IWSG Post 15: Reflection on Goals and a Five-Year Writing Plan #IWSG


[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]


I used to facilitate classes on goal writing. Looking back, it seems so long ago, me in a suit, standing at the front of a room pointing to charts, setting up videos, and providing my own personal examples to fellow business professionals what future personal and professional goals look like.

I’ve almost forgotten the feel of that environment. Until the December IWSG question for the month asked me to answer, “In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself in five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?”

The question/reflection made me nervous, scared and excited all at once. I do believe we all need goals, and some goals we set are better at getting us where we want to be. Plus for me, they give me a chance to check off little boxes (victory steps), or a chance to rewrite and reroute myself if I set a goal and life somehow got in the way of that time frame.


I’m both scared and excited. I’m scared because my publisher closed their doors this past fall and it’s been difficult and incredibly emotional to think about where to go next. I’m excited too, to think about possibility and my own personal gumption to achieve success.

Yesterday about 4:00 a.m. I sat down with my purple magic writing pen and my purple notebook to scratch down a few things in answer to this question. Here’s the picture of my notes, with all the swirls and scratches through the lines.

And here’s the typed version of what I came up with:

Personal 5-Year Plan Writing Objectives …

Long-Term Goal: In 5-Years, I aim to have a contract on at least one novel and at least one short story in a publication whether it be in print or digital form. Print of course would be my first choice.

My Short Term Goals To Get There …

  1. Complete my current edits on my manuscript in-progress by February 13, 2017 via pdf voice reader and Microsoft Word/Google Docs.
    • Write for an hour every day before work.
    • Review edits before bed three times a week.
    • Review favorite books by favorite authors to keep ideas fresh and seek out at least one new book this year, if not two.
    • Revisit goal at the end of December 2016 and again in January 2017 to reassess.
  1. Research and aspire to attend a writing workshop/conference in 2017, maybe 2018 if the finances don’t pan out, and develop a plan by the end of February 2017.
    • Build a leprechaun trap with my son and hopefully catch the leprechaun and discover his pot of gold😉
    • Seriously now, I plan to join a writer’s guild again, maybe two to find out about workshops and conferences to meet other writer friends and agents.
    • Map out the costs of travel and finances to get there by April 2017.
  1. Dedicate two lunch periods a week to networking with other writers and authors. Hopefully I can find a writers critique group or circle in the same time frame.
  2. Set aside money to hire an editor for my manuscript by June of 2017 and while waiting, start a short story along the same lines as my next full length novel. I have three ideas to pick from. Maybe I’ll have my kids tell me which one they want to hear about the most.
  3. During the summer of 2017, work on a pitch for my manuscript and also complete any necessary edits.

So that’s my forecast into the next 5 years. Do you have one thing you’re hoping to accomplish in 2017?

Thank you for stopping in today, and thank you to this month’s hosts, and founder Alex J. Cavanaugh for all the time spent networking with us.

Jennifer Hawes
Jen Chandler
Nick Wilford
Juneta Key
JH Moncrieff
Diane Burton
MJ Fifield

IWSG POST 14: Story-Telling, Helen’s Heritage, and My Favorite New Proofing Tool


[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]


Mark Twain inspired me with his words, “ The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

I think Mark Twain addresses passion perfectly here. And for me, passion is more than just responsibility, and taking care of the things you might need to do to survive, but the reason you wake up eager and excited early in the morning, or stay up late at night to make time for it. The breaks you take in your day to get something done because you feel better, creative, or more like who you want to be for you.

Passion for story-telling is my answer to this month’s IWSG post.  The question being: What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

I can’t imagine my life without the characters I create and the situations I place them in to try and solve and grow.🙂

If you’re looking for some tips on finding your passion, I came across a great article and a few steps to start exploring what makes you feel more you. You can find the article at entrepreneur.com . My favorite tip from the list was number 5. Take a break from responsibility, your work  and let your mind explore something you really love. The example given was a quick exercise in creating a haiku. Then I started to picture myself taking 5 minutes during work to strike a yoga pose like three legged dog or a modification to Warrior II.  Sometimes graphic design can be hard on the eyes. Especially when I’m doing some line coloring … line … by line … by line. I think the key is to interrupt something you may be struggling with in your day and to replace it with something you enjoy to help get you back on track.

A lovely new writing tool to help.

