Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Winged Wise Ones

These last few days I have had a little fire going in the back of my brain – a fire tempering the steel* of this essay on my writing goals for 2013 --  I’ve gathered in 3 strong, fuel-type messages from the bird kingdom.

The first, a Great Blue Heron (GBH), was standing at the very edge of the road. I mistook him for a deer from afar, he was so tall and I was startled into awareness when I realized he was a GBH. Then I noticed, he’s not by water, very significant as it is completely uncharacteristic of GBH’s. In fact, I couldn't find a picture of him that wasn't in flight or by water.
I will be referring to him in my essay. Go here if you want his whole story but he brings aggressiveness, self-reliance and self-determination.
The second, a bat, came through a Julie Hanavan Olsen card-of-the-day pick. I was in a state of heightened awareness, pondering several writing questions when the bat came through her. Go here for bat’s contributions.

The third was so odd; flocks of blackbirds doing what they do in late summer; feeding and playing in fields by the road in huge numbers. They kept flying across the path of my car and beside the road. I wondered what they were when suddenly one of them showed himself very clearly to me; a Red-Winged Blackbird (R-W B).

There are no animal messages credited to him. I decided to look him up in Wikipedia and find out what he had for me. If GBH and Bat’s messages were a radio signal, they would be static and R-W B would be the fine-tuning knob. Aggressive behavior is a broad concept. R-W B fine tunes aggressive behavior to agonistic behavior.

What does any of this have to do with my writing goals for 2013? Framing this as the atheist that I am, I put the challenge of writing an essay about my goals in the furnace* of my mind, and then I sought out messages from myself to myself to help me.

In 2013 what do I want to write?

Black Windows, definitely. The novel with the heroine who is a demo derby driver (maybe the first in a series), hopefully, if I get enough research done.  Maybe one other book that I wrote a couple of pages with characters or maybe something as yet undreamed.

What do I want to revise? Tangible Taffy, for certain. (If Savvy Authors has revision hell I will do it then.) Black Windows after I put it down for a while.

Do I want to pursue being traditionally published this year? If so, how? Here is where GBH speaks loudly. He is a grounding influence who will pull me into the physical instead of just dreaming or imagining. This surely means seeking out publishing. I have the notion that if I have a book or books successfully published in the traditional way, eventually I can self-publish and actually have some readers. Especially my modern gothic romance novels. I don’t find a lot of people writing them the way I want to**, who have been traditionally published.  

How to be pursue being published? My first thought is, if Savvy Authors follows revision hell with the publishing month like last year, put Tangible Taffy in the mix. If they don’t, I will have to seek out other avenues. Or maybe I will do that even if they do.

Do I want to self-publish this year? Very strong statement from R-W B; one form of agonistic behavior is “ritual display” or “any behavior modified by evolution that is used to convey information.”

Self-publishing is an evolution in the way publishing conveys information.

I will heed this message by finding an editor and a cover artist and self-publishing Hungry Ghosts. More readers may come when I am traditionally published but that is no reason not to offer it up to anyone who finds it before then.

(Ooh fun! Finding an editor – maybe Melissa Bourbon, I think she offers that service – working with said editor. Commissioning cover art – I have a daughter with a degree in art. Learning how to self-publish and market – my other daughter has a degree in marketing.)

Do I want to embrace my writing tribe differently this year? If so, how? When R-W B showed himself to me, he was feeding and playing “…in open fields, mixed with grackles, cowbirds, starlings in flocks which can number in the thousands.”

They, in fact, did number in the hundreds.

This is consistent with my writing tribe. I have bonded with tribe members everywhere. I’ve gleaned members from writing classes who have introduced me to other members. I’ve found members in blogging communities. Members have come to me through my blog and I attracted members when I started my yahoo writing group.

I love my tribe. I interact in various ways – all in cyber space. That’s okay for now. I will keep on keeping on responding to writers blogs and posting comments on writers statuses on facebook. I will continue blogging here and moderating willwriteforchocolate, hopefully growing both.

Even though I am a bit leery of all things b-e-t-t-y, I am looking forward to the new facebook group that London Mabel invited me to – FGBV’S FOR WRITERS. It is meant to lead to some beta reading ops. That would be perfect – wwfc for motivation, FGBV’s FW for beta reading.

I am also really looking forward to a possible mentoring opportunity and the opportunity to work with an editor.

Next question – research? I need to go to demolition derbies. I need to go to poetry slam/s and maybe even slam once myself. I need to learn to be a more efficient web researcher.

Anyone know of a book that teaches web researching?

Also, I will become proficient in ONE NOTE (a program similar to scrivener but more accessible for me).

What does any of this mean for me in an everyday, applicable way? I am not going to commit to writing x amount of words a day. I am instead going to commit to finding the best time of day for me to write and making the most of it.

First up – Black Windows. I've gotten so far from the story that I am going to spend a few days in re-discovery.

2013 here I come!

Do you have writing goals for 2013? Reading goals?

Are you introspective this time of year?

Framing it according to your own beliefs – do you get messages? If so, how?
*not the best but I'm trying to avoid cooking or food metaphors
** Like Collen Gleason's The Cards of Life and Death and her The Shop of Shades and Secrets OR like Jennifer Crusies Maybe This Time. Not like Nora Roberts which seems gothic with very little romance.


  1. This was a great inspirational post to read first thing in the New Year! And I know I had more to say than that, because I actually turned on my computer to come online and respond (4AM insomnia so I was skimming my RSS feed on my iPad) but somehow I lost it between my iPad and my keyboard. :) Happy New Year, Judy!

    1. I'm a fellow insomniac. I understand.
      Happy New Year to you, also.

  2. Those are great goals, and I wish you much success with all of them.

    Me? I'll just keep writing, and see where it takes me next.

    Happy New Year! :)

    1. Yeah you better keep writing. We want more Ciel. We want more Billy. We want more Mark.
      Okay the insinuated threat was a joke but we do want more!

  3. That is one hefty list! Me, I'll be writing, revising, writing, revising...and there will be querying in there somewhere. Like Linda says, we'll see where it takes me. :)

    Happy New Year!!

    1. Well when you consider that I have some close to finished things - it's not too bad.
      Happy New Year back atcha.

  4. My writing goals are more limited but still hefty: revise and have critiqued my first-draft novel and try to get it published. Then write some more. So learning how to revise effectively (and hopefully efficiently) comes next.

  5. May your goals take flight like those winged messengers!
    And carry you soaring to new and abundant heights!

    I love this break-down and all that you have discovered in the process. Thrilling to be a (teeny, tiny, wee) part of it all.

    1. Hey - me and you - if we lived closer we could rule the world.

  6. Those are some terrific goals.

    I like the winged messages that you got. I try to stay tuned in to the messages that the universe gives me. Not always successful but I try.

  7. That first one with the Great Blue Heron was just so startling that I was on the lookout after that.

  8. Judy, I commented on your comment on my blog and then zipped over here. : ) Love your winged messengers. Also, I'm really happy that you're taking the plunge.
    Mine was a similar decision over the 2011 holidays. Wishing you wonderful results.