Writer Life & Lessons

Planning for 2015

GE DIGITAL CAMERAThere are eleven days until the new year begins.

It’s been tricky to really reflect on 2014; I feel about three years older, and across the months, it has felt continually challenging. I’m ready to say goodbye to 2014, and welcome 2015 with slight hesitation.

This year was the first where I seriously considered if writing is for me. I think most writers have that feeling sometimes, but this year I faced the full-on stare-at-the-wall-for-an-hour contemplations of my writing career more and more often. I picked up and put down Planes Shifter about three times, and began a new story which then became complicated as I tried to navigate between my vision of the tale, and what came out on the page. The doubts, the worries, the pages of words which barely made sense. Yet I’ve come out the other side, and no matter the outcome, I’m going to keep writing.

Plans for 2015:

I aim to begin submitting one of my finished pieces, and to complete another novel. However, if through submitting, my story is accepted, I’m giving myself permission to just add more to another novel; rather than complete one alongside working on that submitted piece.

In 2014, I aimed for 150,000 words, and kept track of everything I wrote. I’ve found it so helpful and motivating to keep track of my words, so I’d like to continue keeping track in 2015.

As for a wordcount aim, I’ve had a lot of different experiences, from five years of NaNoWriMo to WriteChain goals of 100 days, and ‘writing time-outs’ during editing processes. One thing I’d like to try for 2015 is a much looser, gentler pace of writing; yet without decreasing my output too much. I aimed for 150k this year as “two novel drafts”, and the idea of returning to one novel a year makes me feel uncomfortable, as wordcount-wise, that 150k includes new words from editing.

Therefore, I’m planning to focus on a four-monthly cycle. Based on my 3-months rough turnaround for a draft, and my need for cooling off periods, I’m planning a year that looks a bit like this:

Jan-Mar :: Project 1 (e.g. editing PS)
Apr :: Chill-Out month (e.g. short story)
May-Jul :: Project 2 (e.g. continue drafting TFG)
Aug :: Chill-Out month (e.g. go for walks instead of writing)
Sep-Nov :: Project 3 (e.g. editing TFG)
Dec :: Reflection and Last-minute dash…. Uh, I mean, chilling out.

This should still allow me two completed projects in a year – either two drafts (draft, edit, draft) or two complete novels (edit, draft, edit). Of course one pass of edits is not enough for a general project, but if I allow in that 4-months: one of edits, one beta/rest, one of edits and a month of submission; it’s not a bad cycle to try out.

That should allow me another 150,000 words aim, but in reality, I just want to have two completed drafts. I only just made it this year, and 50,000 words is a fair aim for each third. When I’m editing, it’ll be under that, and when writing, it should be more; but if at 8 months, i’m around 100,000 words, I’ll know I’m on track. But it’s only a secondary aim. The deadline is at years end, with reviews at the end of April, August and December. The main goal is two completed (novel-length) story drafts.

I’m also renewing my reading challenge. For the past three years, I’ve managed 21 books. For 2015, I’m trying for 24 again.

The Checklist:

– Read 24 books.

– Aim for two completed stories: at least one being edited.

– Follow the 4-month cycle.

– Track Words.

– Submit a novel by May.

How is your 2015 looking?

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