Posts Tagged ‘planning’

Goals for the year:

  • improve health and fitness (stick to plan the specialist recommended, one day at a time).ย  At this point the only goal is whether I followed the plan. Results should follow.
  • finish at least one project in process.
  • be more regular about something besides Candy Crush Soda. This includes keeping up with this blog, checking the Alice M. Cole blog and mail more frequently, and looking into my other neglected accounts such as Goodreads. This does not include going back to Facebook.

Here’s the game plan for the major writing items. I haven’t decided how public I want to be with the family and personal goals; right now I think not.

January was for recovering from December and planning the coming year.

February and March: finish Genie-ous second draft and hopefully an edit pass of the completed draft.

April is Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ll flesh out the Troy and Sal draft from November.

May will be Story a Day at Forward Motion. I haven’t participated for years and I miss it.

June: final pass on Genie-ous and send to market.

July: Camp NaNoWriMo session two. I’ll either edit Troy and Sal 1 or work on second draft of the hurricane story. I might also decide to draft Troy and Sal’s second novel.

August: Edit Troy and Sal, if not done.

September: mostly family. Evaluate progress and adjust plans accordingly.

October: Finish draft of T&S 2

November: probably draft Troy and Sal’s third tale.

December: family

January 2019: recovery month and plan 2019.


I’d also like to work on Crows, and I might slot it in late in the year if everything else is going well.

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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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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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I’ve spent at least a couple of hours a day most days since Christmas trying to work out a plan and a strategy for 2013.

It hasn’t gone much of anywhere.

I had a mental picture of what I wanted to accomplish and worked out a detailed plan. It didn’t last out the first week.

I put together another plan. That one never even got started.

But I’ve been making progress anyway. Getting things done. (At least I was until I got sidetracked by planning a late winter vacation escape…but a person’s got to have her priorities ๐Ÿ˜€ ).

So I’ve decided that for now, for at least the first part of the year, that’s my only goal. Get things done. I’m still recovering from the grief over my father’s death, still coming out of a long dry spell, still tender inside. I need to give myself time and space.

So: I’m going to try to get things done. I’m starting with short story submissions. I would like to start new writing as well, but while the urge is there, the direction is not. But that’s all right. It will come.

Today’s post was inspired by the “projects” 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! Up next: D Jordan Redhawk.

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Erin M. Hartshorn
tagged me in a meme that’s going around, The Next Big Thing. The quickmeme entry seems to have been hacked by somebody with a Newt Gingrich fetish, but some googling turned up this as the main question list:

What is the title of your next book?
Where did the idea for the book come from?
What genre does your book fall under?
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
What other books of the same genre would you compare yours with?
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the readerโ€™s interest?

It’s geared to writers who are published, with a new book coming out soon, so many of the questions aren’t very relevant to me yet.

I have several projects under way that I’ll begin submitting in the new year.– short stories, a couple of novellas, and a novel titled “Overamped,” about a professional snowboarder dreaming of Olympic gold who gets the woman of his dreams instead. If I took out all Joey’s sex fantasies and all the f-bombs and other modern terminology, the book would shrink significantly, so it’s not a romance ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll probably just bill it as mainstream when I start to market it. I plan to start with conventional publishers, which means finding an agent. Self-publishers have done well in genres, but mainstream is still pretty much the property of, well, the mainstream.

I also have a bunch of ghost story/dark fantasy/somewhat erotic short stories and novellas to go out. I’ll use a different name for those and I’m planning to focus on small online publishers, at least to start.

It doesn’t take me very long to write a first draft. It’s the second and third that take forever. Generally the “first” draft is more of a proof of concept, to make sure the characters are interesting and complex enough to sustain the story, and there’s enough story there. So throwing out an idea after first draft is pretty common for me. Then I’ll expand it in the second draft. Way overexpand it, usually. Then the third draft will be about locating the heart of the story and cutting out non-essential stuff. Usually I wind up combining subplots and characters. For instance, in Overamped, Joey owns a small sporting goods store. In one scene he waits on a customer with a small kid. I was able to combine that woman with the mother of a kid on the snowboard team to turn two “furniture” characters into a bit of emotional trouble for Joey.

I’m not going to tag anybody in particular. If you’re reading this, and it sounds like something you want to blog about, consider yourself tagged.

