The Year of Getting Organized

Perhaps others wait until the new year to talk about the upcoming year, but I’m going to talk it now so I pass the starting line at a run come January. Not that I’m exactly standing still right now.

2018: The Year of Becoming Better Organized.

Deciding to record my monthly goals has helped me tremendously in December and I want to continue with that approach in 2018. I find monthly goals far more realistic and attainable. An entire year is notoriously difficult to predict and by autumn you’re chucking one goal after another that no longer fits your circumstances.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

* Note that I didn’t wait until January to try out monthly goals. I haven’t got time for that. Either I’m serious about how I approach my writing or I’m not. Procrastination is for changing the drapes (and a mindset I’m determined to shed). Too, Christmas was a day to slack (I got up extra early to fit in 2 hours of editing), not a month to take off. Either I’m a writer seeking to publish or I’m not.

Keeping in mind that my annual goals serve as a guide for my monthly ones, here we go…

• Submit short stories. For better or worse it’s time to take that next step (and quit procrastinating). This also serves to keep my hand in drafting without producing countless novels.

• Produce a working draft of Bk2, A River in Each Hand. It’s going to require inserting a lot of scenes (more drafting). Thankfully, as part of my monthly goals in December, I put together a plan for fixing it this month, which was a critical step.

• Finish editing pass of Torment Surfacing and complete at least one pass each on all the other novels (including River after it’s completed).

• Write more short stories. My minimum goal is 12 (yes, one per month on average). I’m considering doing April Camp NaNo and writing 4 to 5 that month for a modest word count goal of approximately 20K.

Map: CA Hawthorne

Colorization and enhancement progress as of December 2017. Map: CA Hawthorne

• Complete the Tremjara map! Budgeting an hour a day to the project has worked wonders this month (I’m going to exceed my colorizing goal by about 50%!) and I’m now almost halfway.

• Draft a novel next November for NaNoWriMo—ONLY! Seriously, once I fix Bk2 I’ll have four Ontyre novels drafted. I’m up to my neck in the editing waters and must make them recede. I’ll either draft Bk3 in November or another novel that’s separate from the central thread. I’m leaning towards Bk3 at the moment even though I have nothing in my brain except some scattered scenes (another reason to fix Bk2).

• Update my character data base. It’s set up and I’m not too far behind so this isn’t that big of a project.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

The History is this big of a disaster—and out of date. I’ve modernized the world, making some of this inaccurate. Photo: CA Hawthorne

• Return to overhauling my Ontyre support materials. This is BIG, which is much of the reason why it hasn’t gotten done. I have multiple binders pertaining to Magic, Cultures, History, Glossary, etc. that are grossly out of date. The ones I have (insufficiently) updated are full of scribbled notations and are becoming a mess. I’ve started/stopped the project multiple times (generally depending upon my health). It’s a long story, but my hard copies are all I have, which is another complication. Magic is the farthest along (maybe 33%) to my turning it digital. I’ve created a Glossary database on my computer, but won’t share how little has been entered (It’d make me cry). Currently, this time slot in my day is devoted to the map.

• Stick to my blog posting plan. This is critical for putting out more variety and posts of interest, but it would also save me a lot of time. I wonder how many hours I’ve spent the second half of this year brainstorming ideas. Ontyre, for one, contains a million ideas.

• Journal … I kinda sorta sometimes make journal entries, but it’s sporadic at best. Today I purchased a small blank journal I can carry more easily and (most important) is suitable for sketching. I think in pictures quite often and I think being able to sketch or diagram might make all the difference in the world.

• On a more personal note I need to exercise and meditate far more than I have as of late. It never fails that my personal life goes off the rails during NaNo. 2018 will be the first time I’ve started the year relatively healthy since 2008. Yes, 2008.

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Photo: CA Hawthorne

Basically, the year comes down to tightening up my organization, which used to be outstanding, but has become retched. People might be noticing the absence of published novels on my list. It could happen, but it won’t happen until after there’s some success with the short stories. Hopefully they’ll help pay the costs of professional editing and other requirements.

My publishing being dependent on selling short stories is a good example of how difficult it is to predict the year.

Some might also wonder, why, when I’m a writer, there’s so little writing in my plan. Actually, there’s a fair amount: a full novel in November, about 40% of a novel for Bk2, at least a dozen short stories, and some flash fiction for the website.

The magic of editing takes far longer than the flash of inspiration that is drafting.

The existing novels?
Bk1: Trust in the Forgotten
Bk2: A River in Each Hand
Prequel: Exhuming Truths
BkA: Torment Surfacing

I’m getting there, and I’m hopeful. For my writing, 2017 was the best, most productive year I’ve had … maybe ever. I aim to make 2018 even better.

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6 Replies to “The Year of Getting Organized”

  1. Pingback: The Year of Getting Organized | Christina Anne Hawthorne

  2. This was something I needed to read – how inspiring. 2017 has been my worst writing year to date (despite publication in a collection of retold fairy tales). And I failed NaNo for the first time in 5 years. I know exactly why and it wasn’t so much organisation as burn out – as I’ve been editing so much fiction, I’ve found it difficult to muster energy for my own creative pursuits. Though, now I write it – that *is* an issue of organisation, and one I must address. I always have the ‘back of the mind’ niggle that I should be writing and submitting more short stories to competitions & anthologies (the fairy tale was actually my only submission this year & it was accepted, which goes to show) – but a plan would really help. And a monthly rather than yearly plan is a fantastic idea.

    Thanks for showing me what discipline looks like! And wishing you a productive as well as happy new year!

    • Well, first off, congratulations on the fairy tale’s success. And, thank you, I’m glad this helped. Of course, I need to adhere to my own plan this year. That’s why I tell anyone who’ll listen (and many who don’t) that I plan to submit. I’m trying to make myself take the step.

      For me, this year’s NaNo was my most successful and really added to my momentum. So, yeah, I guess we are a tale of contrasting years. Still, a clean slate awaits.

      I look forward to you achieving further success, success I KNOW you’ll achieve. You’ve so much talent. By all means, try the monthly goals. It’s much harder to procrastinate on a tighter leash. Happy New Year!

  3. Sounds like a busy year.
    I applaud the short story approach. I wrote a number of short pieces to get myself restarted some years ago, because I felt I needed to do some things I could (a) complete in less than geological time and (b) submit and get feedback on promptly. I put about five in the field before I figured it was time to start on a novel, which is really more my long suit. The strategy seemed to work pretty well.
    Rick

    • That’s great to hear. Glad it worked out for you. What really stands out for me here is that you found a way restart your creativity that didn’t involve ignoring writing or staring at a blank screen. You did what you needed to do and what worked for you. Excellent!

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