My Writing Plan of Action Update

I blogged about my writing plan of action on January 18, 2015. It’s time to give you an update.

You may recall that my plan in January included goals for my anticipated book of vintage postcards from the piedmont of North Carolina. That book did not come to fruition, so my plan was revised. This is what it looks like today:

(1) Schedule book signings/author events (on-going);
(2) Continue to blog every 5 days or so;
(3) Continue to search for writing contests to enter or magazine articles to write (on-going);
(4) Set aside one day each week to edit my historical novel manuscript, tentatively titled, The Spanish Coin, (until I get it polished as much as I can); and
(5) Start in earnest to find a literary agent to represent me and my novel.

I continue to try to schedule book signings and other author events. The only one I have on my calendar this summer is at the J. Hoyt Hayes Memorial Troutman (NC) Branch Library on August 27. With our house being remodeled during the next several weeks, I did not want to schedule any events until later this summer. It’s not like people are beating a path to my door begging me to come speak about my vintage postcard book, The Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina! I did not want to schedule any events in June or early July. I didn’t have any requests for that time period, so it worked out fine.

Originally, I thought I needed to blog daily. I came to realize that no one wanted to hear from me every day. My writing life is not that compelling. I adjusted my plan to blog every five days or so, but I will not blog just for the sake of blogging.

I continue to work on stories to submit to writing contests, although I haven’t produced any winners yet in 2015. I wrote a creative nonfiction piece about my 4th and 5th great-grandmothers for the GENEii writing contest sponsored by the Southern California Genealogy Society. I entered a contest in which the prize was to have an entire manuscript evaluated by Barbara Kyle, but I didn’t win that one either. I entered “The Other Woman,” a 1,000-word short story in the Bevel Summers Short Story Prize competition sponsored by Shenandoah Literary Review, but I learned a couple of weeks ago that it did not make the final round of judging. Such is the life of a writer, but at what point does it become counter-productive to keep entering writing contests and not winning or placing? There were more than 1,000 entries in the Bevel Summers competition. My story was eliminated going into the third round of judging. No time spent writing is wasted; however, I must be selective because most contests have an entry fee. Getting no constructive feedback from writing contests is a drawback. My money might be better spent in getting my novel manuscript evaluated by a professional.

We’re down to number four on my plan. This is where the wheels begin to fall off my wagon. I thought it would be easy to set aside one day each week to edit and revise the manuscript of my historical novel, The Spanish Coin. I have failed to discipline myself to accomplish that. I have worked on it for a few minutes here and there, but that is a terrible way to approach such work. I must block out at least an hour or more on a regular basis to do it justice. Being surrounded by the noise of a remodeling project is not conducive to any form of writing, especially something as important as a novel. Until I get number four under control, I can’t move on to number five.

A written plan for my writing makes me accountable. I’m a discouraged at the moment, but I will keep writing. It’s what I love to do!

How’s That “Writing Plan of Action” Working For You?

On January 18, 2015, I posted a seven-point “Writing Plan of Action” and promised an occasional update. It’s been a month, so I decided to assess how I’m doing.

(1) Schedule book signings/author events. I have scheduled a book signing on April 11 at 2pm at The Book Shelf in Tryon, North Carolina. I haven’t had any success with public library bookings. I’m not giving up!

(2) Continue to blog every day. I was doing very well with that until I read that I shouldn’t blog every day. (That was the one thing I thought I was doing right!) I’m struggling to find a schedule that suits me and will keep my followers interested. I have a lot of learn.

(3) Continue to research and write captions for a Piedmont NC vintage postcard book. I continue to work on that.

(4) Spend two hours each week building a list of places that might sell a Piedmont NC vintage postcard book. I haven’t kept a record of the time I’ve spent doing that, but I have worked on it a little.

(5) Continue to search for writing contests to enter or magazine articles to write. I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made on meeting this point of my plan. I have entered one contest and made a chronological list of more contests to enter this year. I’ll be ready in a few days to pitch an idea to Cobblestone magazine. I’ve written a piece about Maggie McCurdy that I hope the magazine will use in its March, 2016 issue. I wrote an article for Cobblestone in 2007 titled, “Aunt Lula Buys a Model-T.” Putting this “Writing Plan of Action” on paper nudged me into working on this aspect of my freelance writing.

(6) Set aside one day each week to edit my historical novel manuscript. This is where the wheels fell off the wagon. I have only worked on this one day in the last four weeks.

(7) If Arcadia Publishing rejects my author proposal for a Piedmont NC vintage postcard book, start in earnest to find a literary agent to represent me and my novel. I cannot submit a proposal to Arcadia until after February 25.

Overall, I’m pleased with what I have accomplished since making this writing plan. It definitely helps me to have a written plan. Based on this plan, I have made daily lists of things to do. I tend to be too optimistic and end up moving many items from one day to the next.

I will eventually get most things on the list done, and I will try not to beat myself up over the things left undone.