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We’ve been planning for quite some time to sell the house after youngest graduated from college — a plan that was indescribably far in the future when we came up with it and is now bearing down on us from the high speed lane, without brakes.

It sounds simple enough. Sell the house, buy a smaller one that’s easier to take care of and doesn’t have so much empty space that’s just there to collect junk. And stuff. So much stuff…but I’ve complained about that in other posts. For now, I’ll just say that between getting the house ready for sale (cleaning, painting, fixing, calling contractors, supervising contractors etc. etc.), going through the process of selling (more cleaning, paperwork, phone calls and showings, and then more paperwork, etc.), and finally moving us into someplace new (oh, wait, yes, find a new place while all this is going on, and go through all that paperwork, etc.) my life and schedule are going to be unavoidably disrupted for an unknown amount of time.

That means that planning anything on a tight deadline is not going to work. Planning anything that requires certain things be done at certain times of day is not going to work. I won’t know what days are available for writing or when unexpected tasks, appointments, etc. are going to fling themselves at me from hidden corners. But I don’t want to be totally without goals, either. When I do that, I wind up spending all day playing Fitz or Wordslinger.

After poking around at my goals, at the work I have in progress, and the time I have available, I figured out that most days I’ll have a couple of hours first thing in the morning when I can write. We get up early, so even if I have contractors coming over, I’ll be up before they are.

And I will have other breaks during most days. As long as I know what I’m spposed to be working on, I can make quite a lot of progress. So I’m going back to something that worked for me when the kids were little. I’m putting together a portfolio with half a dozen works in progress to carry with me, and whenever I get a chance I can pull out one of those to work on. When I finish one, I add another to the queue.

That will let me reserve my time at my computer for work that really has to be done at the computer: research, marketing, submissions, and so forth. Oh, and those video games…

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I’m not a morning person. In my ideal world, I’d go to dinner at 8, stay up until midnight or later writing, and not get up until 8 or 9 the next morning. The times I’ve been able to stick with that cycle, I was healthy and happy and didn’t suffer from insomnia.

Oddly, though, I also didn’t get much done, especially writing. The day was half gone by the time I got up and moving, and while the late-night words always seem to be high quality, they don’t come easily. I get the most done when I get up early, no later than 6:30. When I started getting up that early, years ago, it was a forced decision based on work and kids. Now it’s either such a habit that I can’t throw it off, or my body rhythms are changing with age. Be that as it may, an early morning seems to work best for me now.

I used to use the morning time for writing; when the kids were in school, that time before they got up to get ready for school was the only writing time I had. I wrote well then. As they’ve grown up and left home, the schedule has kind of come apart. I’ve kept irregular hours and battled insomnia.

About a year and a half ago, I started getting up again. I’ve been using the early morning time for errands and online stuff. I get up, read my mail, read and reply to Forward Motion posts and my blog, check Facebook, etc. You know the routine. ๐Ÿ˜€ Then I’d try to write, or I’d go to the gym to work out and then do the housework for the day and try to write afterward. I wasn’t losing track of loose ends that way, but I wasn’t getting a lot of writing done, either. It’s hard to sit down and get into the story when I’ve already been buzzing around for several hours.

I thought about going out to exercise first thing in the morning, but the gym is crowded then with people working out before they start their job. Besides, experience has shown that I will exercise at other times of the day. Afternoon may be the easiest. I can do chores and errands any time. I can edit, for myself or for Moongypsy, at any time of day. I can read any time.

The only thing I don’t seem to be able to do at any old time is the writing. It goes well first thing in the morning, and it goes well late at night, and it struggles against fatigue, distraction, and interruption the rest of the day.

I was reminded of this rhythm while I was on vacation, oddly enough. We visited my parents, who are 80-ish and no longer get up early. We were in the mountain time zone, but we were waking up at our usual eastern time. So we had at least a few hours in the morning to ourselves. I was able to use some of that for writing.

Now I’m trying to get back on the old schedule at home. Get up around 6, breakfast, sit down to write. It’s only been about a week but already the writing is flowing more easily and productively. I’m happier. The best part of my day is going to the thing I want to do most. I’m also getting more done in the afternoons when I’ve already accomplished the important goals and don’t have to worry about getting done in time to write.

We’ll see if it continues to work that way but so far it’s a successful experiment.

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