Monday, September 27, 2010

Goals Versus Ghouls

Since we are about to enter the only month in the year set aside as the spooky one, I thought it might be fun to compare ghouls versus goals. Webster defines ghouls as legendary evil beings that rob and feed on corpses. Goals are the marks set as limits to a race.

I kinda think the two are closely related, and I’m about to tell you why.

Each year at the December meeting, my local chapter passes out sealed envelopes to every writer attending who wrote their goals for 2010 and put them in a sealed envelope at the December meeting in 2009. Until this year, I have NEVER met my goals since I aim big. This year I have finally reached one of them. I can’t wait to open my envelope at our Christmas meeting.

But you know what? I’ve decided it isn’t about meeting goals at all. It’s about doing what we love to do with the hope that one day we will hold our books in our hands. It’s about the camaraderie we get from all the writing groups we join, all the writer friends we make along the way. We don’t need the validation from someone to know we are authors, all of us.

Next year my first book comes out, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about that. But it didn’t come easy or without drama. That’s why I’m going to tell you about all the ghouls that have tried to take away my goals for so many years.

CHASING THE MARKET – Although I have never actually done that until just recently, I have to list this as the number one reason why it took so long for me to find a publisher willing to take a chance on me. I never really did go for what was selling – I usually wrote what I loved and unfortunately what NY wasn’t buying for one reason or another. In essence, I ran away from the market.

Manuscript Number One
- my Colombia book – the ghouls said no way you can have a romance in Columbia. Two heroes will never work in a romance. (My favorite book, BTW.)

Manuscript Number Two
- my YA – the evil blankity blanks said it was too gritty back when I wrote it…not gritty enough now.

Manuscript Number Three
- my first mystery about stealing sperm which I did not realize was a mystery until recently…not bad, they said, but not my breakout book.

Manuscript Number Four - my ghost story - the jury is still out on that one, although it’s because my editor loved this one that she asked if I had a cozy.

Which brings me to chasing the market. Cozies are selling right now, or at least they were. I didn’t have a cozy, but you can betcha I quickly came up with one. They say by the time you sit in on a Spotlight On at Nationals with one of the NY publisher, and they tell you what they’re looking for, it’s too late to start writing one. By the time you finish it, the market will already have been flooded. Now if you already have a manuscript that would fit their needs, good for you.

The second thing that has kept me from selling sooner is my own STINKING THINKING. It throws me into writers’ block so fast, my head spins. “I can’t finish this manuscript.” “I hate my characters.” “No one will ever want to read my stuff.”
What’s up with that?

And lastly, meet the “'YOU SUCK' GHOUL.” We’ve all danced with him once or twice or a million times before. I’ve let too many contest critiques, comments on my stories, and/or rejection comments make me doubt myself at times. I’m a good writer, dammit! So why did I let someone else convince me I might not be?

Okay, I’ve bared my soul and told you all my insecurities, Now I want to hear yours so I don’t get even more insecure. What ghouls are keeping you from achieving your goals?

Maybe if we can find a pattern, we can put our heads together and find a way to say “Bite Me” to the goal-sucking ghouls.

And just when I thought I was ready to move forward with my new story, life happened… in the form of a vacation in Phoenix with ten crazy women. The bad news is I never wrote Word One on my story. The good news is I have enough funny stuff for the next two books in my sarcastic ghost series.

And no comments about the back cleavage. It sucks getting old!!


Jonispice said...

OMG, Girlfriend...this was sooooo needed by yours truly today. It's all the things we talk about. Thanks for the reminder that I AM a good writer. You're the best CP ever! LOL
Oh, and nice pics...

Liz Lipperman said...

Ah, Joni, Joni, Joni!! You So do not suck...and you So will hold that book in your hand soon.

And you SO are are a perfect fit for me as a CP...and a darn good one at that.

Thanks for commenting.

Liz Lipperman said...

I guess two are's make you an even better CP!!!

Sheesh! Where's AutoCorrect when you need it?

Lindsay said...

Getting old doesn't suck. Getting older and not fulfilling your life's dream that suck.

Donna Cummings said...

Great post, Liz -- there really are a lot of ghouls sucking the joy out of us writers! I love the "Stinking Thinking" one. That can take over SO fast.

I guess my ghoul would be the "Procrastination Poltergeist". LOL I wake up with great intentions and then somehow the day gets away from me, so I tell myself, "Okay, TOMORROW I'm gonna really hit it!" LOL So I wouldn't mind finding a way to banish this ghoul. :)

Liz Lipperman said...

See, Lindsay, I disagree. Some of us will never achieve our goals, especially those like me who aim really high. That's the point of this blog. You are an author even if you never hold your book in your hand.

Now if you're talking about those crappy twenty pounds I've been trying to lose for so many years......

Liz Lipperman said...

Donna, how could I forget the old Procrastination Poltergeist? It is also my biggest ghoul. I try so hard to be disciplined, but I just can't seem to make myself write on command.

Help, y'all. Donna and I need you to tell us how you stay disciplined.

vicki batman said...

You are so awesome. And love your comments. I wish I could see your face when you open that envelope with the goals written inside. oxoxo

Kari Lee Townsend said...

OMG Liz...I love you!!!!

