A short list of what I believe I need to work on, not only to make my writing better, but to also make other aspects of my life better.
1. Remember that it does not have to be perfect. I have a real problem with perfection. I know that nothing is perfect, and everything that is written is open to criticism, but there is that little voice in the back of my mind telling me that it could be just a little bit better. I need to learn that when the people who have read my stuff say that it is good, and that they would not change or add anything, that they are telling me to stop tinkering.
2. I need to be more organized. I have research materials everywhere - be it books, notes, printed off material, or things stored on my computer. While the books are easy to find, everything else ends up as a game of hide and seek, but you will never find. I have gotten better, keeping notes and research for projects in their own folders, but then I lose the folder.
3. Remembering to backup everything. I have lost two computers to hardware failure. I remembered to back things up the second time. When I think about it I email my projects to a special email address I have set up just for my writing. I also have an external hard drive, but backing up means remembering to backup.
4. I want to branch out into different genres. Right now I write urban fantasy. I deal with elves, vampires, various were critters, and so on. I make my own worlds in this world, and create my races the way I think they should be, not what is canon. I would really like to do some kind of suspense writing, as well as some young adult novels.
5. I want to be published. I have visions of sitting in a book store, signing my novels and chatting with people who are interested in the little worlds I have created. But should I self publish? Look for an agent to do all of the nitty gritty for me? Sign with a big house and let them own my creations for a specified amount of time? Those are the main issues I have right now.
6. I would like to be better at self editing. Honestly, I do not do a whole lot of editing after I finish a book. I edit as I go, taking out things that I wrote at three in the morning, or adding something that I think is brilliant. But once I finish, I'm done. I'll read through it a few weeks later and decide that I need to add more, but I never take away. Mind you, my novels tend to be upwards of 150,000 words, because I have a lot of characters and a lot of action. Do I kill my little darlings? Yes and no. But I am stubborn, and if I think it needs to be there, it will be there.
7. I need to let more people read my stuff, even if I don't think I will take their advice. This is a problem for me. I have people that I trust read my stuff. I know that they will tell if it is good, bad, getting there, or what the hell are you thinking. They offer good advice and will answer questions that I have with thoughtful responses. Then there are those people who want to read my work and offer to edit, but they don't read it for the story first. I had one person look at a few pages of the first novel I wrote, and she looked at the first page, took out a pen and drew x's through stuff, without even knowing what the book was about. I do not want someone who thinks that they are brilliant about everything to decimate my work without giving it a chance in the first place.