Welcome to the first week of the Winter 2016 Online Writing Group!
This is week one of the winter 2016 edition of the Lake Projects Online Writing Group. The inaugural writing group this past summer was so much fun that I decided to run a shorter version during a time I knew that I flounder around creatively and don’t get much done: the weeks following the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
January is a weird time, especially for someone like me who works on an academic calendar. There’s this sigh of relief once the holidays are over (oh you mean I don’t have to do any shopping, wrapping, baking, driving, or reveling for a little while? oh, thank you; thank you); but then there’s a two week stretch before classes start for the spring semester. Yes, there is one syllabus I still have to finish; and yes, there’s research I have to do for a new course I’d like to propose; and yes, there’s planning to do for the first few weeks; and yes, there are miscellaneous administrative tasks to get done. But there’s also quite a bit of down time, and I only have three more episodes of Mr. Robot to watch before I’m up-to-date and slowly being driven crazy by my own unproductivity (see, I’m already making up words! My little grey cells are eroding…).
So what better way to capitalize on this month than by focusing on writing? (read: there is no other better way.)
There are four other writers joining me this winter, and while it’s a smaller group than our summer cohort, it’s a mighty bunch of folks. Two writers are returning members: Lisa, my coworker, office-mate, mother, and micro-moment finder; and Robert, my coworker, office neighbor, father, and guitar-playing blogger. And two writers are new: Anne H. (not my former student and contributing blogger Anne D.), my coworker, office-mate of Robert, and fellow DePaul University grad school alum; and Matt, the man who, in addition to writing and drawing amazing comics, creating art, and writing, gave me and Trevor one of the best wedding presents ever:
So, now that everyone is introduced, let’s get to the writing. Below is a list of everyone’s goals for the next four weeks. I’ve included the big picture and first week goals together, since our group is small. We’ve all set solid goals for ourselves, and I’m excited to get started.
Winter Writing Goals:
- Anne: My self assigned project will be to read the Burroway book [Imaginative Writing by Janet Burroway] and make notes. I’ve been making notes from other materials also. But the January assignment is Burroway.
- Laura: My overall goal is to finish a story. I know that sounds vague, but I’ve got one unfinished project that I’ve been tinkering with for years, and two that I’ve been thinking about but haven’t started (one that I foresee as a longer piece and one that could be as short as a couple thousand words). I’d like to finish one of these three projects by the end of the month. So, my first week goal is to figure out which of these three I’m going to work on, and then to spend at least four pomodoros this week working on writing for that piece.
- Lisa: My overall goal is to write one story. During week one I hope to finish five pages.
- Matt: Big picture is simply to have a readable first draft of my book by the end of January, so each week will be devoted to another round of editing on different parts. Week one will be focused on the novella contained within the book (title of this section is “The Liminal Man”). Week one will be reviewing some old story notes and going through “The Liminal Man” one more time. (The story is about 89,000 words so I think that’s enough for week one!) [I agree with you, Matt]
- Robert: [Robert is continuing to work on his second novel] My goal is 250 words a day, so that’s 1750 for week 1 and 7,000 for the four weeks. Let the games begin!
And now, I want to share a short post from Flavorwire, my favorite pop culture list maker. Last April they posted “20 Great Writers on Motivating Yourself To Write, No Matter What” to usher in the spring writing season. Although we’re currently ushering in a winter writing season, and our view-through-the-window inspiration is leafless trees and winter-white skies rather than budding flowers and singing sparrows, these writers — people like (one of my favorites) Lorrie Moore, Octavia Butler, and Franz Kafka — have good things to say about getting down to the business of writing.
So read their words, get inspired, and then get to work.