Quick disclaimer to my regular readers. Each Monday during July we’ll be joined by a few rabid writers who are committed to their goals and will be checking in here to report their progress and encourage each other. Please feel free to stick around and join in the banter and goal-setting. (You’ll be eligible to take part in the weekly draws, too.)


You’ve found me, fellow Wipsters. Yes, this is the Monday check-in place for July’s #wipmadness. I put the coffee on and set out virtual goodies in the hope that some of you would find your way here.  A few non-Wipsters may pop in and help themselves, but most of them are writers, too, so I’m sure you won’t mind sharing.

Did flipping the calendar page yesterday and discovering JULY shock you as much as it did me? Not just because the weather here is still more springish than summerish – I can’t ever recall wearing a winter-weight sweatshirt on the first of July before – but because it proclaimed the year is now more than half gone.

What that means is the goals I set at the beginning of the year should be half achieved by now. But let’s face it… some of the one-month goals I set for just the month of March Madness are still in limbo, so I’m not even going to dare peek at the annual ones. (You can snicker if you want, but are YOU on track to meet all the goals you set for yourself in January or March? In April? May? June? Honestly?)

Sometimes we simply have to wipe the board clean and start again. Goals, objectives, resolutions… whatever we call them… have a way of getting stale. After a while our enthusiasm gets a little wobbly in the knees.

It wouldn’t hurt to take a hard look at why our current goals motivated us in the first place. Were there deadlines to meet, self-imposed or otherwise? Was it a Shiny New Idea we wanted to develop? Maybe a step in the journey towards publication we were anxious to complete? While the goals may have been perfectly logical in the light of January or March optimism, they may seem a little limp and weather-worn now.

Now is the time to look deeply into the heart of our projects and find their inner beauty… find new inspiration in them. It’s time to re-evaluate our goals, find a different approach, and set off with fresh determination. One idea might be to pare goals down into smaller chunks… say, for a week at a time, instead of the whole month. Put gratification within reach.

Artist and author Julia Cameron has a suggestion:

“Sometimes it is difficult to confront our work directly. We lack the nerve to look squarely at the course that lies ahead. This is our fear, and all artists have it. When we are fearful, it is best to sidle up to our next creative jump. Take pen in hand. Number from 1 to 5. List five actions that are indirectly related to your creative work. For example:

  1. Get the extra papers off my desk
  2. Organize my work area
  3. Wash and fold the laundry
  4. Buy new artist supplies
  5. Buy envelopes and stamps to make submissions

Choose one action from your list and execute it.”

That’s today’s challenge for you. Make a list if you think it will help, but decide what it’s going to take to draw fresh joy or satisfaction from your writing project. Then tell us the one action you’ve chosen for this week and how it’s going to help you reach your long term goal.

(Then again, if you’re not bogged down like I am, and are hiking happily along the trail toward your goal, feel free to just list this week’s objective.)

(Of course there are. Did you expect I was beyond using bribery?)

Each Saturday I’ll draw a name from those who comment on the previous Monday’s post, and there will be a prize for the winner. This week’s winner will be able to choose one book from my basket of novels.** I’ll keep all the remaining names, and at the end of the month I’ll draw an extra name to win a copy of Julia Cameron’s book, “THE SOUND OF PAPER.”

How does that sound? (Ack!!… is that a bad pun?) Will it help motivate you during this month when you might otherwise prefer to don your sunglasses and take a holiday from your characters and their dilemmas? I hope so!

Now, let’s hear your actions of choice for this week, or your fresh July goals.


** Contents of my basket of novels:

  • THE WHOLE TRUTH by James Scott Bell
  • SNOW DAY by Billy Coffey
  • NOT MY DAUGHTER by Barbara Delinsky
  • THE INNOCENT MAN by John Grisham
  • CROSSING OCEANS by Gina Holmes
  • THE DAUGHTER’S WALK by Jane Kirkpatrick

(It’s impossible to get me to part with my newer books yet, but I’ve read these ones, and am ready to share.)

~  ~  ~


Published by Carol

A freelance writer of fiction and non-fiction living on the West Coast of Canada.

51 thoughts on “JULY #WIPMADNESS – Week 1

  1. I am a notorious and abject failure at goal setting. Too many things get in the way. I’ve had the nebulous goal of cleaning and reorganizing my office for 18 months or more, now. Today I’ll commit to getting it done by the end of the week, so that I have a proper writer’s place to work. And I promise to check in with the results – even if I fall short. Ouch!

