Welcome to the blog of science fiction author Eileen Rhoadarmer--where science fiction and Mommyhood collide!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Goals

It's taken me a while to compile goals for 2011, partly because I'm still tweaking the novel, and partly because, with a baby coming, I'm not quite sure what goals to make.  But here's an idea.

  • I've only got another day or two of tweaking on the novel before I'll be ready to put it aside for a while.  At some point this year, I want to give it a full edit, and if that happens early enough, offer it for critique to others
  • Work on stories again!  I've got a bunch bubbling around in my head, and as soon as I call it quits on novel tweaking, I'll be jumping into those with both feet.  I don't really have number goals for these, but another half-dozen at least out in the submission world would be good over the next few months
  • Do something with my children's book.  Hubby and I wrote a children's Christmas book several years ago.  We put it through several rounds of critique and tried it out on the hapless children of our friends, with generally good results.  But then we stopped, because neither of us was familiar with children's literature at all (this was even before our son was conceived) nor with the market, so we didn't really know how to proceed.  I took a first step a few days ago by asking our children's librarian for some suggested books of (hopefully) similar length, or at least similar reading level, so we can compare how it fits (or fails to fit) into existing frameworks.  I'd like to tweak it--if it needs any tweaking, most likely by either shortening (unlikely) or lengthening--and start submitting it this year.
  • Work on an animated film script with hubby.  This is for an idea we've had for a while, and we'd like to get it written.  Hubby writes screenplays regularly, so we'll be attempting to co-write along his schedule, which means doing research and outlining in Jan-Feb-Mar, and writing it Apr-May-June.
This is where I stumble.  Stories, polishing and submitting the children's book, and the script can all reasonably be done in the first half of the year.  Come June, we'll have a new baby on our hands and I intend to give myself a maternity leave of sorts.  I won't require myself to write for three months.  I won't stop myself from doing so if I feel the drive (I mastered nursing at the keyboard with my son, so perhaps I'll do a bit of that with the new baby) but I'm not going to beat myself up for not being productive if nothing happens.

Now, part of me thinks that this new-baby time might be a good time to edit the novel.  If I give it a full read-thru shortly before the baby comes and take copious notes, I would be able to quickly jump in and out of the novel for small tweaks, perhaps leaving anything that needs serious rewriting for later.  Maybe.  On the other hand, I might truly get nothing done.  Babies are draining, after all, and I'll still have a two-year-old to contend with.

The time beyond my self-imposed maternity leave is what I really have no idea what to do with.  It is very possible that I won't have my kids on coordinated schedules by the time it's over, so I may not get much writing done even after that time frame.  I didn't do much writing until my son was close to a year old, after all.  I'm hoping the discipline I've helped myself develop over the last few months will come back more quickly, but I can't guarantee it.

Part of me would like to write, or at least start, another novel this year.  I've had the idea buzzing around for about eight months now.  It was the idea I was originally going to use for NaNoWriMo, before getting so excited about my current novel that everything else got pushed aside.  My plan, and I still think it's a good idea, was to thoroughly research and outline the next one, so I could compare how I felt about discovery writing versus preplanned writing.  But I'm not sure when to do that.  It took me five and a half months to write my current novel, and even with the faster pace I've set for the last few months, it would likely take at least 3-4.  Which means I don't have time to start it before the baby comes--not if I want to write stories first AND finish it before the baby arrives.  And I don't like the idea of leaving something that big as a work in progress for the duration of a maternity leave or longer.  I've thought that I could research it during the last month or so before the baby arrives, but then I'd probably be enthusiastic about starting it and would then be derailed by the baby.

So I guess the long and the short of it is that, past June, I don't really have set goals--apart from I'd like to get back into the swing of daily writing as soon as I can come September.  What I'll be writing (or editing) at that time can't really be planned because life is going to be so different.

So there you have it.  I've got some concrete goals for the first half of the year, and then my biggest writing-related goal post-baby is for my writing self not to go into too long of a furlough.

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