The first quarter of 2015 is now over.

Aargh! Doesn’t that statement give you angina?  After over a decade in corporate America, I have lingering anxiety at these times of the year. I suppose it’s a residual throwback from years of creating quarterly management reports. I always feel the need to do a gut-check at the beginning of each quarter–to assess whether or not I’ve done what I should have done since one-fourth of the year has passed.

And I think you should, too. C’mon–let’s have some heart palpitations together.

Here’s what I want you to do: grab your 2015 Writer’s Goals. And not having any goals ISN’T an option, folks. You paid good money to belong to RWA and SSRA, and I promise you that setting smart goals will help you maximize that investment in your writing this year! (If you don’t have goals for this year, you need to watch this video HERE today for the 2015 Writer’s Passport and  for a how-to on Goal Setting, watch the 2014 Writer’s Road Map to Success HERE.)

If you wrote down your goals in our January training this year, here’s a little picture of what you said you’d accomplish this year!SSRA Goals

Okay, now that you’re reviewing your goals…are you on track? Maybe you need a little jump-start, like I did. I was fretting over whether I’d meet my goal of getting my new YA manuscript in front of an agent this year, so I decided to do something about it. I did two things: signed up for RWA’s National Conference (it’s closed now), and entered my unpublished YA manuscript into a contest! I won’t lie: it’s stressful to enter contests and even to sign up for conferences, but with the pay-off being a possible contract, how can you NOT do it??

Follow my lead and challenge yourself–try out one of the following opportunities this month:

  1. Polish your first 3 chapters and synopsis of your WIP, and submit them to a contest! Our sister RWA chapters have sponsored a slew of contests this month. For our unpublished members, this is the contest month for you!! Check out the “32nd Annual Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers” here (deadline April 15, details HERE); the Toronto Romance Writers “The Catherine” contest (deadline April 30, details HERE), Rose City’s  “The Golden Rose Contest” (deadline April 30, details HERE); Georgia’s “Unpublished Maggie Awards”  (deadline April 30, details HERE) and finally our nearby sister chapter in Tampa, The 2015 TARA contest (deadline May 1, details HERE)! Published authors, you still have time to enter your 2014 manuscript in the OCCRWA Chapter’s “Book Buyers Best 2015 Contest” (deadline April 15, details HERE) as well as the Heart of Denver Romance Writers “Aspen Gold 2015” contest (deadline June 1, details HERE).
  2. Both published and unpublished SSRA members alike, polish off your first 3 chapters and synopsis of your WIP and consider sending it to the agent who contacted our chapter, looking for submissions! It’s a member’s-only offer and wow! This is YOUR chance to avoid the slush pile and get your work in front of an agent.
  3. Consider stepping up to volunteer at one of the various opportunities available within SSRA now. We can use help on several Pearl projects, and then there’s the nominating committee as well as new officers we’ll need for our 2016 Board of Directors.

SSRA and RWA also have several upcoming events that will also help you out on your writer goals this year! Here are the April/May events:

Thurs. APRIL 16: Join SSRA and her published authors as we celebrate Library Week today at the Homosassa library from 10:30am-2:30pm.

Sat., APRIL 18: Show VS Tell. Conquer the dreaded passive writing to create a strong storytelling experience with SSRA President and Paranormal Romance / YA author Dylan Newton.

April 20–24, 2015: Avoiding Burnout by RWA presenter: Jackie Ashenden. The class will take place on an RWA U forum in myRWA and is offered at no cost to members. REGISTER HERE

Wed. May 6: Monthly PRO/PAN meeting from 10am-2pm at the Homosassa Library to discuss the issues and concerns you have with your manuscript, specifically! Don’t miss this month’s opportunity for some one-on-one feedback.

I will be bringing the dreaded Goal Posterboard to the next meeting (April 18), and I’d like to urge each of you to make sure you have given yourself the gift of a writer’s goal for 2015. It’s not too late! Until then…

Write On,

Dylan Newton

SSRA President





Dylan Newton
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Dylan Newton

President at SSRA
Dylan Newton was born and raised in a small town in Upstate New York where the local library was her favorite hang-out. Despite earning a degree in English Literature, Dylan spent more than a decade sidetracked by an executive position in corporate America where she swears she contracted testosterone poisoning. After leaving, she dedicated herself to more estrogen-rich passions, like motherhood, writing romance novels and her never-ending quest for the perfect date night.

Dylan married her high-school sweetheart and they are busy living out their own happily ever after in sunny Florida with their two incredible daughters and a snoring Shiz-Tsu.

Dylan can be found online at:
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