My writing goals for 2018 and the
future of #yearofwriting

Please subscribe to my newsletter to get writing news and updates.

Well, it’s a new year so HAPPY NEW YEAR and all of that!

I’m starting off 2018 in a pretty exciting way, to be honest, by spending most of the beginning of the year by celebrating my new marriage to the love of my life and the most supportive partner I could ask for. After getting married a few days ago, Adam and I are off on a honeymoon cruise to Cuba tomorrow… But, in the meantime, I am taking some time today to think about how 2017 went and my plans for 2018.

All in all, 2017 went really well. Although 2016 was a rocky year for most of the nation but a very happy year for me, 2017 is my first full year of being a full-time freelance writer and editor and I had some hefty writing goals for myself. Towards the end of the year, after I accomplished most of them, I revised my writing goals and set about accomplishing them.

As you can see by my final #yearofwriting report for December, I did! I even did the math on how much I wrote (277,899 words), how much I made ($62,381) and how much I pitched (92 sent out and 16 accepted for a 17% acceptance rate). So, all in all, my #yearofwriting went well… But now what?

Well, I thought long and hard about this during the last month of 2017, but I’ve come up with some new writing goals for 2018. Here they are:

1. Write regularly for Latinx publications: At the end of 2017, I had started to write a lot for HipLatina and really enjoying everything that I was doing there (from the newsy posts every day to the personal essays to the well-researched pieces). I also am continuing my work with MamásLatinas and seeking out new opportunities to write in this space. Although I will continue to freelance for other publications, too, this is going to be my major focus for my writing in 2018.

2. Save all freelance income for L.A.: One of the BIG things that my (new) husband Adam and I want to do in the long run is move to Los Angeles. We’re not yet sure when that will happen but another goal for me this year is to FIRST pay off all of our current credit card bills (with my freelance income) and then put all of that same money towards saving money for the move. Even though I’m not sure when I will officially be a West Coaster, I’m excited to start taking real steps to making it happen someday.

3. Get an agent and sell my memoir: Last year, my goal was to finish writing my book proposal. And I did it! I still have to do some editing on the thing, and get a professional editor to take a look too, but after that… I am going to be going out to agents hard. Basically, this means that I think Moscow Chica: How Growing Up In Russia And Cuba Made Me An American is soon going to be ready to see the light of day—and so I am making this a huge focus too. Get ready for 2018, cause my memoir is coming!

To be honest, I actually decided on most of these goals a few weeks ago. As the year was ending and I was reflecting on everything that is going on, I knew just what I wanted to make happen in 2018. As Adam and I talked about our marriage and what we wanted our mutual goals to be, I knew that I wanted some of that reflected in my writing goals for 2018 too (such as the L.A. savings). And, most importantly, I wanted my goals to reflect a certain kind of focus that they didn’t have the previous year.

Having just three writing goals for 2018, I think, will make some things a lot easier for me. I know that if I begin to go off of any of these goals, it will be easy to spot. I know that if I start to look at other forms of income that, say, aren’t Latinx publications, I need to make sure that they’re not taking attention away from my main focus. And I know that I need to put some serious time into doing whatever needs to be done for my baby, my memoir Moscow Chica, and to make sure that I keep my promise to myself about getting the thing edited and in tip-top shape to send to agents.

As for the #yearofwriting… Well, I want to continue documenting my progress in my freelance career, so you can expect to see more of that here. Although they won’t be quite as extensive as they were in 2017, I will still be tracking what I wrote every month and how I am doing on my writing goals. There’s a lot more to say here but for now, let me end it with: 2018, here I come!

Want more? Check out all of my writing above and subscribe to my newsletter for news and updates, then follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

November Writer’s Life: Finally hit my financial goals! [#yearofwriting]

Please subscribe to my newsletter to get writing news and updates.

Last month, I wrote about a serious lack of motivation after a very crazy and busy September (due to Hurricane Irma and a 2-week vacation). I had recently updated my writing goals for 2017 and was hoping that November would go much better… And guess what, it did!

