About Catherine

I’m Catherine Tucker, a small town, chocolate-loving, coffee-craving, God-fearing, fiction writer and blogger who lives deep in the heart of Texas. In my bi-weekly posts, I will be sharing fresh and engaging content from my insight, as well as other published authors, which I hope will be informative and inspiring.

New Year’s Resolutions for Writing: How to Make Them Work for You!

new-years-resolutions

Did you start the new year off by making New Year’s resolutions? Well, the month of January is half-way gone already, but there’s still time if you haven’t. Are you good at keeping your resolutions throughout the year or does your resolve fizzle by mid-February like mine? πŸ˜‰

So this year, like I’ve done the past two years, I’ve set goals instead of making New Year’s Resolutions. And since my primary focus is enhancing and elevating my writing, my goals are centered on improving certain aspects of writing and publication.

I’ve found that when I set goals, I’m more successful at keeping them. By establishing target dates, I have something to work toward. If I don’t set dates, more than likely I won’t accomplish the task.

Below are suggestions for establishing writing and publishing goals. If you don’t have any, perhaps you can utilize these to customize your own goal-setting:

WRITING

1. Set Strong Target Dates

Last year I set a target date of February 28, 2018, to finish writing the manuscript I’d been working on for two years. I missed my deadline by about a month, finishing up at the end of March instead. But had I not set a solid date to work toward, “The End” would be nowhere in sight.

If you haven’t set a date to finish your manuscript, go ahead and look at the number of pages to have left to get to your desired page count and set a date.

If you have finished your manuscript, but now need to edit it or have a professional editor do it, set a target date to get that done too. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll accomplish just by having a goal to work toward.

2. Establish Daily Writing Goals

I’m taking a Creative Writing class this semester. In his discussion on “How to Write a 70K Word Novel in One Year” our instructor, Brian W. Smith presented a technique for establishing weekly/monthly/quarterly writing goals in order to have great productivity in one year’s time.

Brian recommended writing 200 words a day which is roughly equivalent to one typed page. At that rate you will complete 1,400 words in a week; 5,600 words in a month; and 16,800 words in a quarter. Completing 16,800 words during each of the four quarters in the calendar year equals 67,200 words, just shy of reaching the goal of 72,000 which you’ll need if you’re writing a novel.

Brian also suggested that if you fail to reach your daily goal, as life sometimes gets in the way, double up the next day and so on.

PUBLISHING

1. Complete and polish your query letter.

2. Write your synopsis. Again, set target dates to accomplish both of these tasks.

3. Establish a goal to send out “X” number of query letters per month. You determine what the number is.

4. If you’re self-publishing, determine your “next” steps and move forward.

PLATFORM BUILDING

1. If you write non-fiction, you should create a website or a blog site if you don’t have one. You’ll need a landing page for prospective readers, literary agents, or editors to find you. For non-fiction writers, it’s important to show that you are knowledgeable in the area for which you are writing.

2. If you have a website or blog, but you’re not getting the traffic you’d like. Improve the appearance and functionality of your site, perhaps by purchasing a premium template or add an e-mail list builder.

3. Create Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media accounts to establish your digital footprint. Link your website or blog site to those mediums so that your new posts go to them automatically.

Note: Writing experts say building a platform is not a necessary requirement for fiction writers. As a fiction writer, your book will be your strongest marketing tool. But if you have published books, you’ll certainly want to use a website to market and sell your books.

EDUCATION

1. Plan to attend at least one large writers’ conference and/or a couple of writers’ workshops. If you plan to pitch your manuscript, you’ll need to attend a larger conference where literary agents also attend and allow pitch sessions.

2. Plan to take a Creative Writing class

3. Read, read, read. Reading expands your vocabulary, stimulates your creativity, and helps to improve your writing skills.

So, did you make New Year’s resolutions this year or did you set goals? Drop me a line. I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings!

Catherine

Bouchercon 2019 — The World Mystery Convention is Coming to Dallas!

Whether you’re a veteran author, new writer, or an avid reader, you don’t want to miss Bouchercon 2019 — The World Mystery Convention coming to Dallas October 31 – November 3, 2019! Over 2,000 writers, publishers, readers, and including a star-studded line-up of the top mystery and thriller authors in the industry will converge on Dallas at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown! As a member of the planning team, I can say with certainty that this is going to be one awesome event!

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One of the major highlights of the convention is the appearance of renown New York Times Best-Selling author James Patterson, as Special Guest of Honor. In addition, several other New York Times Best-Selling authors will be in attendance for panel discussions and book-signings including Taylor Stevens, Deborah Crombie, Hank Phillippi Ryan, and Charlaine Harris of “True Blood” fame and new series “Midnight, Texas.”

The three days will be jam-packed with exciting events for readers and writers, including an awards ceremony to honor the top mystery and thriller authors of our day. There will be book-signings, panel discussions, book-readings, parties, and many other social/networking events. Oh, and did I say free books? Yes, as an attendee you will receive free books (mysteries and thrillers) of your choosing!!! How wonderful is that?

Bouchercon is huge! It’s like no other writers conference you will attend. Don’t miss it! Go to the website and check out the full lineup of celebrated authors and exciting schedule of events! Register now at a super early bird rate which ends December 31st. https://www.bouchercon2019.com/

I plan to be there! Do you?

Catherine

Texas-Style Roundup 2.0 – My Top 10 Most Viewed Posts on Writing for the Last Year

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Yee Doggie!


It’s roundup time again! My writer’s blog went live on January 15, 2016. In March 2017, I posted my first Texas-style Top 10 Roundup of most viewed posts on writing. Because I’ve written a plethora of other posts since then, I decided to do a second roundup just in case you missed some of my most popular posts.

Texas-style Roundup 2.0 in the order of most viewed posts:

1. Jealousy – How to Deal with the Green-Eyed Monster

2. Fierce Women Who Happen to Be Authors – A Conversation with Author Arianne β€œTex” Thompson

3. Fierce Women Who Happen to Be Authors — A Conversation with Sue Latham

4. 5 Success Strategies to Implement While You Wait for the Fifth Season

5. What’s in Your Writer’s Toolbox?

6. Fierce Women Who Happen to be Authors – A Conversation with Deondriea Cantrice

7. My Curious Start to Writing Fiction — What’s Your Story?

8. Fierce Women Who Happen to be Authors — A Conversation with Dr. Kat Smith

9. If You Could Write an Open Letter to Your 13-year Old Self, What Would You Say?

10. Mysteries – Why We Love to Reading Them and Write Them

My sincere desire is to inform, inspire, and/or encourage others on their writing journey. I hope I’ve succeeded in some small way with these posts and others.

As always, thanks for stopping and happy writing!

Catherine