Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Writing Goals & What I Learned in 2009

A year ago right now, I was making a list of goals for 2009 and at the last second, as sort of a joke, I threw in "Write a novel." Even though my biggest goal for the year was to focus on writing, I meant screenwriting, and the idea of writing a book seemed ridiculous. Still, I had always known that one day I would write one - I have the notebooks full of cheesy teen romance I wrote back in elementary school as proof. I just thought it would be one day when I was older and wiser and had something very literary to say about the world or something. You know, something profound. I thought I would write the literary equivalent of an indie film.

Anyway, after reading the Twilight Saga (the first books I'd read since the last Harry Potter save for a couple Kathy Reichs books - she is awesome, you should read her!) and having it reignite my love for all things YA. While at the same time having the epiphany that almost all my film ideas involved teenagers for a reason, I thought well, hey, maybe it's time to give that book thing a try. I mean, I was going to focus on writing this year anyway.

So I stuck "Write a novel" at the bottom of the list and I snorted at my own ridiculousness. I didn't just write screenplays because I loved movies. I wrote screenplays because they are SUPER SHORT and I was lazy/terrified at the thought of trying to write over a 100 pages of like, comeplete sentences. It really seemed impossible to me. I was so used to cutting stuff out to write a film that I had no idea how to put stuff in.

I won't bore you with a month by month rundown of 2009 but suffice it to say that two (great) false starts later, I had an idea burning in my brain and NaNoWriMo staring me in the face. Thanks to those two false starts I had already written over 40,000 words. 50,000 didn't seem so scary anymore. Plus, I knew exactly how this story ended, making for a much easier trip. NaNoWriMo and the awesome YA community, especially at the blueboards, made me realize that it is really possible for me to write a book.

So here I am, the last day of 2009 and I have a very, very rough, first draft of a novel just waiting to be revised. One impossible goal accomplished! And I can say with all honesty to anyone reading this and wondering if they could ever write something as big and scary as a book:

If I can do it, you can do it!

Now with trumpets and fanfare, here are my goals for 2010 that are within my control!

2010 Resolutions

  • Revise WIP #2 until it's ready for queries.
  • Write best query letter in the whole wide world.
  • Query agents.
  • Finish WIP #1.
  • Write a screenplay.
  • Shoot a film. (A short is okay.)
  • Shoot at least one music video.
  • Write 1000 words (minimum) a day, six days a week.
  • Write at least a first draft of two more YA novels. (Preferably from ideas I've already got written down.)
  • Attend a writing conference or workshop.
  • Read 100 books. (At least 40 of these should be from my own bookshelves!)
  • Become more involved in the YA blogging community. There are so many great YA writer blogs out there!

Then of course the ones that are not so much in my control:
  • Sign with the perfect agent for me and my career goals.
  • Sell my book to an awesome publishing house that totally gets my book, loves it and knows how to market it.

If you made it all the way to the end of this post, please have a SAFE and Happy New Year's Eve!


Nisa said...

Happy New Year! I hope you accomplish all your goals! They're good ones. And isn't it funny how when you do things one little step by little step, you can accomplish the impossible? Good for you!

Lea said...

Great goals, and I wish you the best of luck! Hmm, I think maybe I should copy down a few of your goals myself ;)

Nickles said...

Congrats on writing the book! When I finished my first novel it made me feel weightless and giddy, so I hope you continue to write and finish even more stories. Good luck for next year!

Book Monster said...

Wow I envy you, I seriously do :) Congrat on writing a rough draft of a novel. I'm sure someday It'll be on the shelves :) :)

Kristen said...

Great resolutions! I'm hoping to attend some library conferences this year as well. :)

Patty said...

Awesome goals! I'm happy that you really did write a novel. A year ago in November I was writing my very first crappy novel and here I am, one year later and with two novels under my sleeve ready to be seen by the world. It's possible and I'm glad you made it :)

Kristi said...

Valerie - I can't wait to read your NaNo book and I'm sure you'll meet all your goals. Even the agent one! I'm attending one big conference in 2010 as well as a smaller event with 2 agents. I'm hoping to perfect my current YA ms and finish my 2nd this year.

Also, I just noticed how many books you've read this year and you qualify (along w/ Lacey) as having super freaky reading ability :) Happy 2010!

Anna said...

Yay for finishing a draft of your novel! SO many people want to write a book, but so few actually take it all the way through to the end. Best of luck with your 2010 goals!

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Fantastic resolutions! Happy New Year Valerie :-) xoxo

L.J. Boldyrev said...

Happy New Year!

I started my very first novel writing venture in February 2009. Submitted a very rough copy of it to our group in August. Thanks to the comments of the group (Valerie had to work hard on that one)a whole lot of dedication, trial and error and reading, I've got something that is close to being read-worthy!

In 2010, I'd like to polish either that ms, or the one I wrote during nanowrimo, perfect a query letter and start submitting!

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