When Pigs Fly is an expression of impossibility, the implication being that such a circumstance will never occur. So as President of the HBA chapter this year, I introduced the When Pigs Fly Initiative, a voluntary program with the idea being of taking a writing goal you never thought you could achieve and break it down into manageable parts – and then, who knows?
Now I must digress. Last week the WoC’ers met at the half way point of our fourth goal-setting period to evaluate our goals to see if we were on track or if we needed to reevaluate. I will let my partners discuss their goals, if they choose to. I will limit my discussion here to what changed for me, and they were significant in several major ways.
Change 1: Confidence – This was a hard one. One of the reasons I had switched to writing contemporary romance was that I had thought – erroneously – that I might actually be able to produce a backlist and thus build my flailing confidence as a writing. This proved not to be the case, and so I decided as long as I wasn’t publishing anything anyway, I might as well not publish writing what I truly love.
Change 2: Branding – In talk after talk, in article after article, I’ve heard extolled the value of branding yourself as an author. Assuming that one day I do actually publish, I want to be known in the genre I want to stay in, the genre I love, and that is not contemporary romance.
Change 3: Process – I’m a lazy writer. Typically want to jump right into the “fun” part. I don’t like pre-writing, research, character bio’s, blah, blah, blah. Still, there is value there.
So half way through the Write or Consequences goal period, with group approval, I changed from completed a first draft of the third book of a contemporary romance serial plus significant second draft work on the first book of the serial TO Outline, prep work, and 1st three chapters of my fantasy novel. Wow. Significant change, yes?
Now then, let’s return to my When Pigs Fly thoughts. When I first announced the initiative to the RWA chapter, personally I was thinking too small. I see that now. It’s finishing my fantasy novel that I believe is beyond my capability. Why? Because this story is ridiculously multi-layered. Multiple POV characters, on multiple continents, doing multiple things, affecting multiple things, at different times, on different planes of existence, bringing together both the past with the present and setting into motion the future. It is life and death. It is the divine and the mortal, and it will happen over the course of several books. And all of this from a gal who has never even published one book. Oh, yes. If ever there was a When Pigs Fly goal – this is it.
But look at my goal (due date Oct 31) – Outline, prep work, and 1st three chapters of my fantasy novel. I’ve been working on this novel for some time already. It’s not like this is all brand new. While there are SIGNIFICANT changes, this is a doable goal.
To sum it all up, I think it is important to always be looking at, evaluating and changing (if needed) your writing process); to stretch yourself as a writer; and to never stop plugging away. Look for your own When Pigs Fly writing goal, break it into smaller pieces, and then see what you can accomplish. You never know until you try! Oink, oink.
Lorinda Peake wrote her first ditty when she was ten on an English seashore while visiting her British grandmother. From then on, her family either acted in or were treated to plays, skits, or commercial spoofs. In school, she wrote poetry, fables and short stories.
Years later, she tossed down a particularly bad novel and thought, “I could do at least that well.” She’s been pursuing the elusive published novel ever since. Recently, she joined a group of fellow writers who decided to cajole, bully, encourage, and sometimes baby each other along towards the publishing goal by setting real and measurable writing objectives with “motivational” consequences for non-attainment.
Lorinda loves a good romance – all the more if it is wrapped in a great fantasy setting. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her husband of 34 years.