Jilly: Time Lock

time-lockDo you set yourself long-term goals? Do they inspire you?

In my personal and professional life, I’ve always been a pantser rather than a planner. I have a set of psychometric evaluation reports written about me more than 25 years ago that resulted in my setting a personal mission statement: to enjoy life and seek challenges. If I could track down the coach that helped me write that statement, I’d shake her hand. It’s as valid now as it was in 1990.

I don’t think I’ve ever set myself a concrete, specific long-term goal. I do think I’ve been good at recognizing—and grabbing—special opportunities when they’ve crossed my path. The most recent was in 2012, when I’d just finished the first draft of my first contemporary romance, and I read on Jenny Crusie’s blog that she’d agreed to teach the inaugural online postgraduate certificate in romance writing for McDaniel College. The instant I read the post, I knew I had to get myself on that program, and I’ll be forever glad I did. I got a grounding in the basics of romance writing that will last me a lifetime, and I met the Ladies 😀 .

I got one of those important nudges from the Universe this week. I was chatting to my husband about matters unrelated to writing, when he informed me that the RWA conference in 2020 will be held in San Francisco. My focus was on booking for the 2017 event, so I didn’t immediately grasp the significance, until he reminded me that in 2020 (fingers crossed) we’ll celebrate two landmark birthdays and a major wedding anniversary. His idea was that San Francisco would make a good starting point for an adventure, and I had to agree. We bandied around a few ideas, all of which got me really excited.

Which set me to thinking about my writing plans. If I’m going to get the most from a trip of a lifetime, I don’t want to have a WIP on the go. I’d like to be free to take a break from writing, or more likely get inspired by whatever catches my attention on our travels. I know from experience that won’t work for me if I leave an unfinished story at home, alone and abandoned.

A few weeks ago I set myself a watchword for this year—Publish! In that post I said: By next New Year’s Eve, at the very least I should know the specifics of how and when Alexis Book One, and the Caldermor series, will get published.

My current expectation is that I will need six full-length novels and probably three novellas to tell Alexis’s entire story. I’m not the fastest writer in the world, but the first book is mostly there and I know a lot about the first novella, which will be my next WIP. The world is in place, and I have some ideas about the other books. So I think, if I put my head down and really go for it, I could just about have this entire series written and published by summer 2020.

It would be a stretch. In fact it would be one hell of a challenge. But I believe it’s do-able. The timing is so convenient that I’m taking it as a nudge from the story gods.

I am excited and inspired by the idea. I think it would turn a major celebration into the party of a lifetime. It has to be done.

You read it here first. I hope I get to celebrate with you all in Summer 2020.

How about you? What personal victories are on your distant horizon?

10 thoughts on “Jilly: Time Lock

  1. Only in a very general way: “Have enough money/pensions saved by the time you’re 66 to retire.” “Exercise and manage your weight so you stay healthy as possible.”

    Medium-term goals, on the other hand, I’m fairly good at. I’ve never set a goal of traditional publication by date X, because there’s no use setting goals over which you have limited control. I did, and do, have a goal of continuous improvement as a write/storyteller, but that’s a goal with no endpoint.

    One I do have control over is self-publication. I have a goal to publish 3 books this year. Not sure I’ll manage it. The entire month of January has gone by with zero progress. There’s a huge amount of work I don’t know how to do in between now and “Here’s my Amazon link.” I’ve decided to be gentle with myself about this first outing, and if things slip, that’s okay. Lots of stuff to learn.

    • 3 books this year sounds ambitious–hope you make it (that would be very exciting for us all), but I think you’re right to be gentle with yourself. You can gather momentum once you’ve learned to do all the stuff you currently don’t know how to do.

      I’d love to get at least the first novella and Alexis Book 1 published this year, but I think that might be over-ambitious. As long as I know how and when it will happen, I’ll be happy. Anything more will be a bonus.

  2. I love setting goals and dreaming about possibilities. I do tend to get a bit cranky when those goals seem too rigid and more like Orders from the Ego. As long as you go in with the idea that things happen, I think you’ll be able to grab the opportunities available.

    (-: Plus, after writing a novel and novella in this universe, the world-building should be down, and the rest will be easy-peasy, right? (Cue maniacal laughter from every writer who reads this — although, it will be easier in some ways than starting a new universe/genre with every book.)

    I like it! Keep writing, and keep learning about publishing (and of course, the best way to learn is by actually doing). (-: Inspiration and role models do just as much for me as setting goals. Be gentle with your writing self, and know we are cheering you on!

  3. Congratulations on the long-term goal with a big travel adventure party to look forward to afterward! Five more books and three novellas is a lot to finish, but it’s do-able. And who knows? When you get into it, you might decide that the story needs only four more books.😀

    • Yeah, who knows? I’ve figured out how it all ends (happily! the world is saved! end spoilers) but I’m not sure about all the bits in between. Maybe *just* four more books might do it 😉 .

  4. See, I don’t do well with self-imposed goals. I’m a horrible procrastinator and generally don’t do things until I have to. This is bad news for a self-guided project like writing–since I don’t necessarily have anyone breathing down my neck about it, it often doesn’t get done (unlike, say, work stuff–I teach high school, I have lots of teenagers bugging me about the next thing and literal bells that ring to tell me what to do).

    But I think that having a deadline would be really helpful! Maybe I should start planning a fabulous vacation….

    • I know exactly what you mean, Peggy! It’s early days, but this seems to be working for me 😉

      Why not plan a fabulous vacation or some amazing reward to yourself when you get the project done? It must be worth a try. I’m not seeing the downside…

    • This rings a bell (-:. Does anyone here have any experience with stuff like the Pomodoro method? I’ve used it in very limited circumstances — set a timer and wrote for that long. My problem is that if I’m not inspired, I give up way too quickly, and if I’m on a roll, I’ll write until I’m burned out. Maybe I need a course that isn’t about teaching, but about handing work in on time. Reduced tuition if I get all the stuff done on time! (Like a retroactive scholarship, LOL.)

      I do struggle with inner motivation vs. outer motivation. I think I have problems distinguishing between the two, and sometimes parts of my brain that are ordering me around feel more like Outside Authority (which I don’t deal very well with). Maybe I need to integrate my personality better . . . then I wouldn’t rebel against myself so much. Because writing really is the best, when it’s going well. I love losing track of time and my physical surroundings . . . .

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