Sarah J. Carlson

Contemporary Young Adult Author

Prioritizing and setting goals (when you’re a writing overachiever)


Shhh…. baby’s napping, let’s see if I can finally pound out a blog post for the first time in like nine months.

tip toe

Crap. In the time it took to figure out WordPress doesn’t like Google Chrome for uploading GIFs, she woke up 😛

No, but seriously, it’s been a crazy, stressful, life-changing year on pretty much every front, all positive, but stressful none-the-less.

Here goes….

Last July, I had the amazing opportunity to return to Belfast, the setting for Hooligans in Shining Armour, for some targeted setting and cultural research. And also to meet my Belfast editor/linguistic consultant, who’s amazing by the way <3.



(the gate in the peace wall between the Falls and the Shankill in Belfast.  It closes every night)

After this, I was able to finish revising Hooligans based on the first round of round one of developmental feedback from my amazing agent, Claire Anderson-Wheeler from Regal Hoffman & Associates. I sent it off to her about seven month pregnant then started back working for the fall (I work in the schools).

She got back to me with feedback in about 6 weeks–five and a half pages of further developmental edits.

I had my beautiful daughter, Norah, on October 21st, and returned to working full-time in the schools in January, while slowly, very slowly, started tackling re-writing my entire novel. Because, goals and conflict.

After looking at over a hundred houses, my husband and I finally found and purchased a new house! We moved in May, and we’re mostly (kind of) settled.

And now my family had the amazing opportunity to do some traveling to Iceland, the Republic of Ireland and (per husband request) Northern Ireland.

So where does that leave me?

Understanding the importance of priorities and setting realistic goals around writing. Which is especially hard when I’m an overachiever by nature. I want things to be perfect, and, especially with Hooligans, I want to be DONE. (I’ve been working on this one for nearly four years!) So I need to step back, be patient with myself, and think objectively.

I’m work in the schools, so I don’t (technically) return to work until the end of August, though obviously will have tons of prep work. That means I get to spend loads of time with Norah 🙂 And I’m hoping to re-dedicate myself to my secondary career as a writer. During the school year, blogging, engaging people on Twitter, attending writer’s conferences, and critiquing all fell by the wayside.


Because priorities. Because in my mythical free time while Norah’s sleeping, writing Hooligans was most important. But both are important pieces in continuing my career as a writer.

I’ve just finished the fourth round of revisions on Hooligans and it’s so close! I’m LOVING it now and am so thankful I have an agent that believes in my characters enough to push me this hard.

For me, naming my realistic goals helps them become real, breathing things. So here goes:

  1. Finish one final revision of Hooligans, then send to my amazing far-flung crit buddies.
  2. Based on CP feedback, revise and send the next chunk of Hooligans to my agent.
  3. Blog once a week in the hopes of rebuilding my social media presence, which has taken a serious hit. Write and schedule posts for during the school year as well, hopefully at least once a month.
  4. While my MS is with CPs, play around with some other novel ideas.

Now that it’s out there on the internet, I have to be patient with myself and do it, right?

Happy writing!




2 thoughts on “Prioritizing and setting goals (when you’re a writing overachiever)

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