One of my BIG goals for the end of the year was to finish my memoir book proposal, which I did with one month to spare! That’s right, the Moscow Chica: How Growing Up in Russia and Cuba Made Me an American book proposal has been written and is now safely in the hands of some trusted editor friends. It feels absolutely incredible to have gotten this far with the book, even though I know there is still a ways to go. Right now, my big goal is to get the proposal back from friends and edit it again, before I can get it ready to actually seek agents and a publisher. So stay tuned!

What was published: 

HipLatina, specifically: 

The other big goal I had for the end of 2017 was to make $2,000 in freelance income a month. Although I didn’t quite get there in October (which I figured I wouldn’t due to the previously mentioned motivation issues), I was pleasantly surprised that I just made it in November. I honestly had no idea I was so close! So to see me back to my earning potential felt GREAT.

How much I wrote: 32,603 words

How much I made: $2025

In terms of my writing, I not only made my financial goals but I also wrote quite a bit. Most of that was for work, of course, but I also spent time working on the memoir. In fact, for my memoir, I wrote 10,341 words. That’s basically 1/3 of my writing productivity for the month of November and that feels SO good. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I can’t even begin to describe how good it feels to get this far on something I have been dreaming about for over six years.

Pitches sent out in November: 6
Pitch rejections: 2
Pitch non-replies: 4
Pitch acceptances: 0
Pitch reply with question: 0

Follow-ups with previous pitches: 3
Pitch rejections: 3

When it came time for pitches for November, I didn’t get very far. But then again, I didn’t really intend to. I basically took a “meh, if I have something really good” approach. Since I was confident that I would fulfill my financial goals just on my current regular work at HipLatina and  MamásLatinas , I only pitched when I *really* wanted to. It’s a strategy that served me well, in term of the time I spent, but I didn’t actually get any acceptances (yet) so I may changed my thinking for the last month of the year.

All in all, I think this has been a great month. I am truly excited to see what the last month of the year will bring. Having my writing goals for the year, along with writing these blog posts, has really taken my career to the next level. That’s not the only thing that’s done it, of course, but I  feel like I am slowly figuring out more and more about my work style, preferences, talents, etc. There’s a long road to go (I hope!) but, well… so far, so good!

Want more? Check out all of my writing above and subscribe to my newsletter for news and updates, then follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

September Writer’s Life: Hurricanes & a real vacation [#yearofwriting]

Please subscribe to my newsletter to get writing news and updates.

What can I say about the month of September? To be honest, I don’t even know where to start. The truth about this month is that I almost didn’t work. First of all: I had a pre-planned vacation for a good chunk of the month.

My fiancé Adam and I had been planning our trip to Europe ever since I surprised him on his birthday with concert tickets to see one of his favorite artist who was going to be giving a once-in-a-lifetime concert in Tilburg, The Netherlands in September. We decided to visit Amsterdam for a week and pair that trip with two cities in Germany: Cologne and Frankfurt.

Other than that, however, Hurricane Irma struck our hometown in Southwest Florida and threatened not only our home but also our travel plans. Thankfully, our home was mainly unscathed and we made it to Europe as planned. The only problem came in that, because I was so busy and overwhelmed by hurricane prep, I had no time to do any kind of writing in the week and a half before our trip. And, of course, the two September days after we got back were primarily spent catching up on everything.

So what I am saying is this: Excuse me if this month seems less-than-ideal in terms of my #yearofwriting progress.

What was published: 

Basically, all of the pieces that were published under my name this month were all things that I wrote the month before. But that’s okay. When you’re faced with a hurricane and a two-week vacation, life happens. And it’s really important to let life happen, I think.

I did write one piece, the 12 Foods Every Cuban Grew Up Eating for HipLatina, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (which runs from September 15-October 15). Definitely proud of that one!

How much I wrote: 3,749 words

How much I made: $100

The one great thing that came out of writing this month is that, encouraged by my incredibly supportive partner and fiancé Adam, I made some real headway on my memoir, Moscow Chica. He basically forcefully encouraged me to spend Labor Day weekend on the project, which I did. Happy to report that my book proposal is close to being done. And I definitely could NOT have done it without his not-so-gentle nudging.