    1. Hi, Judith! Reorganizing an office can be a big job, but maybe the list approach will work well for you — break the job up into six manageable chunks and set the kitchen timer for an hour every day to work on each one. Let me know tomorrow what you did today. 🙂

  2. Lovely basket. Thanks for hosting this month. I finished the last read-through/edit on my MG on Saturday. ^_^ So July is dedicated to finishing the revision (adding another POV character) of the historical. And cheering on all the Wipsters. July is the quiet before the storm before my life turns inside out. I hope to get loads done. ^_^

    1. Happy dancing that you finished the MG and can now focus on your historical!! The impending “storm” sounds menacing. I hope there are some restful moments in which to enjoy a bit of summer, too.

  3. Hi Carol! Thanks for hosting…and prizes…oh boy! I’m in the final polish stage with the WIP I’ve been working on since November. I’ve sent out a few tentative queries and am entering some contests.

    As for month’s goals. I’m leaving it a bit loose. I’ve got a blog post to write for the Mixed Up Files of Middle Grade Writers this month as well as some work to do on the kids section. I’m teaching two kids’ camps later this month and then it’s time to return to teaching. So, this month is for summer. Though I am brainstorming a couple of shiny new ideas and writing scritchety scrawls in my notebook for when I’m ready to become obsessed again.

    And I have a writing friend who’s going to join us. Leigh Ann Laney welcome!

    1. Polishing to a gleam is a good thing! I hope you get some good responses to your queries and contests. It sounds like July isn’t going to be a ‘put-your-feet-up’ month for you, but don’t let your busy schedule push writing into the background.

      Thanks for introducing us to Leigh Ann. It’s always nice to have a writing buddy to help motivate.

  4. Carol,
    First, could I trouble you for a little more coffee?
    I always love your posts…..I’ve been attempting to work on my latest manuscript. Every time I start there’s laundry to fold, etc. So this post today was for me……I’m making a list…..

    1. My coffee pot is always on, Katt. Help yourself. 🙂

      Working from home means there are always distractions, whether it’s laundry or dirty windows or family needs. I hope the list idea helps you prioritize and schedule quality time for that manuscript.

  5. Thanks for hosting this month!
    I’m usually Ms. Anal when it comes to scheduling but it’s been really hard getting much done with summer and husband deciding to work 4 days from home. I really need to be more creative on my writing time.
    My goals though for this week include finishing my final edits to NO GODDESSES ALLOWED
    Write at least an hour on my sekrit project
    Revisit my sequel
    Post one review up at YA Books Central
    I think the big thing is also to stay out of family drama(lots of that happening since MIL moved down here) and just concentrate on writing and being positive.

    1. It sounds like my reply to Katt would fit here, too. We love our husbands, but having them at home all day can really change our routines. Mine is retired, so he’s here all the time! Maybe you’ll have to include yours in a discussion of your writing time requirements… see if he can help deflect some of those family distractions.

      Your writing goals put my modest ones to shame! Good luck with those final edits.

      1. Thanks!
        I’m thinking I might have to go to the library for a few hours a day while husband is at home. I really want to get this one revision done so I can get my Beta readers to go over it.

  6. Yay, thanks for hosting, Carol! Thanks to wipmadness, I’ve had a fairly productive year so far. With EIGHT DAYS left until my book releases, though, I’m trying not set too ambitious of goals for this month. This week I have about four gazillion interview questions to answer and some beta reading to get to. In other words, lots of stuff that doesn’t take much brainpower to distract me!

    1. Wow!! Eight days? That’s so exciting! It has to be hard to concentrate on anything else.

      I think you were the drive behind the original March Madness, weren’t you? It’s really proved that public accountability (or humiliation) can help us claw our way to specific goals.

  7. Hi All! I’m new to #wipmadness, and want to thank Jro (@JayeRobinBrown) for inviting me to the group and say a big HEY! to everyone. I’m really excited to find some writing buddies!
    So. Goals. Working from home, I often find it difficult to completely disengage from work at a regular hour, so I’m making that a goal this week. Work ends no later than 6pm so I can focus more time on writing!
    As a goal for July, I’d really like to complete my rewrites for the 2nd draft of my YA Time Travel novel and potentially find a beta reader to two to give it a look. Sound doable? Here’s hopin’!

    1. Welcome, Leigh-Ann! This is the place to be when it comes to getting encouragement for your writing projects. We’re all beating our way down the same path.

