Monday, June 20, 2011

Writers: Your Semi-Annual Performance Review

By Janet Fogg

In December I posted the Citation for the Order of the Chocolate Donut, a tongue-in-cheek effort to acknowledge the all-consuming, often unrecognized efforts of writers. Surrounded by flammable paper, we work with little praise, less sleep, and too much angst. Worse yet, our hair suffers as we frequently wrench out fistfuls when rejection stalls our story-telling stamina.

Today, my mission is simple. I’ve scheduled your semi-annual performance review to remind you that you're not really alone. Please, stay seated.

First, I want to compliment you on the terrific concept you’ve developed for your new book. Don’t shrug and turn away, I mean it! It’s unique and will grab an editor by the throat. You’ve written how many words? And you’re writing every day, even if only for a few minutes? Excellent!

That short story you completed? Stunning and succinct. I’m in awe.

Your article series? Get those queries out! They’re a brilliant preview for your non-fiction book proposal. Out, foul queries!

My goodness that poem is compelling. Sigh…

Ahem.

Time to look at your goals from last December. Hmmmm. Write every day. Check. Update your website. Check. Uh oh, here's one that still needs work. You said you loathed both the long and short drafts of your synopsis and that you were going to polish both. You tried? Well, a positive attitude really will help. Try again.

This leads me right into setting goals for what you plan to accomplish during the next six months. Please write them down so you can check on your progress every few months. I might remind you that specific action items are helpful and that goals should stretch your capabilities, help you to grow. What? Yes, you can finish that manuscript before Thanksgiving, so stop with the negative waves, Moriarty. Repeat after me: Bird by bird, baby, bird by bird.

Now get back to work.

6 comments:

Laura K. Deal said...

Thanks, Janet, I needed that! You're like Kelly, making me say, "So many positive waves, maybe we can't lose! You're on!"

Sisters of the Quill said...

Did you say finish by thanksgiving? Now that's pressure! Love the picture with the post...seems all too familiar. The reason I don't have a mirror in my study.

And paper, the risks. Man did you have to say that? Now I have one more thing to be neurotic about!

Good writing all! Karen Lin

Mario said...

Awesome post. Short stories. Articles. Poems. Novels. What about drunken scribblings on a cocktail napkin? Do those count?

Kenn Amdahl said...

Nice post. I was going to check things off my list, just like you said, but I couldn't find the list.

N. R. Williams said...

Good post, I'm behind in my goals but we are moving and that's my excuse.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Janet Fogg said...

Love those positive waves, Laura!

Yes, Karen, you CAN finish that manuscript by Thanksgiving. (Where are those frappes?)

Mario, if those scribblings are on your list of goals, I'd think they would count. You should check. Or share the scribblings with us!

Ah yes, Ron, I fear the black hole of lists does exist.

Nancy, moving is one of the top three most stressful events, so I think you should receive an extension, don't you?

Thanks, everyone!