You truly crack me up. And I grinned nonstop. You might be older than me (and still look fabulous by the way!), however, I do believe I took longer than you did to sell.

Way too many ghouls to name :-) Your story is my story, sister. I think people who say don't write to the market are crazy! Okay, so like you said, don't wait forever and then try to write what's hot cuz it won't be hot for long. However, DO pay attention to the market and be aware of what is selling and what is not, and then get OUT of the procrastination spotight and hit the keyboard running. You snooze you lose really is true in this case.

Good luck to you all. Now I'm back pulling a story sucks and I can't write and my editor is going to say Why did I buy her????


Laura Morrigan said...

Man I've had the ghouls on me lately, sucking me dry.
But I'm not the rebound!
And you are SO right... no more "I hate this story" etc... talk.

Liz Lipperman said...

Vicki, I think I may have to kiss you for your wonderful comment. The awesome remark is coming right back atcha!!

I so hated to miss the plot party. Hope you got a lot done. I'm so there for the next one. Ever notice how much I say "so"?

Liz Lipperman said...

Oh brother, Kari, you can't be thinking you suck. I bow to your three book deals at two different publishers in two different genres. Holy cow!

As for procrastination, I'm still waiting for someone to enlighten us about how to not do it.

Smooches to you for the fabulous remark, BTW!

Liz Lipperman said...

Laura, it's good to see you here. You are the inspiration for this blog, you know.

Folks, Laura wasn't feeling the love for her writing skills and commented on a loop we're on. She forgets that I've read some of her work and know she is definitely a great writer!! So feel that love!!

And she wants you to know she is NOW on the rebound instead of not! LOL

Lindsay said...

Liz, you've defeated the 'YOU SUCK' Ghoul. You are a good writer. Not only do you know that but we do. If you weren't a good, correction great, writer whould you have a multi book contract. Every one of us has to have lofty goals otherwise we'll never get past writing the first page in our book. Much less finish the damn thing and submit it to agents and/or editors. And by having lofty goals you (ed.) aren't setting yourself up for a fall, little disappointment, maybe, at times but not a fall.
The only regret I'd have in life would be if I didn't try and reach for those high, some might say, goals.
And speaking of 20 pounds, heck I'm trying to lose the spare tire. Then again, maybe that's my ghoul and I haven't set a GOAL for it.

Donna Cummings said...

So Liz, do you think an exorcism would work for the Procrastination Poltergeist? LOL

Liz Lipperman said...

Ooh! Smooches coming to Connecticut, too.

Lindsay, I think, you're right about setting lofty goals. How good would the Cowboys be if they only played teams they knew they could beat? (Wait - that sounds pretty good right now!!!)

But just like everything else in life, it is way more rewarding if you have to work at it and finally beat it.

But equating not achieving lofty goals with failure is not an option. It simply means you tried your hardest and will keep on trying.

Let's kill that weight ghoul, too.

Liz Lipperman said...

Donna, I love the idea of an exorcism. Be gone, Procrastination Poltergeist!!

There, I feel better. Do you?

I'm still blogging though and not writing on my manuscript. Oh hell!!
Call the priest back.

Lindsay said...

'Failure is NOT an option.' That's a frequent quote and oh so true.
The weight thingie-BANG. The ghoul is dead. Long live the goal.

Cassy Pickard said...

Liz: I always can't wait to read your posts. They are a highlight in my day. My list of ghouls is too long to bore the group with. But, I would say my number one might be "self-confidence." I write something and think it's awful. I let it sit for a few days and then think, "who was the wizard to crept into here last night and put this on my computer?" Then I start to edit the wizards great, but not great enough, words. The sense of distance is important for me. And, as I have said, I like editing. So, I need to spend less time fixing and more time producing. Do you have a magic wand for that??

Donna Cummings said...

Liz, definitely need a do-over on that exorcism -- I've procrastinated more today than I have for a long while! (Christine's not reading this, is she? If so, I was TOTALLY joking about the procrastination. TOTALLY.) LOL

Liz Lipperman said...

Cassy, it's that 'Stinking Thinking' working on you. I believe writers as a whole are secure. Think about it - we write in a room all by ourselves and only talk to people in our heads.

We all need to train our psyches to tell us we are good writers and that we merely need a little editing on our stories.

I like that a whole lot better.

Hope you're feeling better.

And Lindsay, thanks for killing that weight ghoul.

Liz Lipperman said...

Donna, no, Christine is still in Italy at the Women's Fiction Festival.

Chalk this up to a bad day of writing for both of us. If you can keep that secret, so can I.

Tomorrow is another day. It's nap time somewhere.

Lindsay said...

Just call me 'The Ghoul Killer'. Two more to kill then everything will be perfect.

Harlow said...

Good post, Liz. my biggest writing ghoul at the moment is a little 10 month old named Gianna who has me wrapped around her little finger.

Liz Lipperman said...

Harlow, little ghouls named Gianna (and Grayson, Caden and Ellie) are the only ones we can embrace. I can't believe she's walking already, and I guess you'll be "Ga ma."

Thanks for stopping by. Kiss that sweet child for me.

Mary Martinez said...

Liz great post yesterday. I'm sorry I was MIA yesterday.

I think I have had all of your insecurities at one time or another and sometimes all at the same time.