      You might have to set an alarm clock for 6:00 p.m. as a loud reminder that your novel is waiting. Good luck with the rewrite.

  8. I’m not exactly setting goals as much as writing every day because I love spending time with my protagonist. That’s a great feeling. I’m not in control of the rest of my life, so it’s nice to be in control of my writing. Hallelujah.

    1. With your house up for sale you’re likely to have unavoidable interruptions, but I’ll bet your protagonist will still keep your attention. When you’re on a roll you just have to make sure you’re headed in the right direction and then enjoy the ride… and it sounds like you are.

      1. I think so, too. Sadly, we haven’t had even one viewing view of the house in 13 days. I’m not dwelling on that though. I’m too busy cleaning and writing.

  9. Thanks for hosting, Carol! And I appreciate your honesty in being shocked by the calendar – oh me too!! How have I only accomplished about 5K since, oh, January? Because I let myself drift. So my goal is to keep my characters in mind and start living w them again, with small daily word counts, hopefully.

    1. Drifting is a subtle enemy… and it’s sooooo easy! I keep reminding myself that writing one page a day — just a measly 250 words — would result in a completed novel of more than 90,000 words by the end of one year. It’s doable. But you have to get rid of that word “hopefully”, and make a start. Go for it, girl!! 🙂

  10. I guess I’d better not forget to jump in here with my own goals! This week’s sounds meagre, but has been dogging me for too long — nail down a contest idea and plot it out. The deadline isn’t going to stop creeping towards me! That’s it. That’s all I’m committing to. If a goal isn’t TOO big it can’t overwhelm. Right?

  11. Hi Carol!

    I’m actually just plain pressing forward.My major goals are so *very* in reach and I am so intereted in just finishing revisions so I can send the novel out again to agents.

    Last month was unexpectedly crazybusy, and that was at times quite frustrating. But overall, I feel good about it.

    My goals this month reflect that, though. First and foremost, I want to finish the revisions on my manuscript, finally. Second, I want to start submitting to agents again. Third, I want to start working on something new. I have other projets itching at me and I want to get to them. And fourth, I’d like to get some reading done, too.

    Good luck with your goals!

    1. Your enthusiasm is contagious, Laura! I hope everyone else catches it! Good luck on finishing that revision so you can move on to the other goals.

  12. Great to meet a new host!!

    I just recently (as in last weekend) switched gears to a new WIP, and thus far I’m very excited about it and have finished two chapters. This week I hope to write at least three more, plus do some extra research on writing romance, first person, and on Saudi Arabia, since a later setting is heavily based on that culture. 🙂

    Much luck in your own goals, and all the wipsters!

    1. Hi, Charlie. Now does “switching gears” mean you’ve left something behind that’s not complete? ::ack! surely not!:: (Okay, maybe you have good reason.) Beginning something new is always exciting and it sounds like you’re making good progress on it. Happy writing and researching!

  13. Oooh, I am here too! Thank you for hosting, Carol!
    I love the idea of crossing off things on one’s list. I am a list FANATIC, in my writing life and regular life. In fact, I crossed like 4 things off my real-world list today, and was like, aaaaaah.
    My writing goals for this month are pretty focused and I am HIGHLY MOTIVATED to finish them. I’m revising my WWI-era YA first and foremost. I’m about to go off on a camping trip so won’t get a ton done there but right after that, I’m heading to a writing retreat for THREE WHOLE DAYS WITHOUT CHILDREN. Note: I love my children. But OMG THREE DAYS TO REVISE WITHOUT CHILDREN!?!?!?!?! AAAAAAAAH.
    Hope everyone has a great July chock full of #wipmadness! Look forward to seeing you all here!!

    1. Kip, I might possibly have (on one or more occasions) added to my list something I’d already done, just so I could cross it off. Um…that’s not weird, right?

    2. Hi, Kip. Glad to see you back for another month. Summer is all about camping trips in my books! I hope you’re able to get some writing done on yours… and then enjoy that great retreat! Lucky you!!! We’ll expect to hear you accomplished lots when you next check in.

  14. Thanks for hosting, Carol!
    On the 1st of July I started a new novel and I’m deep in the new-romance stage. The day job is particularly stressful right now, so it’s been so lovely to come home and escape into my new story.
    I suppose other than make progress on the new novel my main goal would be not letting querying my YA ghost story stress me out too much. Entering contests has helped because they are something else I can concentrate on. But it’s so hard having absolutely no control over this stage of the process.
    Good luck everyone!

