Monday, August 26, 2019

Three Things to Evaluate as We Move into Fall




How has your summer been? For me, it seems to have passed in a blink. Some traveling, some writing retreats and weekends, some weeks at home editing and writing, and all of a sudden, I'm staring down the barrel of September, the start of a new school year, the season of pumpkin-spice everything. Since my younger child graduated and I am not homeschooling anymore, I am no longer ruled by the tyranny of the School Calendar. The rhythm of my days is not changed much with the turning of the leaves…and yet…perhaps it should be. 



The changing of a season is a good time to reevaluate our goals, habits, and mindset where our writing is concerned. Did you set some goals in January? We’re 2/3 of the way through 2019. Perhaps now is a good time to take stock of what we've done and what remains to be done this year for us to stay on track.



Did you set a word count goal for 2019? Or a number of submissions you wanted to get done? Agents queried? Books released? Some other writing goal? How are you doing with that? Do you need to reassess? Perhaps your goals weren’t lofty enough? Have you surpassed any benchmarks you set for yourself? Are you perhaps a little behind? What are you going to do to catch up?



 


Where are your writing habits after the summer months? How is your discipline? Are you writing often, or are you just thinking about writing? What changes will fall bring to your writing time? Will it be harder to squeeze in, or will having kids in school free up more time to write? Are you taking time to learn more about the craft of writing? Reading some good books, listening to podcasts, browsing good blogs? What habits need changed, and what should you keep doing as we head into the cooler months?





How’s your mindset these days? Are you dreading the coming of shorter days, brisker temps, and busier schedules? Or do you embrace a structured format? Are you excited about writing, or does the thought of actually sitting down and sinking into a story world give you anxiety or dread. Can you use this change of seasons to reset? Mindset is perhaps the writer's greatest strength and possibly greatest weakness. How is your attitude about life in general, and how is that trickling through to your writing?

For many, the coming of fall and the start of school means a drastic change in routine. Gone are the carefree days of summer where sleeping in is normal, unplanned adventures are an everyday possibility, and bedtimes as flexible as pool noodles. It’s time for backpacks, homework, after-school activities, and a ramping up of church commitments. Such a change can rock the writer's world, or it can be the catalyst they need to reassess, readjust, and rejuvenate their writing goals for a push to the end of the year.

Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she is married to her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.

You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her at online  https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ 
where she spends way too much time!



Journey along in the Old West as four women travel to meet their husbands-to-be and discover that nothing is as it was planned. Eve’s fiancĂ© is in jail. Amelia’s fiancĂ© has never heard of her. Zola’s newlywed husband is dead. Maeve’s travel is misdirected. Can these brides can find a true love match?

The Galway Girl by Erica Vetsch
Kansas, 1875
A mail-order mix-up sends Irish lass Maeve O’Reilly to the Swedish community of Lindsborg, Kansas. Will Kaspar Sandberg consider it a happy accident or a disaster to be rectified as soon as possible?

You can order your copy of Mail-Order Mishaps today by clicking HERE.

32 comments:

  1. Erica, you won my heart because I'm always re-evaluating what I've gotten done, what I intend to do, how my year is going... and for a pantser person like me, I plot out a two-year calendar to show me (and my agent!) what I have due, what I have releasing and what I want to do for indie books... and then there are sometimes those surprise little offers for novellas, etc... and I can see at a glance what I have coming up and what I can fit in.

    Seeing things in a time frame (I think I'm a numeric kind of viewer) it helps me to see what's done and what needs to be done...

    Re-examination keeps me on target. Thank you for this!

    2/3 of the year gone!

    Oh mylanta!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ruthy, I'm in awe, and yet not surprised that you have a two-year plan mapped out. I love that you've found a system that works best for you and keeps you moving forward toward those goals.

      And yeah, where did 2019 go???

      Delete
  2. Erica, what a timely reminder of, well, time. I'm not sorry about what I've accomplished this year, even though it could have been done more efficiently. I have three books coming out with Pelican over the next two years -- my debut Sept. 20, a novella Dec. 1, and the sequel to the debut some time in 2020. I've already been through a round of edits for the sequel and we've chosen a cover, so that won't be long. Dreams do come true, I saw my first ISBN number!
    But much to do. By the end of the year I want to finish a Christmas novella, finish the nonfiction book I'm doing with my daughter (more work than you'd think, I have to write FOOTNOTES again), and finish the research for the third book in "Western Dreams." It's doable, but none of this is for the faint of heart.
    Ruthy is right, 2/3 of the year, where did it go? NO REGRETS on time spent with family, friends or in church.
    I'm in the northern climes and we have already had a couple of cool days and cooler nights. I hate the cold and hate feeling closed in, but love sipping hot Earl Grey in a china cup, reading a thick novel, and watching the snow fall. So there's that.
    Not ready for pumpkin spice. BTW, a garage around here advertised a Pumpkin Spice Oil Change last year. I think he was joking.
    Off to interview people for the nonfiction book, may be back later.
    Kathy Bailey

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy, congrats on all these 'firsts' that come with signing that first contract. You're living the dream, and it sounds like you're coping well with getting everything done in a timely manner.

      Yikes, footnotes...that took me right back to college!

      It's nice and cool here this week, too, but I'm clinging to my iced tea for awhile before switching to the hot Earl Grey.

      LOL to the Pumpkin Spice Oil Change.

      Delete
  3. Good post, Erica. Summer definitely flew by for me and now I am back to substitute teaching. I always have so many writing and household projects planned for the summer and most didn't get done. I am constantly reevaluating. Now to work on my fall goals and see how they can work out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sandy, blessings upon you for being a substitute teacher! That is hard work!

