Mile markers. When I was a kid, we traveled a lot by car. Since I could never sleep in the car, but both my siblings could, I was often alone in my head on these trips. They would collapse like dead bodies before the car was at the end of the driveway, and I would wander in my imagination, daydreaming and living a wonderful adventure in my head. Being well traveled, I grew accustomed to watching the mile markers and interstate signs and comparing them to the map to plot our location. I loved to see the mile markers slip by, counting up or down to our destination (depending on which direction on I-70 we were traveling at that time.)
I'm still a mile marker kinda girl. I use the Zokutou Word Meter to map and mark my progress through my novels. I love to see that little word counter go up. Each percentage point feels like a victory. Today I passed a milestone in my current WIP. 10K words. 20%. The story has veered a little here and there from the way I'd planned, but for the most part is staying on track.
I've also been working on my goals for 2008. I've completed a ms and sent it to the girls for critique. I've completed two proposal packets and sent those off for critique. The current goal is to complete the new ms and get it all through critiques before August 1st, so I can focus on conference prep materials in August and early September. I flirted with the idea of entering another writing contest, but I decided I don't need the stress right now.
On another writing front, I just finished reading James Scott Bell's REVISION AND SELF-EDITING. This book is an excellent addition to the Write Great Fiction Series. While I don't feel this book will revolutionize my writing, I did glean helpful reminders that I can take forward while I write that will hopefully minimize the needs for drastic rewrites. I highly recommend this book to all writers, but especially those revising a ms for the first time. It will be an invaluable tool in helping you break down the different parts of your novel and examinging how they work in the big picture.
I'm anxiously awaiting the opening of registration for the ACFW Conference. I've chosen my Continuing Education Track and narrowed down my choices for the Workshops. I hope they post the agent/editor list soon, though the two people I want to talk to have indicated they will be attending and taking appointments. I'm eager to check "Register for ACFW" off my list.
How about you? Are you a milestone kind of writer? Artist? Housekeeper? Employee? Do you like to chart your progress? Do you like to check things off your list? How are you doing on those short and long-term goals?