Pitches sent out in September: 0
Pitch rejections: 0
Pitch non-replies: 0
Pitch acceptances: 0
Pitch reply with question: 0

Follow-ups with previous pitches: 0
Pitch rejections: 0
Pitch non-replies: 0
Pitch acceptances: 0

Obviously, since I had NO time to write, I also had no time for pitches this month. Oh well. I think I can just shrug this one off and tackle some SERIOUS pitching in October, which will be my first full month of being back on the full-time writing horse. (Um, is that a weird thing to say?)

Quarter 3 totals: 

How much I wrote: 61,336 words
How much I made: $3716
Pitches sent out: 4
Pitch acceptances: 1

Here’s to the end of the year going MUCH better than Quarter 3!

Want more? Check out all of my writing above and subscribe to my newsletter for news and updates, then follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Introducing Moscow Chica – now a blog, book and newsletter [#yearofwriting]

Please subscribe to my newsletter to get writing news and updates.

As you’ve probably noticed right above this sentence, there is something new in my life – and that is that my in-the-works memoir, Moscow Chica: How Growing Up Russian and Cuban Made Me an American, is now also being joined by a brand-new Medium blog (or publication, as they call it) and a newsletter… all basically in service of my writing about multiculturalism, Russia, Cuba, being American today, immigrant issues and rights, and more.

Here’s the thing I realized recently: Writing a memoir takes TIME. So very much time! One of the commitments I made to myself during this #yearofwriting is that I was going to be doing #52essays2017, all of which are in service of my memoir and writing about how my immigrant and multicultural upbringing has affected my American life.

And it’s really exciting to write about all of that but, to be honest, with everything going on in the world right now with President Cheeto (I’m sorry, I just can’t say his name) and the Muslim travel ban in the first few days of his being in office… and everything that has happened since with immigrant issues and rights (including the recent raids which our so-called leader is calling “a military operation”), I feel the need to do more.

And so I started the Medium publication, Moscow Chica: Half-Russian, Half-Cuban, All-American. In fact, my very first post was about the “A Day Without Immigrants” protest and how I personally am choosing to honor it (hint: it has to do with the new blog!).

What’s coming up on the Medium publication/blog will be primarily topics and issues surrounding immigrant rights today and multiculturalism in general. I will also be sharing things I have published in the past and some of my writing that is being published elsewhere (all related to immigration, being Russian/Cuban/American and growing up or being multicultural).

And, of course, I will be continuing the #52essays2017 challenge (which is, as you already know, about the memoir and my past) and how all of that relates to my upbringing as an immigrant in a multicultural household. These posts will also now live on Medium, since I want to talk about all of the things that relate to being “Half-Russian, Half-Cuban, All-American”.

Meanwhile, the newsletter is primarily a vehicle for me to be able to easily share updates with those that are interested in the things I am writing about. So if you’re curious about memoir writing as a topic, multiculturalism and/or immigration rights (or if you’re just a big fan of me, haha), then you should definitely subscribe.

At the end of the day, though, this isn’t just about me or my work (though I hope you like what I have to say) but about what’s going on in the U.S. today.

It’s no understatement to say that we’re in a bit of a dumpster fire at the moment. Just this week alone, things haven’t been good for immigrants (duh), Native peoples or trans kids. And that really hurts me deep down because I love America. Or at least I used to.

These days, to be honest, I struggle with my (former?) pride in the country my family decided to make our home and my disgust at what is happening today. But I firmly believe that it’s in the power of the people to create change. And as a writer and journalist, my power lies in my words.

As I look to create more dialogue surrounding multiculturalism and immigrant rights, I will also be seeking out and sharing the stories of others. After all, the only way to fully form a resistance is to use our voices (while we can) and continue to speak out against injustices.

At least, that’s my plan for the next four years… and 40 years, too.

Want more? Check out all of my writing above and subscribe to my newsletter for news and updates, then follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

How do you find motivation when your mind is freaking out?

Please subscribe to my newsletter to get writing news and updates.

I am having an extremely hard time doing anything this past week.

It’s not like I am lying in bed sick or depressed or feeling lazy or something like that. Nope. My problem today is my mind, and its utter inability to quiet the F down at the moment.

Here’s the scenario: I came home last week after my third trip in a month and quickly realized just how exhausted I felt. I couldn’t write anything last week, but I did do my regular editing and also spent some time just reading other writers’ works and focusing on my freelancing. Yes, I didn’t produce words, but I still felt like I did *something*.

