Carol Callicotte


Update February 4, 2009

Filed under: Goals,Projects,Writing — A French American Life @ 11:16 am
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I’m nearing completion of the rough draft of my YA novel, tentatively titled ANNA AND WILLIAM. It’s Rough with a capital “R.” When I look back over what I’ve written, I realize most of it is not as bad as I think it is, and some of it is much worse. It’s a far cry from what I envision it being one day. That’s why it’s a rough draft, I suppose. (See my previous entry titled “A Writer’s Prayer.” I’m saying it right now.)

I wrote this one, so far, straight through, which is new for me. I tend to write several sequential scenes, then realize something before needs to be fixed or changed, so I go back and do that, then move forward a bit, go back and repave some things, move forward, then eventually I’ll start jumping around when an out of sequence scene pops into my head. I didn’t let myself go back and rewrite this time, nor jump forward. Instead I left myself notes when thoughts or ideas came up.

I don’t know that I’ll use this approach again. It pushed me toward a completed rough draft, but I fear it may have stifled my creativity somewhat when a scene popped into my head and I only outlined it instead of fleshing it out. But, this is a year of experimentation and trying to find what works best for me.

I anticipate being finished with this rough draft by the end of next week or so. I’ll then let it sit and work on a new project. I’ve got a few potentials, and I’m excited about 2 or 3 of them, and ready for something different! Placing myself in the mind of a teenager these last few months has resulted in teenage angst creeping into my dreams and has drawn me back into the world of high school drama. Didn’t anticipate reliving that!


Goals 2009 January 16, 2009

Filed under: Goals,Projects,Writing,Writing World — A French American Life @ 12:51 pm
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Tis the season to set goals, and I have several for writing. I’m being general here, but my specific goals are S.M.A.R.T. – as discussed in a previous post – and pinned over my desk!

•My biggest goal is to find an agent for CHEATER. I love this book, and I really believe it has a good shot at finding a place in the market.

•I’m calling this the “year of rough drafts.” I have so many ideas floating around in my head. Some of them I like more than others, but many of them have potential. They are in different genres: Contemporary Fantasy, General Fiction, YA, YA Fantasy, and Travel Writing. Which doesn’t bode well for starting a career, I know. I’ll have to pick something and stick with it for a while if I really want to succeed in the published market. But I’m still, in some ways, finding myself as a writer. Aren’t we all, to some extent? I want to take time to experiment in different genres, different voices, different story lengths. I’ve set some specific goals for which ideas I want to make into rough drafts of both short and novel length stories. I write roughs pretty fast, so I think I can complete several this year.

Enter some contests. There are some great ones out there. I’ve got my eye on the Golden Heart, and I’m researching some others.

Blog 2-3 times a week.

Continue to study the craft through books, classes, conferences, and continuing with my two critique groups.

Now they are out there. There’s no turning back!


Goals September 15, 2008

Filed under: For Writers,Goals,Writing,Writing World — A French American Life @ 5:40 pm
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As a physical therapist, I’ve had to learn how to write goals to make sure health insurances cover my patients’ therapy. Saying: “Mrs. Smith will be able to walk better” just doesn’t cut it. Goals have to be specific, objective, measurable, realistic, and timely. An example that works would be: “In three weeks, Mrs. Smith will ambulate with minimal gait deviation using a single point cane and stand-by assist for 1000 feet.”

Now, before you all nod off, and believe me, I know that sounded excruciatingly boring, there is a point to this. Learning how to set goals can help writers. My long term goal is to be a published author and to write and publish throughout my life. (Yes to the smarty pants out there – I do realize I didn’t put a time frame on that one. Otherwise, it is a specific, objective, measurable, and realistic goal!) So, for me, simply saying, “I’m going to finish a novel someday” just doesn’t cut it.

There’s a system out there that is very similar to what we use as physical therapists: SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic (Relevant), and Time-bound. Like the PT method, it works for setting writing goals: “I will write 25 rough-draft pages in my YA novel by this Saturday.”

When I first started writing, my approach was much more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants: “I think I’ll try to write some this week, if I feel inspired.” “I hope to finish a novel someday, maybe try to publish.” I found day after day passing me by, my pen untouched, my brain untapped. Not the best approach for one who really hopes to break into the writing business. I’d resisted setting goals, fearing it would squelch my creativity. In fact, I’ve found that making daily goals for my writing has been liberating rather than confining. Writing every day keeps the cogs of my mind lubed and moving, so that when I do sit down to write, things flow much more easily than they did when I randomly sat down to scribble something out, usually under the pressure that I needed to have something that night for my writers group. When I set a daily page goal for myself, I’m able to relax and write. Before, I would rush through a scene, trying to just get it done. Now, I’m able to relax and immerse myself into what I’m writing. I feel my characters out, dig deeper into their emotions, let things just flow, and then suddenly, I see the little star I drew at the bottom of page number X, and – I did it! I made the progress I’d hoped to make that day. It means a small victory every day, and I can leave the self flagellation (I really should be writing, I wasted all my time today, etc.) behind.

Though I’m yet unpublished, I treat my writing like it’s a job. Luckily, it’s a job for which I have endless passion and plenty of drive. I love hearing what published authors have to say on balancing the creative process with the more objective side of writing – understanding the business, finishing projects, knowing what you hope to accomplish. It takes strength in both to make it in this field.

By the way, one of my goals for today was to write a blog on writing goals. Done!