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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

NaNo Day 1

I should have remembered that the first day of the month always requires some attention to household and financial needs. And Wednesday every week is busy–laundry day, grocery day, doing the bills day. So I should have set some more modest goals for the first day.

Nevertheless, I did get started. Set up the file and got the outline ready to go.

Tomorrow I’ll be in Boston for art class and Neil’s music lessons and dinner out, so it will probably be a low-count day, too.

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It’s been kind of a difficult year for me, for no particular reason. Just sometimes life is harder to handle, y’know? Kind of like a common cold of the psyche, I suppose. There are family stresses that I could blame it on, but that’s not really the cause. I just haven’t been coping as well. Maybe more on that later.

I’ve managed to keep going. Art class, lots of music events, golf league, training for and then going on a week-long wilderness canoe trip in Canada, cruise vacation through Alaska, Japan, Korea, and China, Christmas with family here and in Germany, and lots of other fun stuff. My weight continues down, I’m fitter than I’ve been for a long time, and my blood sugar remains stable. The kids are all doing fine. Problems with my big toes, but compared to the stuff many of my friends are going through with hips and knees and backs, it’s nothing.

But when I sit down to write, it’s just–well, truthfully, I don’t usually sit down, or if I do, I read or crochet or play video games. There are words and ideas waiting. I just don’t want to write them down. I’ve had constipation of the creative process before, and this isn’t it. I thought maybe the family stress had drained me more than I thought, and gave myself the summer off, but I’m no closer to writing now than I was in May. The peer pressure and support of National Novel Writing Month let me push through most of a new draft, but since then, not much.

Truthfully, I’m scared, and that’s not something that has happened to me very often. I’ve had specific projects I’ve been afraid to tackle due to the emotional difficulty of the story itself (Michael’s unfinished story comes to mind), but most of the time, words have been my refuge and comfort. But now they’re a threat.

I don’t know what the threat is. I don’t know what I’m afraid of.

I know, I know. Sit down and write anyway. No other way around. Draft will be finished!

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The first part of the year has been less productive than I had hoped, mainly due to serious family drama (middle son and wife splitting up) which really hasn’t taken that much time since they’re in California and we’re in New England. But there’s been a lot of time in conversation, and a lot of time lost to just pondering.

Possibly as a result of having so many churning emotions that are hard to articulate, I put a lot of emphasis on my art classes. I’m quite pleased with the progress I’ve made there.

Got one shiny new idea and worked on it for March Madness. Will keep poking at it and the teenage vampires story; hopefully one of them will be ready to go for November, if I decide to NaNo it.

I’ve made it about halfway through the Crows draft. I’m working on it for Camp NaNoWriMo this month, with the goal of having a solid though not polished manuscript by the end of the month.

May will be primarily a reading-and-crocheting month, with a scaled back Story-A-Day.

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I don’t really have writing “goals” for 2016. My goal is to finish something. And if there’s year left, I’ll finish something else. That’s all.

My strategy for getting there is based on last year’s generally successful work pattern. Last year, my life accidentally fell into a pattern where Real Life took up alternate months, leaving the other months for writing. I tend to be a binge writer, so writing in binges instead of “Omigod, I’m not writing every day!” was a productive change. And it let me free to really enjoy my family and personal stuff, because I didn’t have the constant feeling that I “should” be writing.

So I’m planning to use the same strategy this year. It looks like our plans aren’t going to fall into such neat month-by-month categories this year, so this rough plan will have to be tweaked as the year goes on. But generally speaking, it looks like family/personal breaks in late February, May, August, October, and December.

Scheduled writing events that I’d like to do: Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, scaled down Story a Day in May, and if there’s time in October, Nightmare Fuel. I’m thinking not NaNoWriMo this year.

First up: Start working on the final stages of Crows, with the goal of being able to submit by the end of March or early April. The first task is to reread the draft and note what has to be done. After that I’ll have a better idea how long finishing will really take.

After Crows? I’m not sure yet. Maybe Sal and Troy. I’m also considering setting up Nicky’s story (Not Forgetting) to publish as a serial novel. Way back when I started it, I had grand ideas of setting it up as a web page with mock videos and even some of the band’s songs, but lack of talent and money makes that unlikely. Maybe eventually…

But that’s the year ahead. I plan to re-evaluate every two or three months.

I also have personal and health goals, but I mostly don’t plan to discuss those in public 😀

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One of the January goals I’m doing the worst on is keeping up with my blog posts :p But I haven’t been great with many of the others. Not terrible, either, for the most part.

I’ve kept up with the physical stuff and will be going on a week-long canoe trip in Canada soon, so that’s good. But I haven’t been very good about keeping to a healthy eating plan and my weight is only down slightly. And as for getting to bed at a regular time and getting enough sleep–well, we knew that wasn’t going to happen, right?

Family stuff is good. New grandbaby and all that good stuff. He’s coming to visit in August and bringing his family with him. Looks like everybody will be here for one weekend so that will be great fun. I seriously underestimated the amount of time and emotional energy I’d be giving to that.

I’ve had spurts of productivity despite that. Eleven new short stories in May for Story A Day, another 50K words on Darien’s story in April for the first session of Camp NaNoWriMo. But no luck on secondary goals. It appears that at this point in my life, though I’m as distractable as ever, I can only focus on one thing at a time.

With that in mind, and with my schedule showing large chunks of time dedicated to family and other activities over the next few months (long cruise! kids!) I decided not to try to work at times when I’m not going to get any work done anyway. I just make myself feel bad.

So the rest of the year looks like this:

July: Camp NaNoWriMo to work on the second draft of the first Sal and Troy novel.

August: family and fun

September: writing and/or editing binge. Ideally I’d like to get Sal and Troy out to market.

October: cruise!

November: NaNoWriMo, project TBD

December: family, mostly

Today’s post was inspired by the prompt in the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour, an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the rest of the tour!.

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April wound up being fairly successful despite the personal chaos, which can only be described as “internal crisis.” There’s nothing going on outside. The world is good as far as that goes. So I decided to just ignore it and signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. I’d had a thought out of the blue about how I could resolve a plot-and-motivation problem in Darien’s story and wanted to implement that.

I figured it ought to be good for 50k, but when I got going, I discovered further complications (of the not-good-for-the-story sort 🙂 ) and issues arising from inadequate character development, which in turn revealed big gaps in my worldbuilding. The characters were doing things but they didn’t have attitudes about the world around them, and their interrelationships were exactly like relationships in 2015 America. I had written the earlier draft on the assumption that I could go back and fill in the details later, but clearly that wasn’t working. So I lowered my word count to 30,000, which turned out to be a comfortable pace.

So my plan for May, complicated as it is: keep writing at a comfortable pace 😀

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Gotta get Crows done before the end of the year. Progress updates at House at the End of the Road.

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