IWSG—2016 writing goals


Happy Christmas to any readers of the Orthodox Christian faith! I always found it rather unfair Orthodox Christmas gets overlooked, with many people assuming Christmas is over and done with for everyone on 25 December. Not everyone has the same holidays, or observes their holidays on the same days!


It’s the first The Insecure Writer’s Support Group meeting of the new year. Every first Wednesday of the month, members share worries, insecurities, triumphs, hopes, and fears. The winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest will also be announced today.

The words just weren’t coming for A Dream Deferred, the fourth volume with my Russian characters. In spite of the chapter-by-chapter notes I made during the summer and having detailed plans for certain scenes and chapters, I just lost almost all of my motivation. I think that was a sign I needed to get back to my alternative history.

I still do plan to release it on 12 August, what would’ve been my protagonist’s 112th birthday. The majority of the work left at this point is Part IV, with some remaining gaps in Parts II and III to fill in, plus a tiny bit in the short Epilogue. I switched to a new desktop picture of my protagonist, for fresh inspiration and a constant reminder to be a good fairy godmother and give him the happy ending he was denied in this life.


I’ll be releasing And the Lark Arose from Sullen Earth probably within a month. I don’t consider it a major release, just my second volume about Jakob and Rachel. When I was turning my long short story/piece of backstory about my longtime secondary character Jakob into a full-length novel in 2012, the plan had been for it to be one entire book. At the time, I was entering it in contests and having my query letter critiqued as upper YA, so I was cognizant of the length. I even did a fade to black on the wedding-night scene, even though Jakob and Rachel remain technical virgins due to their fear of creating a potential half-orphan before Jakob’s military service ends.

I only expanded the remaining material into a second volume when I felt the story would be too long for YA if it were all in one book. The most perfect ending opened up, and I was able to make the rest of the story as long as it needed to be. Of course, I later admitted to myself I largely write adult historical which just so happens to have young characters. There’s no mistaking the second volume for anything but an adult book, not least because it has a number of sex scenes!


I still want to have my other two covers revamped, hopefully this time finding an artist who responds to queries in a timely fashion instead of getting deep in arrears. I love the work that artist does, but I don’t need to sit around waiting for a response from someone who takes that kind of attitude. Even if it’s not your day job, you should still be professional and not risk losing potential clients.

I released nothing last year because I was so disappointed and embarrassed at not selling anything. Even if I continue getting far more congratulations and “that sounds interesting” than actual sales, it still can’t hurt to release the books I’d wanted to release last year. The more product out there, the more chance I have of gaining a name.


I finally achieved my longtime goal of seeing 1,000 silent films on New Year’s Eve, and the list is still growing strong. My lucky #1,000, Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Carriage (Körkarlen), just so happens to be one of the films I’ll be featuring during this October’s spotlight on classic horror or horror-ish films with landmark anniversaries this year.

I’d like to share the beautiful, haunting prayer offered by phantom driver Georges, his New Year’s prayer for all humanity, a prayer which is repeated in the final intertitle:

Gud, låt min själ få komma till mognad innan den skall skördas!

God, let my soul come to maturity before it is reaped!


What are your goals, writing or otherwise, for this year? If you could offer one prayer or wish for all humanity, what would it be? Do you celebrate Orthodox Christmas or Epiphany, or have you ever shared in someone else’s celebration?

8 thoughts on “IWSG—2016 writing goals

  1. Extending the holidays to include Orthodox Christmas sounds fine to me, but then there’d probably be more pressure to officially recognize so many more holidays of other cultures. That could get not only chaotic, but expensive if all the holidays entailed paid leave.

    Not overthinking my future but that’s par for my life. I wish you well on your planned release for this year.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


  2. When we lose motivation for one story, it’s always a good idea to work on another.

    Don’t give up on publishing just because you had no sales last year. Sometimes no sales when you need to make changes in how you promote. Try new things, even things you don’t think will work for you. No harm in trying. 🙂

    I hope you can find a good cover artist to work with!


  3. I hope you can be encouraged that you put yourself out there with your work. Sales is a different beast altogether, but all you can do is reassess where you are and what you want. there are lots of options for cover design at a whole range of prices–seriously I was surprised in talking with my romance writer friends at the range. I’ve seen some great covers for affordable prices. I think it’s best to use someone familiar with book covers so they understand things like Amazon thumbnails and genre trends. That’s about the extent of my knowledge!

    I hope 2016 is a wonderful year for you and your writing.


  4. I’d admire your goals-so concrete! I just have the same 5 general ones every year. My one prayer for humanity in 2016 is that we’d all be a little kinder than we need to be to everyone we interact with this year and give people the benefit of the doubt . . . we all have bad days (although some more than others). Happy Christmas and Epiphany to those celebrating! We always leave up our decorations through Jan. 6th.


  5. Happy Christmas! My mother-in-law grew up Orthodox (switched to Roman Catholic when she got married) and she’s lost probably more than 80% of her memory, but when I spent the morning with her on Monday, she remembered all about Orthodox Christmas and how she and her siblings used to get the day off of school when the other kids didn’t.

    Excellent goals. I totally agree that you should release those books this year. Love that photo for your alt history.


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