I did some really good reading over the weekend and have even established a new morning routine that I am pretty proud of (so far). So, basically, this week was going better until last night, when I was reading something about the different ways that writers can make money (short ebooks, podcasting, seminars, consulting, etc) and started to have an absolute mind meltdown.

Here’s what it looked like: Oh! Okay, I can do all of these new other things. But wait, which ones do I want to do? Do I want to do consulting? I do like giving advice… But is this thing what I want to give advice on for the rest of my life? And what about books? I still haven’t been working on my memoir, but maybe I should do an ebook on this other similar but unrelated topic? Or wait, what if I get bored of writing about this thing just like I got bored of writing about that thing? How am I ever going to build a personal brand or author platform if I can’t find focus? OH GOD, what if I am an unfocused mess? How do I find motivation? What’s wrong with me that I have so many ideas and can’t seem to commit to one for more than a day or two? Am I ever going to finish anything? Am I ever going to be a success? Oh nooooooo… What if in 20 years, I am still here and doing the exact same thing that I am doing right now? It’s not like I don’t love what I am doing right now, I really do, but I want my career to *go somewhere*. How do I figure out where it should go? Or how I should help it get there? What do I do? What do I do? How do I get there? WHAT DO I DO?

This went on in silence for about an hour while Adam and I were watching the Cubs vs. Giants game, until I finally spoke up. It was probably another two hours of intermittent word vomit on my poor awesome, incredibly supportive boyfriend who listened but admitted at the end of the night that he was a bit overstimulated with all of my crap. (He didn’t say “crap”, that’s my word for what was going on.)

I also took some time to re-read my favorite career-ish book, StrengthsFinder2.0. I took the assessment four years ago and it’s still something I go back to constantly because I find it such an inspiring reminder of what I am naturally good at: futuristic (meaning that I am constantly looking to improve and grow or help others or the world do the same), communication (I’m a writer, duh!), competition (guilty, but in a good way?), input (because I love to collect things and information, and this section even recommends an “output” which to me means writing about the things I learn about) and woo (which stands for “winning others over” because, as they say, there are no strangers in the world, only friends I haven’t met yet).

Reading through all of that last night was not as comforting as usual, however, and I went to sleep with the same confusing thoughts running around in my head. What do I do? What do I do? WHAT DO I DO?

I am still having that mind meltdown and trying to figure out where I want my career to go and how I want to get there.

I know the truth: That you can’t know the right path. That there actually is NO right path, especially not for a writer. There’s no guarantee that I’ll ever be famous (I wish!) or that I’ll even be regarded as someone halfway decent in my field. Sure, nobody can ever know that about anything that they do, but I am currently filled with this need to feel as if I am putting my best foot forward and doing everything that I can be to ensure my success.

And I’m okay with failing (I think). I know that I have failed in the past, and I can pick myself up and keep going. And I know that success may take much longer than I wish, and that it may not look like what I think it will look like. I also know that I may change my mind and want to go after something else later on, or that I can change my strategy at any point if I find that what I am doing isn’t quite working.

But currently, I am paralyzed in my writing efforts because I want some sort of direction, and I don’t know in which direction to go.

The funny thing is that I have no problem committing to a single person for the rest of my life. Cause, well, that was a pretty easy choice since he’s the best person I’ve ever met. But why is that SO MUCH HARDER in my career? Why can’t I commit to a writing project or idea or some sort of direction?

Instead, I’m sitting here and word vomiting some more and just at a loss of where to go. And I know that I’m not the only writer to suffer from this. I know that I’ll get over it, feel better and move on. I know that tomorrow or maybe the next day things will be back to normal and I’ll be feeling hopeful or accomplished or maybe even have some sort of idea about where I want to go and how I want to get there.

Then maybe in a week or a month or seven months, I might be back here again… With my brain feeling like it’s melting and freaking out and just no idea of what My Path is, even though I honestly don’t even believe that there is a single path for anyone. But I still want one, damnit!

Where’s my path? How do I find it? And in the meantime, how do I tell my brain to calm the F down because I need to actually do some work now?

Want more? Check out all of my writing above and subscribe to my newsletter for news and updates, then follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...