      Fall is a great time to set those new goals and along with those implement a strategy for seeing them done!

      You can do it! Keep us posted here on your progress!

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Erica. I should say I had one big accomplishment this summer in that I sold another story to Pockets, the children's magazine.

      Delete
    3. Sandy, that's fantastic! Congratulations!

      Delete
    4. Wonderful news, Sandy! Congratulations!!

      Delete
  4. Hi Erica:

    You have well described how our setting or milieu can determine our writing experiences but what if you instead 'flipped the telescope' and looked at the situation as one of allowing our writing itself to determine our setting or milieu experiences?

    Would it be like the difference between finding time to write or making time to write?

    Just a thought.

    Vince

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Vince, IMO, setting goals and examining our habits help us flip the switch between finding the time to write and making time to write. If we only write when we feel like it, or if we write aimlessly with no expectations, then most always, we will not attain our stated goals.

      Delete
  5. Erica, as I'm looking down the barrel of another heat advisory day, I'm thinking I would be very happy with some brisk temperatures.

    Thank you for reminding me to go back and look at the goals I'd set for this year. Four are complete, three are a work in progress, two are still probable and the final two will have to wait until next year. But that's okay, they were more like dreams anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mindy, I think you need to vacation in the great state of Minnesota! :) We'll help you with 'brisk.' ;)

      It sounds like you're trucking along with those 2019 goals! Way to go!

      Delete
  6. Erica! If I didn't know better, I'd think you have been peeking in my windows!

    How has my summer been? Crazy-busy. I was on-track with the goals I had laid out for the year until April came. Since then, I haven't hit any of those wonderful, productive things I had planned.

    But the year has been productive in other ways. Rather than the things I had planned, God had a bunch of other stuff in mind. It's been a year of HUGE changes for our family (some good, some not-so-good from my perspective), but it's all for our good and God's glory.

    2/3 of the way through the year? I still have time to finish the book that's due October 1st and start another one...as long as no more curve balls are coming!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There has been a lot of upheaval in your family this year...and by connection, ours too! ;) You've weathered it with grace! I loved seeing your photos on YankeeBelle today.

      One thing with our goals, we always need to remember that those are subject to what God has planned. You model this well!

      Praying that your WIP falls into place and you're not sweating that 10/1 deadline too much.

      Delete
  7. I often use the school year calendar and consider this time as the beginning of a new year. Plus, I write more in the fall and winter months. I'm working on a new book and am excited about the story so it's all good.

    Plus, I spent last week at the beach and had lots of time in the water to inspire my Muse. Now I'm back at my computer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Water-therapy brainstorming sounds lovely! So happy your new story is coming together. I tend to really buckle down and write better in the fall/winter, too. For me, it's because it's too cold and snowy to do much else! :)

      Delete
  8. Even though my kids aren't in school anymore, September has always felt like the new year to me, too! But, I mourn the passing of summer because we get such a short one here on the prairies up north. Just three short months and it's gone! I've got two deadlines coming back to back so I'm racing to meet them and will be happy to hit Christmas this year. I love re-assessing where I'm at and am thanking the Lord that this year wasn't the chaos the past two years have been. Thanks for the reminder, Erica, to keep re-assessing and defining realistic goals. And here's to pumpkin spice and cozy fall days!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurie, I'm with you. Summer is much too fleeting where I live, so fall is bittersweet. Congrats on having a couple of deadlines!

      Delete
    2. Laurie, I'm also one to mourn the loss of summer. I don't like cold weather and miss the heat! :)

      Delete
  9. Erica, this is a great time to reflect! I do tend to be more productive in the fall (if kids are home in the summer). This summer while my daughter was still in her job search, we tended to go out and do more together. Now that she's settled into her new job, I feel more settled as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seems like no matter how old our kids get, we still ebb and flow with them, right?

      Yay that your girl is settled into her new job!

      Delete
  10. What wonderful advice whether a writer or not. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucy, I am applying this to more than just writing, too! I've got the itch to clean a few closets, empty a few drawers, tidy up...though perhaps I'm just procrastinating writing... ;)

      Delete
  11. Erica, thank you for sharing your sage advice!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I asked my discipline how she is. She said she'd get back to me on that.

    I'm pretty happy with my summer progress, all in all. Thanks for this thoughtful post! I don't normally take the time to assess things until maybe the end of the year. Doing it per season, though, sounds like it would help me stay on track better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, Samantha! I asked my discipline how she was, and she said "Leave me alone!"

      Keeping short accounts works better for me. I should assess goals monthly like I used to do!

      Delete
  13. Happy to report I kept plugging away on my project even though we had a whole lot of other exciting things going on -- DD graduated from college, went on a rare family vacation and DS2 showed the reserve grand champion Guernsey (dairy) cow at the county fair. Which is huge in our world. I got a really good-for-me writing tool -- an old but functional laptop that is so out of date it can't figure out how to connect with WiFi. So no web surfing when I should be writing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats on sticking with your project, even when such fun things were going on around you! Congrats to DS2 on his RGC!

      A laptop that didn't get wi=fi would mean that I would write a lot more with fewer distractions! :)

      Delete
  14. Great post! I love the colors of fall and the cooler temps.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I don't mind getting back into a routine after lazy camping days (but I do miss the campfire chats - somehow the gas fireplace just doesn't evoke the same atmosphere...).

    ReplyDelete

If you have trouble leaving a comment, please "clear your internet cache" and try again. You can find this in your browser settings under "clear history."