2018 Wrap Up and 2019 Goals

I can't believe that 2018 is finally over. It felt like the year that just would not die! I made resolutions last year, but most of them I don't even  remember, except for wanting to start querying Dragon Steal, which I did manage to accomplish. For this post, I'd like to go over some of the awesome (and not-so-awesome) things that happened this year and cover my goals for 2019. 

2018 in Review

  • Finished editing Dragon Steal and submitted it for publication.

    • I've received several rejection letters but recently got a full manuscript request. While the rejections have hurt, at least the book is out there! 

  • I created my own website and started developing a branded persona on twitter, facebook, instagram, etc. I have over 1,000 followers both on twitter and on instagram.

    • Even better, I've met a ton of amazing authors and creators through these sites who I can't wait to work with next year! 

  • Wrote, edited, and published The Purple Door District.  I can't believe I developed my own marketing and indiegogo campaigns, formatted the book, published it, and held a launch party all in the space of six months. The question is, can I do it for PDD2? 

  • Had "Latte with a Shot of Poltergeist" and "Frozen Heart" published in anthologies. 

  • Submitted more short stories and poetry than I ever have before. While I received a lot of rejections, I at least received a few publications. 

  • Officially launched The Writers' Rooms with my co-Director, Alexandra Penn. We also finished our Articles of Incorporation and got certified as a non-profit corporation. 

  • Helped develop the concierge anthology through The Writers' Rooms. 

  • Returned to my college and taught a few classes about publishing and NaNoWriMo.

  • Wrote 50k words for The Purple Door District: Wolf Pit

  • Lost about 45 lbs through exercise and healthy eating. 

  • Attended my first book signing event with other authors and signed up for even more in 2019. 

  • Hosted giveaways for my book and swag that was developed by local creators. 

  • Started my patreon account to help raise money for my writing career. 

  • Received honorable mention in Writers of the Future. 

  • Truly started my profession as an author. 

It's been a really big year for me writing wise. I still can't believe that six months ago I decided to publish The Purple Door District. It seems like ages since I made that decision. I've managed to publish a few pieces of work this year, including on wattpad and patreon. 

Next year, I hope to do even more, but also find a way to take care of myself at the same time. 

2019 Goals

  • Focus on my mental health and take better care of myself mentally and physically.

  • Find an agent and publisher for Dragon Steal.

  • Finish writing and publish The Purple Door District: Wolf Pit.

  • Work on Fates and Furies with my co-author, AE Kellar, and hopefully publish the first book, if not in 2019, then in early 2020. 

  • Submit more short stories and poetry for publication. 

  • Start working on The Purple Door District #3 and Dragon Steal #2

  • Return to working on Traitors of the Crown

  • Lose more weight for health reasons and get healthier. 

  • Attend multiple writing conventions to both sell my books and to meet other authors. 

  • Start my path to becoming a full-time author. 

These are pretty ambitious goals, but I think most of them are possible. I really do need to focus on my mental and physical health, though, because I managed to break myself a few times while working on PDD. If I can't hold myself together, I won't be able to accomplish any/all of this. 

I'm really proud of what I did this year. It's my biggest year as an author, and I can't wait to see what 2019 holds. I'm also a little scared. What if next year doesn't unfold as well? I guess that's all part of growing up and making plans as a writer, though. Some years you're going to make it big, and some years are going to be a lot slower. I hope 2019 is still a fantastic one. 

What are your goals for 2019? Feel free to share them below! Also, let me know what topics you'd like me to cover this year! 

Happy Writing!


Editing 101: Proofreading vs Editing vs Content Editing

I don't know which is worse, writer's block or editing. Yes, I said it, editing can be awful. Sometimes all you want to do is write, but instead you have to take that vicious red pen to your story and cut out the words you lovingly crafted. 

Alright, so maybe I'm being a little dramatic, but I've spent the entire last week editing my manuscript, and it's taught me a couple of things. First, let's talk about the basics. What kinds of editing exist? 

Proofreading: This is a cursory review of the text, checking for basic grammatical and punctuation errors. 

Editing: Rewording lines, phrases, paragraphs, even pages! This is your chance to really clean up your document and make it pristine. 

Content Editing: Content editing focuses exactly on that, the content. You take this step to find inconsistencies in plot, structure, character development, details in your world building, etc. 

Think of it like cleaning a house. Content editing is picking up all of the junk on the tables, floors, and counters. You put the items where they need to be so you can get to a lesser mess. Editing is vacuuming and sweeping the floors, getting rid of the rest of the visible grime. Proofreading is dusting and polishing the furniture. It's that last step before you feel like you have a clean house. 

You have to take it in steps, otherwise you can get too overwhelmed. In the case of The Purple Door District, the last time I edited the book, I content edited. I checked for all of the major errors, plot holes, and inconsistencies that I had let slip through. This past week, I focused on general editing. I read every sentence and considered its structure, its flow, and its literary appeal. I ended up really enjoying that part, but it was exhausting as well. I felt like I was both creating and fixing at the same time. I've tried to do it all at once, and believe me, that's even more draining. 

Take it slow, and be kind to both yourself and your work. In all honesty, "editing" is never truly done. You'll always want to change something, but there comes a point when you just have to let it go. That's what professional editors are for. 

Once my editor gets my book back to me, I'll proofread it for any final errors that I might have missed along the way. Editing is quite the journey, but it's well worth the destination. In the end, you'll have a manuscript in your hands that you can be proud to call your own. 

Happy writing/editing! 

I Wrote a Book! Now What?

I've completed the rough drafts of many books in my years of writing. What typically happens is I put the finishing touches on the book, read through it once, then put it aside so I can work on the next book in the series. I'm now to the point that I actually need to prepare the book for an agent. So then I ask myself, now what? How do I go about fixing up the book when I know I have a ton of errors interspersed throughout the text? Here are a few tips I've learned while updating my own book.

  • Breathe and Separate: Before you even start editing your story, take a minute to breathe. Separate yourself from the book for a few days, weeks, or even a month or two if that's what you need. If you jump into it too quickly, the story will be too fresh in your head, and that means it'll be harder for you to find mistakes. You want to read it fresh. And you also want to convince yourself not to get overwhelmed. This is not a fast process, so pace yourself.
  • Change the formatting: If you have your text double-spaced, single space it. If you have it single-spaced, double space it. You'd be surprised how different your book looks when you do this, and it can help you catch more errors than if you look at it the same way you always have.
  • Print it Out: As with changing the format, printing the book out allows you to look at the story in a different medium. This can also help you find errors as you go through it.
  • Separate the Chapters: If your book is in one document, then save all the chapters as separate documents. As you read through, you can mark off what chapter you're on. I find that knowing I have to review 44 chapters is less daunting than having to read almost 400 pages.
  • Quick Read Through: Once you've had time to breathe, read through your book once without making any changes. If there are changes you want to make, write notes so you don't distract yourself from reading through. This will help you focus more on plot errors.
  • Pick a Topic: When you decide to edit your book, after the initial read, only choose one topic to edit. Maybe you're checking for continuity errors. Maybe you're looking for plot problems, or grammatical changes. Whatever it is, edit one topic at a time because otherwise you might find it way too overwhelming.
  • Color Coding: Color code different types of errors to help keep your edits organized. Use "blue" for continuity problems and "green" to identify when characters show up. Post it notes also help with this if you have a printed copy.

These are just a few tips you can use to start off editing your first draft. As you go through, you'll become more comfortable with the styles that work for you. If you have any additional suggestions, post them below!