Jilly: Into Autumn

It’s September already. How did that happen?

Technically it’s another couple of weeks to the Autumnal Equinox, but the last public holiday has been celebrated, the kids are back at school, and it’s time to knuckle down. These days most of us don’t have to take in the harvest or stockpile supplies to keep our families alive over the winter months, but we still have that legacy of applying ourselves, of needing to put things to bed before the sun sets on the year.

When I had a desk job I used to dread this time of year. It was always a perfect storm of updating the current year’s budgets; preparing for the financial year end; writing, presenting and updating the business plan for the upcoming year and five years; carrying out staff appraisals; working through bonuses and incentive plans; and trying desperately to squeeze in a little ‘me’ time for my birthday. Three and a half months would pass in a blur and I’d red-line it so much that when Christmas finally arrived I’d hit the wall and get sick.

For the last six years I’ve been (mostly) in control of my own schedule. This autumn is somewhat bittersweet since for the first time in years I don’t have to worry about my mum’s health, and we have a choice over where to spend the holidays. It makes me even more determined to use my privilege wisely and well.

My plan for the rest of this year is to achieve the productivity without the pain, by being mindful about how I spend my time and making a balanced schedule of my priorities. This year I plan to prioritize two projects:

Golden Heart

The last ever RWA Golden Heart contest will open for entries in December. I want to enter three stories: one contemporary romance and two fantasy/paranormal. I have a working draft of the contemporary (Ian and Rose’s story) and one of the fantasies (Alexis). I plan to have the other fantasy (Christal and Kiran) drafted by mid-October at the latest. Then it’s a matter of cleaning them all up before December. Simple 🙂

Editing Alexis

My developmental edit report on Alexis arrived at the very end of 2017. A couple of weeks later my mum died and I didn’t have the time or emotional capacity to make decisions on how to handle the revisions. So I decided to let it sit while I worked on Christal and Kiran’s book. I think that was a wise decision, but I feel as though I’m ready to tackle the big rewrite now. As soon as I’ve finished Christal and Kiran, I want to dive back into Alexis’s story. At the minimum I want to have a detailed revision plan in place by the end of the year. Ideally I’ll have the edits done (or mostly done), too, but I’m not going to rush them.

There are other things I’d like to have in place—a clear plan for the second Alexis book, a better grasp on the rest of the series, a comprehensive timeline of everything I need to do in order to self-publish next year—but I’m not going to set those in stone. If I can get to the end of this year with clean manuscripts for Christal and Alexis, I’ll be a happy woman. Anything else will be a bonus.

So. What are your plans for the rest of 2018?

3 thoughts on “Jilly: Into Autumn

  1. You know what they say about best-laid plans? Yeah. Mine went awry.

    I searched for and found a dev editor I thought I’d like to work with, but it looks like I’m a lot more interested in her than she is in me. At least, she hasn’t returned emails. I’ve been revising Phoebe 2 now for a couple of weeks—this is the book I wanted to bail on so many times—and I thought I would discover that yes, it really sucked. As it turns out, it really doesn’t, at least so far, one-third of the way through. I’d hoped to get the first book through a dev edit by Thanksgiving or Christmas—and maybe even posted—but I won’t if I start a search for someone else. An editor friend of mine will be cutting back on her job by the end of the year, or so she says, and she’s terrific and she’s worked on my books before, so she might be willing to do these for me. And if she doesn’t want to, then maybe I’ll just skip that step. I’ll see how I feel once she decides what she’s going to do.

    So that pushes the Phoebes back by, what? Four to six months. Sigh. I’m itching to move on to something else. How does Janet Evanovich do it?

  2. Your plans sound excellent and eminently doable, as long as real life doesn’t derail them, as it so often does.

    My plans are similar:
    1) Complete the revisions to Book 2, The Demon’s in the Details, based on feedback from my critique group.and then ship it off to my editor for a final professional buff before releasing January 1.
    2) Complete the first draft of Book 3, The Demon Wore Stilettos by the end of the year.

    Which means that going into next year, I’m going to need to decide what to work on next: another demon story (probably featuring Belphegor, the demon of gluttony, as the host of a competitive cooking show) or take a step back to work on another project that ‘s just about ready to see an editor.

    Hoping that the reaction to The Demon Always Wins will provide some guidance by then.

  3. Go for it!
    I think I will take it easy this month, and just try to work on some fun ghostly short stories. After that, I want to set my sights on February — write three love stories (short), and work on my February Jack and Olivia story. Needs to be done by the first of January if I want to market them for Valentine’s day as self-pubbed things.

    Bunny Blavatsky has also been calling to me lately — another story set in February. If I can’t get anywhere with Jack and Olivia this month, I will try switching to Bunny. Jack and Olivia’s WIP is really a summer story, anyway. One doesn’t have to be in season to write, but sometimes it helps.

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