Midyear Writing Check-in is a Reality Check

Somehow, we’re halfway through 2022!

I set myself some ambitious writing goals in January, so thought it’d be a good time to check in on those. Never mind that my family’s also going through a major life change (insert face palm emoji). More about that below.

2022 Goals: Reality Check

For my 2022 writing goals, I wanted to:

  1. Edit two manuscripts, hopefully with some research travel
  2. Write three short stories
  3. Write six blog posts
  4. Get an agent

For the first one, it must have been the blush of the new year to make me think I could edit two manuscripts! Especially with historical fiction, there is a heap of research that has to be done after the first draft is done. I have, however, managed a read through-edit (finding plot holes), a developmental edit, and a line edit (using ProWritingAid) of one. I recently handed it off to my first beta reader. My critique group is about halfway through reading it. If the stars align, maybe I can get it done by the end of the year.

Happily, I was able to do some on-the-ground research. My story is set in 1910 New York City, and in April 2022, we took our first airplane trip since COVID started and went to New York. I visited some spots, talked to people, and picked up my weight in NYC history books from some of my favorite bookshops (like Strand and the Tenement Museum).

I opened the second manuscript, but I think it’s too heavy a lift for this year. It definitely starts in the wrong place, and I need to do some in situ research for that one to get a better lay of the land (it’s set on the island of Guernsey).

For the other goals: I’ve written one short story, but I’m not feeling the short story vibe at the moment; this is my third blog post of the year, so that one’s probably doable; and the agent… woof. Seems I picked a tough year for re-entering the query trenches. Take a look at twitter at the #amquerying hashtag to get an idea about the state of the publishing industry and querying at the moment. It’s not pretty.

Second-half 2022 Goals: Real Life

We recently found out that after 15 years in Austin, we’re moving to Montana. My husband got a job there, and my work is remote. Our daughter is big into the outdoors, and we all love Montana. We went on a family trip a few years ago, and my husband—a biologist and avid fly fisherman—has been many times over the years. Needless to say, it’s upended a lot of plans and made concentrating on creative work more of a challenge.

I’m excited about what the move means—for inspiration and, from what I understand, a vibrant writing community. Rocky Mountain mining towns have always fascinated me, so I’m looking forward to delving into local history and seeing what stories float to the surface (maybe one of those elusive short stories). After two and a half years of staring at the same four walls during the pandemic—in addition to the increasing Texas heat, which has always been a challenge for me—I can’t wait for Alpine meadows and towering peaks, even the snowy winters.

I have an idea swirling, which I think may be well suited to a novella. It needs more time to noodle around in my head, but it could be a next project until I can travel to the Channel Islands. Or I may write a follow-up book to my current one. Further, I envision there will be plenty to blog about in a new setting.

As for the agent, I still have dozens of queries out in the world. If someone bites, fantastic. But it could be this is not the year. I have a feeling that my current work in progress that’s out to beta readers may be my most commercial, so maybe that’ll have legs when I’m done with it. I’m just not going to worry about it right now.

Resetting Expectations

Sometimes life gets in the way of our writing goals. Occasionally, we can write around them. But other times, we have to accept that writing has to go on the back burner for a bit. Not forever, but we may need a little space.

I was ambitious at the start of the new year. Now it’s time to recalibrate.

  1. Finish the edits on the manuscript
  2. Aim for another three blog posts
  3. Figure out what’s next

The wide open spaces of Montana may be exactly the inspiration I need.

What are your plans for finding inspiration? How do your goals looks midyear?

Photo credit: Kyle Glenn/Unsplash

Published by katezerrenner

I write non-fiction environmental work, mainly climate change, energy, and water, with a heavy focus on policy. I also write historical fiction. In addition to writing, I work as a policy advisor at the State of Texas. Previously, I spent over a decade at Environmental Defense Fund, where I led EDF’s multi-year campaign to influence and enact state and national energy and water efficiency policy. I led the state legislative team, testifying before the US Congress and Texas Legislature. Prior to joining EDF, I worked at the U.S. Government Accountability Office analyzing U.S. action on climate change and the voluntary carbon offset market; SAIC, on climate change projects for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and U.S. Department of Energy. I have a Master’s degree in International Energy and Environmental Policy and Economics from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, a Master’s in Comparative Politics from the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and a Bachelor’s degree in European History from the University of Texas

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