Last month I mentioned I was planning to try a new proofing tool to start the editing of my manuscript. It’s an App I can use on my I-phone and I purchased a customized voice. for $4.99.  I’m really happy with the results. My editing has taken on a whole new meaning and I feel like finally, I can catch the holes and the invisible grammatical mistakes I often miss when I’m silently reading my words to myself.

It’s called…vBookz PDF.

A lovely new book out.

Helen’s Heritage: Life Stories of Helen Herbert Gillham as Told to Debra Irene

My friend Debra Irene

My friend Debra Irene

One of my writing friends recently published a nonfiction book.

The back of the book goes something like this:

What was it like to be born in the depression era and to grow up the youngest of sixteen children in a poor family in rural Missouri? What was it like to be separated from your mother as a young toddler, to be without her daily nurturing and yet have deep spiritual roots and an overall strong family base? How do you carve out your own journey? And then, when your journey is over, what heritage have you left for your descendants? Will they know about the struggles and the victories on earth? Will they know about the promise of an eternal home? Will they know the family stories, those jewels locked up in time?

Helen decided not to keep those jewels to herself. Instead, she unlocked the treasure box, opened it wide, and documented it all for the generations to come. Come and read her stories. Learn of her heritage, the one on earth and the one for eternity.

I highly recommend it and you can find it on Amazon.

Lastly, I’d like to thank the IWSG hosts for taking so much time to stop in and read important thoughts to this month’s question:


Joylene Nowell Butler

Jen Chandler

Mary Aalgaar

Lisa Buie Collard

Tamara Narayan

Tyrean Martinson

Christine Rains


Question: Do you have a favorite aspect of writing? What do you do in your day when you feel stuck and it’s time to get the wheels turning in a whole new way?


Happy Wednesday.🙂

IWSG Post 13: How to Know When To Submit Your Story #iwsg


[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]


This month’s post is all about taking that step, finding that courage and sending your polished manuscript off into the publishing world.

I am the last writer to give personal advice on this topic. I do, however, have tips I’ve pieced together from a few articles from the experts on how and when to take the risk.


  • Stop the What-ifs and the “empty bucket” thinking. This is a phrase from my 8- year old son. He constantly talks about filling the bucket, and not letting bad words and phrases into your personal bucket in the first place. Persistence should be your guide, along with the belief that one day, with hard work, you too will do what you really want to do.
  • Read your entire manuscript out-loud to tighten grammar and clunky sentences. I just downloaded a great APP for my I-Phone. It’s a pdf voice reader. I haven’t tried out the app yet, but I’m anxious.
  • Read your manuscript out loud to others who will listen.
  • Send your manuscript to other writers and folks with editing experience to help you tighten up what you might not have noticed at this point.


Based on the steps above, if you feel like your story is great, you’ve caught all the kinks and have had others review it, then I firmly believe it’s time to try. Prepare your submission standards like the premise, the log-line, the query and the synopsis.

I do wish you all the best in your dreaming and writing. If you have a great tip to share for knowing when the time is right to submit, I’d love to hear it. Here’s a link to the one of my favorite articles from Writer’s Digest from the author of Blood and Salt, on how she began her submission process the second time around.

P.S. Thank you to the group, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the founder of the group, and of course all the awesome hosts this month:
Beverly Stowe McClure
Megan Morgan
Viola Fury
Madeline Mora-Summonte
Angela Wooldridge
Susan Gourley

Cover Reveal: Timeless, by Author Crystal Collier

Today, I’m introducing Crystal Collier, a hilarious writer, author, fellow member of the Insecure Writer’s Group, and from what I gather by following her blog, a really great mother. She has a lovely new book coming out very soon and below, you’ll find the back of the book, a really intriguing story.
So with that…
…check out her great new cover.🙂
TIMELESS (#3 Maiden of Time) by Crystal Collier #CoverReveal
Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016
In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.
In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.
Can Alexia escape her own clock?


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crystal Collier is an eclectic author who pens clean fantasy/sci-fi, historical, and romance stories with the occasional touch of humor, horror, or inspiration. She practices her brother-induced ninja skills while teaching children or madly typing about fantastic and impossible creatures. She has lived from coast to coast and now calls Florida home with her creative husband, four littles, and a friend (a.k.a. the zombie locked in her closet). Secretly, she dreams of world domination and a bottomless supply of cheese. You can find her on her Blog, FacebookGoodreads, or follow her on Twitter.
Want the first chapter free? Sign up HERE.