do something is half the battle. We can be our own worst enemy or we can be our hero. We just need to decide on what we want to accomplish and let nothing or no one stand in our way as we plod toward our dream.
Here's an interesting quote from Natalie Goldberg. Take it to heart.
This is your life. You are responsible for it.
You will not live forever. Don't wait.
~ Natalie Goldberg
On another note, I'm speaking at the Texas Gulf Coast Mini-Conference on Saturday. Here's the link if you'd like to check it out: http://www.texasgulfcoastwriters.blogspot.com/
Also, my novella, The Last Daughter, is only 99 cents. If you haven't read it, I'd love for you to grab a copy and then leave an honest review.