Changing Goals, and Copyright

It’s now March 1st, and I’m nowhere near where I’d hoped to be with my WIP.

I actually had a good week, a nice, relatively-uneventful one. Even better, my migraines have backed off a bit, and I only had a headache two days this week, and just regular headaches at that. Still unpleasant, but not migraine-unpleasant. Yet I can’t seem to figure out what happens next in the WIP, and am even drawing a blank with my lists of 20 things. So I started back into learning, this time with WMG Publishing’s Secondary Plotlines online workshop. Just watching a few of the videos knocked some ideas loose, so I did start back into the WIP for 650 words, most of which were on one night, so yay! However, it’s a long way from what I set out to do this month. More on that below.

What I’ve Been Reading

The novel I’ve been reading is a long one, so I’m still not finished with it. I’m enjoying it, so I’ll definitely discuss here when I’m done. In nonfiction, I read 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. This book was published ten years ago, but is every bit as relevant now as it was when it came out, and very well could become a time management classic. One of the basic exercises the author suggests is to track how you spend your time for a week (Dean Wesley Smith suggests this too, in his Carving Out Time for Your Writing video lecture). It’s really eye-opening to see how we really spend our time. I spend more on Facebook and playing games than I thought. I know I need a lot of downtime, so overall, it wasn’t a surprise. The rest of 168 Hours is also good, and it deals with both work and home. Recommended if you want to see how you can find more time to do the things you want to do, and less on things you have to do.

Copyright Learning

I also spent some time reading The Copyright Handbook this week, meeting my goal to learn something about copyright each month. Chapter Three deals with registering copyright. As I mentioned last month, registration is not necessary to have copyright–as soon as you commit your work to a tangible form (that includes computer data), it’s considered copyrighted. However, if someone infringes your copyright, you can’t take them to court unless the work is registered. And if you register after the infringement occurs, you can only go after actual damages, which can be hard to prove. The exception is with a newly-published work: you have up to three months after publication to register, even if the infringement occurs prior to the registration. The catch here is that some courts consider registration to happen upon submittal, others consider it to happen when you receive the certificate, and still others (including the federal court for my area) are unspecified. So bottom line, if you’re an author, register your work ASAP after publication for the most protection!

Registering a work where the same entity owns the rights to all components–the text, front matter, cover design, and back cover copy for a book, for example–is a simple matter. But when those components’ rights are owned by different people, each owner’s portion should be registered separately to get the maximum benefit in case of infringement. Same goes for an anthology, where the works within are copyrighted by different authors.

What I’ve Been Writing


As noted above, my WIP is slow-going. My goal for February was to write 12,000 words. I barely got 3,000–and that was more than I thought I’d written. So it’s time to revise those goals. For March, I’m going to shoot for 5000 words total, starting with 1,000 this week. If I hit the March goal, that will bring my quarterly total to 16,000–about half of my original goal but still something.

I did meet my learning goal this week, which was to go through the Week 2 videos and do the assignment for another online workshop on Secondary Plotlines. I’d already done the first week a while back, so I reviewed my notes for that first.

What about you–have you had any goal changes lately? Have you ever tracked how you spend your time? If so, what surprised you? If not, what do you think you’d find? And how are you doing on whatever goals you have, whether writing-related or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.