    1. Some read as a form of escapism, while others write! LOL! Glad to hear you’re enjoying your new w.i.p. Getting involved with something new is one of the best ways of keeping your mind off the waiting that’s unavoidable with querying and submissions.

  15. I have goals for the summer, which I expect I’ll move towards in fits and starts, depending on what’s happening summer-wise (travelling, camping, day job) — 1. catch up on my reading (the stack is ridiculously high), and 2. get a good chunk of the first draft done on a new novel.

    This week, an hour a day of dedicated writing time on the new WIP. I imagine the writing will turn into brainstorming/free-writing/rambling at times, because I don’t quite have a handle on the idea yet, but I think I’m at the point where I just have to jump in and WRITE. The “actually writing it” stage will definitely help renew my joy and enthusiasm! 🙂

    1. Your goals seem reasonable to me. The hour a day of writing should help get that new work well under way. Summertime usually brings a change of pace for me, too. I’d like to catch up on my reading, but I don’t seem to be multitasking very well right now, so I think it’ll be writing first, then reading.

  16. Hi Carol! I think this is the first I’ve been to your blog.
    Love to #wipmadness team who is ROCKING it.

    I’m working on a novel I’ve written — it must be four times or more! Getting contradicting feedback from the crit group and listening to my head spin. But the book is worth it and I’ve decided to come at it from another angle. The “hold the chapter in my head and plain rewrite from the blank page” angle. My goal for this week is merely to get words down and see if this angle is the one that works.

    1. Glad you’ve made it here, Lora. Welcome! Rewriting again! Whew! It’s tough when you get conflicting opinions. While you need to trust your own judgement, you also don’t like to disregard useful suggestions. I hope this new approach proves to be the right one for you.

  17. Hey im doin good. Ill be done my read through this month. Its what ive been working since march so whoo !!

    doing a lotttt of goal setting. My next goal for this month is to set out a full year of calenders with monthly and weekly goals. Write out scenes on notecards to outline draft two w needes rewrites. Rewrites start in august!!!

    Going to blog lots more soon — planning to write in severalgenres by next year

    Stay tuned for a blog about that. Im planning to go blogging crazy and expand my endeavors.

    1. Hi, Wren. You really sound like a goal-oriented person! A full year of monthly and weekly goals all plotted on a calendar! Wow!!! I hope July is a productive month for you with good measurable progress. Thanks for checking in with us.

  18. Egads! How did July get here already! Well, I am well into revisions on this WIP and am convinced it is much, much better. I’ve just split a chapter into to and restructured some of the events to fit the new character and the new direction. So my goal is to stay inspired and keep working the clay in my hands.

    One way to keep it going is touching base with all of you, so thanks Wipsters! The other bit of inspiration is photography. I’ll keep marching out and taking photos of everyday life to remind me of the magic that is right here in front of us. Of course, the WIP will be at the back of my brain cranking out new ideas all the time. Sometimes I just have to take a step sideways so my brain can think forwards. Know what I mean?

    1. That sounds like a dance routine — one step sideways and another forward. 😉 We’ll look forward next Monday to hearing how much progress you’ve made on those revisions. Glad to hear they’re going so well.

  19. Wonderful post, and thank you so much for being our lovely host! Also, I really appreciate your sweet comment on my blog. I have been overwhelmed by how amazing and supportive our community is!

    You guys all have such awesome goals; I know I’m hooked up to a great group of motivated writers! Since I have now acquired my agent, my goal is to get through my initial revisions and begin my line edits this month. This will put me in a place where we can (hopefully) start submissions by the end of August! Keeping my fingers crossed!

    1. Lisa Ann, you’re an inspiration to the rest of us who hope to one day be where you are. Congratulations on signing with your agent! Let us know next week how you made out with the revisions.

  20. Thanks to Julia for the list idea. My goal for the next week is to get a travel essay for the Personal Narrative Essay class I am taking written, polished and turned in to the instructor. The ultimate goal is to get a magazine to publish the article. For the rest of the month I still have the reorganization of my office (big WIP) to complete and I want to get all the handwritten notes, ideas and rough-draft chapters for my novel typed into the computer. I also have a retired husband to distract me as well as seven darling Shih Tzus. I’m thanking God the rain is supposed to go away and they can all (hubby too) spend huge amounts of time outside.

    1. I hope you’re making good progress on that travel essay this week, Tori. That sounds like a good concrete goal. Then you’ll be able to research suitable places to query. Happy writing and polishing!

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