Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ducks in a Row and a Goal Recheck

Earlier this week, while chatting on the IM with a friend, she had to brb because she had a little law to lay down to her child. When she got back, I said, 'That was fast.' and she said 'I had my ducks in a row.' That got me to thinking. My days and my life go better when I have my ducks in a row. Now, I know y0u have to have some flexibility, because you can't plan for every contingency, but those times seem to come along less often if I've planned ahead. I also have more wiggle room in my schedule for the unexpected if I've taken care of the 'have tos' in a timely manner and with sufficient forethought.

This made me think of my looming goal deadline. Time for a recheck.

Blue remarks are the first checkup in February, Red the checkup in May, and Purple is today's checkup.

1) Finish the first draft of Drums of the North Star (this will mean 1500 words a day, 5 days a week, for six more weeks.)
I've been diligent in working on the manuscript. It now stands at just over 80,000 words, the original projected word count. However, this first draft is going to run closer to 90,000 words before it's all finished. So I've allowed myself a few more days to accomplish this goal. The former deadline was Feb. 14th. The new deadline is Feb. 17th. I'm 'stealing' that Saturday to wrap up the first draft.

First draft done! Woohoo!

Nothing new here. It's still done.

2) Write out plot cards for new book--Pam on Rye--by 3/20/07.

Lots of composting going on with this one. I'm hoping to have all the plot cards done well before this date to give myself a little more time on the deadline for the first draft.

I've got a few cards but have decided I can't finish the cards until I have about 20K words of it done. It's just the way I work. I have tried something new with this one though. I found photos of the characters and locations and did a storyboard. It is stuck on the side of my filing cabinet within easy reach. It's already proven to be a big help.

Have shelved this one for now. Explainations below.

3) Write first draft of Pam on Rye by 6/29/07.

This will be pushing it, but since we will be done with school, and hopefully this addition too, I will be able to focus a lot of concentrated effort on getting this first draft done in the allotted three months.

I've got two chapters written on the first draft. I'm going to have to push this deadline out to the middle to end of July.

Have finished the first four chapters and have sent it through the crit girls. We'll see what they think, but the more I'm away from it, the more I think this isn't what I'm supposed to be working on. I want to write historicals, particularly those based on Minnesota History. That and life issues have drawn me away from this work.

4) Write synopsis/proposal packet for Drums of the North Star, including series ideas.

This one might come up sooner than I'd anticipated, if I do enter the Barclay Sterling contest, as they require a synopsis and query letter with the submission. This will be an August project in preparation for conference.

I did not enter the Barclay Sterling.

Still planning on this being an August project.

5) Write synopsis/proposal packet for Pam on Rye, including series ideas.

Haven't even started this one.

Another August project for me.

I am shelving this for now.

6) Edit and revise Drums of the North Star, particularly the first three chapters and synopsis.

Thanks to some terrific critique partners, this one has already begun. The crit buddies and I are deep into the edits for this book.

Another couple of crit rounds and it will be done! Woohoo!

I'm so thankful. The crits of Drums are done! I'm really pleased with it, though I'm contemplating tweaking the ending just a bit.
7) Edit and revise Pam on Rye, particularly the first three chapters and synopsis.
No action here as all attention has been on Drums of the North Star.
No news here yet.


8) Attend ACFW Conference in September.
This is still the plan. I'm getting excited already!
I've purchased airfare and reserved my hotel room. I have a roommate, and I've chosen my workshops and some editors to meet with. I can't wait for registration to open this Friday!
I've added a countdown widget to the blog. 72 more days! EEK! And today I ordered two pairs of new shoes (I'll break them in when I get them) to wear at the conference. I'll be tweaking my wardrobe choices later in the summer. Now if I can just get all the writing work done in time.
9) Follow up on manuscript request of my first novel, Beauty for Ashes.
The follow-up came. A polite 'no, thank-you.' At least I can cross it off my list of things to do. Silly ms is sitting just where I left it on the bookcase.

10) Pray, pray, pray! (this one should be #1...or #1-10) Still praying. And God is working.
God is still working, though my prayer life has slipped. I need to get back into the swing. Does this happen to anyone else?
God does amazing things. And it is a comfort to me to know that I'm part of an army of people who are bathing the conference in prayer.

11) I'm adding in here join a critique group. (Hee hee hee. I love lists, and I have been known to add things to my list for the day that I've already done, just so I can cross them off. I like to look back on the day/year and see I've gotten at least a FEW things accomplished.)
All I can say is, "Girls, you smell GOOOOOOOOOD!"
This group just keeps getting better and better. We've got inside jokes, honesty, and trust. Trusting your crit partners motives is paramount. If you trust their motives, you can withstand the honesty and laugh at the jokes.

12) Also adding: Enter the Genesis contest for 2007. I'm still waiting on one set of crits before I do a final polish and submit. Rest assured, I'll post when I turn it in.
I entered, first round is over and the winners will be announced in September at the conference. Now I need to get a decent picture of me (is there such a thing?) and send it to the conference coordinator by July 15th.
I got the picture sent in.
13) The Golden Shores First Draft.

This is a new one. It replaces Pam on Rye. I'm almost 1/3 of the way through the first draft and will begin sending it through the crit group soon.

14) The Golden Shores Proposal Packet.

As soon as the writing is done, I'll start on this one.

So, have you checked your goals lately? Are your ducks lining up or are they swimming around on their own somewhere?


  1. I love the analogy. Brilliant! I get more accomplished when I have things organized. And because life happens at the drop of a dime, it's helpful to know which ducks can be rearranged.

  2. Erica, have you considered becoming a motivational speaker? Or maybe my own private writing coach? :D

  3. **sniff, sniff** Ahh, you smell gooood!

    Golden Shores, eh? Can't wait to read it, I didn't realize you're already 1/3 of the way through! Wow! I do love the beginning of Pam on Rye!

  4. Someone else who likes POR---a co-conspirator to nag with! (Insert Evil laugh here!)

    I agree about the motivational speaking. Diversify and write more non-fiction!!!

    Don't you love it how I push you to heights where you'd rather not go?? (Innocent face.)