Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mid-year check in

I just realized half the year has drifted by and I haven't re-looked at the goals I set for myself way back in January.  So now is probably the time to do that.  Here's the letter I wrote myself six and a bit months back.  Let's see how I'm going with everything….

Dear Me,

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.

Still loving the new job.  It's busy and challenging, but I'm learning a whole lot and I love being at the other end of the film production chain.

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. 

This is working for the most part.  I have had to travel for work more than I expected (which is actually really fun), and I'm often quite drained by the end of the day, but I've been managing a pretty solid 1K - 1.5K most nights, and have enjoyed having a couple of nights free to do other things.

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 haven't revised yet.  I ended up doing some rewriting on STUMPED for my agent and then got slam-dunked by a couple of other ideas.  But it's on the list to be revised.  As soon as I finish the first draft of the thing I'm working on now.

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.

I did this too, but realized pretty quickly that it doesn't work the way I've written it.  I think I'm going to go back to the original and see if I can tighten it up as the dual POV YA it started its life as.  I just need to find the time to do it.

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…)

No idea what the other NA story might have been… Oh, actually maybe I do.  It's still hanging around in there somewhere.  I have far too many great stories and characters hanging out in my head.  I need about 40 hours a day to have the time to do everything I have to do and to write all these books.

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.  

In February my publisher closed so An Unstill Life is no longer published.  On the plus side, no more time being taken up with promotion etc.  But on the bad side, I don't have a published book anymore…  My agent and I are working on it along with the other books on submission.

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….

Again, a work in progress.  I have had to do this already this year, and I think I will probably have to again.  Fingers crossed I can make it work.

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.

Working on it.  I have been better this year, but not as fantastic as I want to be.  More work needed here.

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.

Haven't lost any weight, but I don't think I've gained any either, which is kind of a miracle.  I tend to finish work too late most days to go to the gym after work, and before work is writing time.  I've been going one or two times a week.  I need to make that three, but not quite sure how.

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.

Tracking okay…  Not brilliantly, but okay.  I'm satisfied with my performance.  Let's see if I can make it to ecstatic before the year's end.

How are you getting on with your yearly goals?


  1. You're doing pretty well! Better than me at any rate :P. Life always gets in the way of plans.

  2. You're doing pretty well! Better than me at any rate :P. Life always gets in the way of plans.