Let me start my first post of 2018 by re-purposing a quote from Anne of Green Gables. “This year is a new year with no mistakes in it.” Doesn’t that sound promising? We have the opportunity as writers to evaluate the previous year and decide how we can start fresh for success.
I don’t find resolutions to be very helpful. (Most of us never keep them beyond a month or two.) But goals with accountability are more likely to succeed. The problem is, I need to define my goals and stick to them. Which isn’t easy for me because my brain runs on several rabbit trails at the same time. Add in life interruptions and my writing goals can flow right out the window with the breeze of surprise events.
This year I want to define my goals beyond simply writing more, writing every day and marketing. Rather, I need to break it down to specifics. My biggest mistake last year was letting myself get overwhelmed and freeze up rather than press on. I never quite reached the goals I set for myself. Having a book release was a new experience, and I didn’t handle it as well as I could have. (Think: Learning curve.)
The Write Editing blog had a great blog, 12 months of Writing Plans & Prompts. It inspired me. Here is the link: thewriteediting.blogspot.com/2017/12/12-months-of-writing-plans-prompts.html
Alycia W. Morales gave great reminders to relax and appreciate things in our writing life, but she also mentioned some specific ideas for blogging and querying that inspired me. You may read the post and get a different take. Like all writing it is subject to the needs of the reader. I needed inspiration to be more organized and productive. I want 2018 to be my best writing year ever. My second novel comes out in May so, I have more marketing to do. I’m working on rewrites and editing my third novel and attempting to finish the rough draft of my fourth. Not to mention writing blog posts and more articles. There are advantages to attending craft shows and events to promote and sell books. My problem is my day job requires me to work every other Saturday. I can only trade so many Saturdays before my co-workers will no longer cooperate.
My new beginning
I purchased a new calendar to fill up with my writing goals for the year. It is one of those At-A-Glance calendars. I chose the large 8 ½ by 11 sizes. It has larger squares for more notes, daily events and goals.
Now I have another quandary. My rabbit-trail brain needs to calm down. It must choose to do a few things each day rather than everything. And to avoid confidence freeze and frustration, I must organize my days. Do less writing on the days I work. And finish the day’s goals before bedtime.
Realism and balance
I’m a list writer. I thrive on lists. I write lists at work and bring them home. Scraps of paper cover my dresser. Most of the lists are duplicates. (My mind is constantly processing to dos) I take all the lists and create a master list. It can get quite long. If I’d follow the guide of my calendar to create my daily to-do-list, I’d be less overwhelmed. Asterisks to remind me to check the family calendar daily for time conflicts would be wise too. Consulting both calendars the day before even better.
A little help from my friends
My accountability partner often reminds me not set too many weekly goals. This year I intend to follow her advice. Consistent small steps will get me further than lightening sprints and then couch sitting.
Spacing out my prep items for events or conferences weeks in advance should make me less stressed. Pacing my word count to complete my novel and rewrites and putting those on my calendar to increase productivity. I think I’ll schedule non-writing days. It should spur me on to get my daily writing goals done so I can focus on whatever I am doing those days.
There is my plan for the brand-new year. It still needs beefing up with specific details. (i.e. event dates, word count goals, blog ideas.) Sharing these beginning stages with all of you has helped me get a better footing.
What are your writing plans for 2018?