I do this every year. I make a list of things that I want to achieve and I feel like I hit some, ignore others, and feel a bit adrift by the time December 31 passes.
I find myself unmotivated at times. I have a few reasons for this, that I think I have used as excuses in the past but I need to deal with them, work with them, and move past them if I want to be successful moving forward.
I tend to write very quickly. I can write 1000 words in 20 minutes, for example, if I sit down and actually write. Because of this, I have a tendency to put writing off, knowing that I can pound out some words quickly later.
The problem with this is that I can WRITE the words but that’s not the end of it. They need edited and polished and the first draft is never (well, not usually) the BEST draft for me. My words need more work, and I tend to ignore that fact so that I can sit on the couch with Bear, reading fic or books or whatever while I watch TV. (Yes, I can multitask but only with things that don’t get me anywhere, as opposed to stuff that could move my writing career forward. *sigh*)
I also struggle with… not depression, I don’t think, but melancholy. Maybe it is a mild form of depression, but I allow it, from time to time, to convince me that I should stay on the couch or in bed or wherever, reading and not creating. I don’t know what I’m melancholy about. I think I allow myself to be intimidated by other authors I’ve read, in the sense that their writing is so good or well-constructed that I don’t think I could ever match their skill, etc. so why bother trying.
Which is a bunch of crap. I like my writing when I read it, and I know that others enjoy it as well. I have a voice that is recognizable, according to some of my more regular readers, which means that I have reached a certain level in my career, where I have a voice, I just need to use it and polish it. And I’m not doing that as often as I need to.
I also feel a bit guilty when I write, at times, especially if I am home with Bear and he wants to do things with me. I feel like I am already at work for so much of my week, that I need to give more of my free time at home to him.
The screwed up logic here is that if I were to start publishing novels, I might get to the point where I wouldn’t need to work as often, perhaps even become a full time author. But I’ll never get there if I don’t actually write the books that I would need to sell to get to that point.
I also fall into the trap of planning. I spend a lot of time with worksheets and plotting out outlines and doing character work, but then never apply that to the actual manuscript. I do all this thinking about the story and then never actually WRITE the story.
This happened when I was trying to finish a fanfic that I was writing as a gift in an exchange. I had signed up late for the exchange but had agreed to be a pinch hitter. I was asked to write for this person at the beginning of December, but I was thinking about my NaNo pages, and I had my Yuletide story to work on as well, so I put it off.
I ended up asking for an extension for the story, which I got, and only started writing the stupid story the evening it was due (on the extension day). I had to ask for a second extension. I woke up the next day and wrote out three pages of story notes, which basically figured the whole thing out.
And then I couldn’t make myself sit down and type it out. It was like my brain had decided that I had ALREADY written it, so why do it again. My story was incredibly late and while my recipient loved it, I felt terrible.
This is the kind of thing that I hate about myself and I know that I need to work on if I ever want to be a successful, professional writer.
So, after looking at those barriers, self-imposed or not, that I know I dealt with last year, I present my 2013 writing goals. I am trying to be very specific about everything in order to work with my limitations and to work through my barriers that I know exist.
Word Count Goal for 2013: 350,000
General Writing Goals
1) Set aside specific time to write, every day
2) Schedule what project I am writing on for each session
3) Make a project specific goal for each writing session- what I need/want to achieve in that span of time
4) Plan out each week in advance in my Writing Planner
5) Set time aside for critique partners/groups outside of normal writing time
6) Set word count goal for each day/week/month
7) Be sure to fill in word count/project spreadsheet after each session
Projects that I am Actively Working on in 2013
1) The Farmer and the Medic
2) [Super Secret Paranormal Project]
3) TW/Ladyhawke fusion story
4) Wolves of Indiana
5) Though the Heavens Should Fall
Project Goals 2013 (subject to change)
1) Finish Farmer and the Medic by February 15th, 2013
2) TW/Ladyhawke rough draft due to be submitted on March 13, 2013
3) Get full MS betaed by March 15, 2013
4) Get edits done by April 1, 2013
5) Submit Farmer and the Medic to the e-published for full read on April 1, 2013
6) Submit Farmer and the Medic to editor at Loose ID (per her request at RWA National last year)
7) Submit Farmer and the Medic to [editor’s name redacted] per her request at RWA National
8) Submit Farmer and the Medic to any other editors that requested it at RWA National (check notes)
9) Final draft of TW/Ladyhawke to beta by April 1, 2013
10) TW/Ladyhawke story gets posted on or after April 10 (based on future assignment and artist)
11) Make a noble effort at outlining/plotting requested [Super Secret Paranormal Project] from [editor’s name redacted] at RWA National
12) Full outline of Wolves of Indiana
13) Full outline of Though the Heavens Should Fall
14) NaNoWriMo 2013
15) Yuletide 2013
Group Challenges I’ve Joined
I signed up for this challenge AGAIN and once again, I pledged 350,000 words. This is supposedly the last year that they’re going to run this challenge, so I wanted to participate and I wanted to take this last opportunity to hit the goal that I have made for the past three years. This will be my fourth year and I think it could be the one.
No, it WILL be the one. 😉
The nice thing about this challenge is that it counts more words than just what goes into your novel. Professional blog posts (like this one) count as well, as does character work, outlines, plotting, backstory, etc.
Again, I am totally thrown and disappointed that I didn’t have 350K last year, even if I wasn’t working on a specific MS. *sigh*
After I won NaNo last year, I went looking for other groups and challenges that might help me stick to my word count goals. I found this year long group that sounds like a lot of fun. They have an actual forum, which is a little different than the LiveJournal page for GYWO, which could facilitate more participation on my part.
Or it could add to my list of excuses to procrastinate.
Either way, I have pledged the same 350,000 words to this group as well.
There is a group that does a NaNo-type thing in January. I thought it would be great to get my GYWO year started out on the right foot by pledging 50K for my first month.
They count multiple projects, blogs, etc. so this should be a little easier to hit than with the stricter NaNo rules.
Ultimately, I just want to be writing and getting MY words on the page, with the goal that those words will move me forward, towards a completed submittable manuscript.
There are a few other challenges over the course of the year that I may participate in, although I really love the original NaNo and I don’t want to burn myself out before November. I’ll link anything I do join as that happens.
I didn’t do very well last year with my X-Men:First Class big bang story. It was my first big bang challenge and I kind of failed all over the place. But I did get it done and I did like it, mostly, when it was over, and I wanted to do something fun and fannish again this year.
This nice thing was that I was already thinking about this story before I signed up for the challenge, so this felt like it was fate when I was linked to this challenge by a friend on LiveJournal.
The minimum word count is 10K, which I will hopefully blow past, and I would love to hit closer to 40-50K with this.
My problem with a lot of fic challenges is that I wait until the last minute. This is connected with my “I can write really fast so why start now” problem that I mentioned at the top. I need to get on this NOW so that I can write the detailed, intricate story that this needs to be.
I think this could be fun, but I am concerned that this will get in the way of the Farmer and the Medic, which I could actually sell if I ever finish it.
I will need to be cautious and plan carefully, in terms of what I write and when.
That’s a lot of stuff, and a lot of work. I know in the past that I have set similar goals that have been similarly lofty and I have not met them.
But the thing is, you have to keep setting goals. You have to keep setting the bar so that you can either meet it or fail to meet it, but either way you have hopefully learned something about yourself. If you don’t set goals, then you have no idea where you’re going or where you need to be.
It’s like that scene in Alice in Wonderland- if you don’t know where you’re supposed to be going, then it doesn’t matter which way you go.