When I think about writing New Year resolutions, usually I write just one, something along the lines of “I resolve to be a better person.” That leaves me lots of wiggle room, which I appreciate as the months roll by. In the last year or two, what with one thing and another, I haven’t been writing as much as I’d like to, and I miss it. This year I want to bear down on productivity. Having goals, plans, or resolutions—as many of the Ladies do—and revisiting them periodically is one way to stay focused. This year, what I’d love to accomplish is finish the WIP, which is book 1 of 3 (almost there); plot and finish draft of book 2; plot book 3; write my bookstore short story/novella idea; develop one other idea. That’s a lot, so I decided to:
1) Set measurable goals
How can I get it all done? Math! First, decide how many words each project needs to be. Does book 2 want 80K words, or 90K? If I want that draft finished by July 1, how many words do I have to write every week to meet that goal? Same with the bookstore novella. Can I tell that story in 10K words? Maybe. When do I want it finished, and how much do I have to write in what time frame to do so? Who will help me brainstorm book 3 and the “one other idea”? And when will we do it? Those goals go in my calendar. If I have to make adjustments, at least I’ll have thought about them, and redone the math, so I can:
2) Stick to a realistic schedule
See point 1. If book 2 wants 80K words, then by beginning January 12 and to finish by July 1, I need to write 3,200 words every week. Is that do-able? At the pace that I write, I need to figure on about two hours per day. If I can’t find two hours, my choices are to push back my finish date, or sacrifice something else to gain the time. It’ll be a challenge, but it’s doable if I:
3) Write every day
I love to write. It’s frustrating when I don’t know where I’m going or who these awful people are cluttering up my pages. But I like solving the problems, creating the characters, finding the story. If nothing’s happening for me on the pages, though, floundering doesn’t help. So it’s important to:
4) Also rest
The best story idea came to me this year when I was watching a foreign-language newscast. Sleep, read, go to the movies, see a play, take a hike. Do something different. Get refreshed.
That’s it. That’s my plan. We’ll see how it goes! And meanwhile, best wishes to all for a good year, writing and otherwise!