As another year comes to a close, I figure it's time to dig out the letter I wrote myself at the beginning of the year to check how I did with achieving the goals I set for myself...
Before I go ahead and outline my plans for the year ahead, I feel like I need to look back on the year that has just been. It felt like a hard year, and there was so much I didn’t enjoy about 2014, yet in many ways it has been the most successful year I’ve had in a long time. I think my dissatisfaction was largely because I really didn’t enjoy the job I had for much of the year. It was tiring and demanding and very unsatisfying and that left me so drained that it was hard to motivate myself to write at the end of every day. So I haven’t produced the amount of work I’m used to producing in a year.
But at the same time, 2014 was the year my first novel was published and the year I got an agent. And right at the end of the year, I got a new job that is already making me so much happier than my old one.
Going into 2015, I’m excited about my new job. It’s going to be challenging, but I think I’m going to enjoy that. I’ve been doing the same thing for so long, it’s refreshing to be going into a job where I’ll have new responsibilities and a variety of different people to work with throughout the year, as well as a variety of different tasks and responsibilities.
It sure has been challenging! But I've loved it. I've learned so much and done so many different things and worked with so many amazingly talented people. There have been stressful times, and times I haven't enjoyed what I was doing, but overall, it has been a wonderful experience and I'm so glad I made the change and got out of the cinema management game. I do miss it sometimes, but what I'm doing now is a lot more rewarding.
With weekends and evenings free (for the first time in 23 years), I plan to set myself a regular writing schedule, with enough flexibility that I can still go out every now and then without feeling guilty about missing a writing day. I figure a 5-day a week schedule will work because at the speed I generally write, I can guarantee 7500 – 10 000 words a week while drafting. Revising is usually a lot slower, but I still usually manage a chapter or two a night, depending on how much rewriting and adding new scenes is needed.
I haven't managed quite the schedule I planned. My job involved more travel than I anticipated and I hadn't figured on being so exhausted by the end of each day. I have tried hard to stick to the 5 day a week schedule, but it hasn't worked out every week... I'm not unhappy with the work I have done though, so I guess that's a good thing.
I’m still drafting my NaNo novel, but it’s almost finished. It’s going to need a lot of revising because it’s really just a bare bones draft and so much of the story and characters have come into focus as I’ve written the book. And the story has taken me in some interesting and unexpected directions as I’ve written it. Once the draft is done, I’m going to leave it for a few weeks before diving into revisions.
Well, I did finish it. I just ended up leaving it a lot longer before I started revising. And then when I did, I got notes from my agent on 2 other projects that needed my attention, so the revision still isn't finished.
While I let the NaNo book settle, I plan to finish the NA I’ve been working on off and on for the last year or so. It doesn’t need a ton of work since most of it is done, but it needs some polishing and my CP’s eagle eye over it before I will feel comfortable sending it out into the world.
My CP convinced me it wasn't good enough as it was, and I agree. So one day, when I have a little time up my sleeve, I may go back and try to make it work as the dual POV YA I initially intended it to be. Or I'll leave it in the trunk as something that was once a good idea and maybe isn't me anymore. Who knows?
So the plan for this year is to finish the NA and this year’s NaNo book, plus I have another story idea I’m excited to write. Once the other two are done, I’ll write this one (it’s also an NA story, I think…)
Not sure what that idea was, but the one I actually wrote wasn't NA, so I'm guessing that wasn't it....
Another reason my productivity has been low in 2014 is that I’ve had other things going on. An Unstill Life published in January and keeping up with publicizing it has taken up quite a bit of my already limited writing time. I have also been doing revisions on another book so my agent can take it out on submission early this year.
That happened. And if you think querying is tough, try being on submission! Ultimately this experience ended up with me doing more revising after almost all the responses cited the same issue with the story. So I revised. Again. Maybe next year?
I’ve found switching focus between projects is challenging for me and I have trunked a novel this year because somehow, in between editing and publicity and revising other things, I lost what I was trying to do with the book. I need to get over this problem because if I’m going to have a writing career, this is going to happen a lot. There will always be times when a WIP has to be dropped for edits or revisions, and I need to be able to pick back up without feeling lost in my text. I’m not sure quite how to do this….
I think I'm managing this better. I don't know how or why, but I haven't had the same problem picking things back up as I had previously. Maybe I just knew my stories better.
In 2014 I didn’t manage to be as present for my crit group as I wanted to be. This year I will endeavor to be more regular with my critiques. I love this group and they are a huge part of my writing journey, so I need to give them the same attention they give me.
Sadly, I didn't manage this one and I feel terrible about it. One day I'm going to find a way to gain an hour or two a day so I have more time to do the things that are important to me.
I didn’t manage to lose any weight in 2014, so once again I’ll list it in my ‘to-dos’ for 2015. I have a plan for regular trips to the gym and exercise during lunch-breaks, not to mention a diet plan I hope to have the will power to stick to. I’ve managed to keep my weight the same over the last few years because my job has been quite physical, with a lot of time on my feet. Now that my job is mostly sedentary, and the bus takes me pretty much right there, I need to really focus on diet and exercise if I don’t want to blow up like a balloon.
Thankfully I haven't blown up like a balloon. But I don't think I lost any weight either (my scales broke and I don't want to buy more, although I should).
And that’s about it for 2015. I’m sure things will come up that I’m not expecting, and some will be wonderful and others less so… I’ll check in mid-year to see how things are tracking.
And tune in tomorrow or the next day for my 2016 goals....