Happy New Year and Happy Insecure Writers Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going.
Thanks to this month's awesome hosts: Patricia Lynne, Lisa Buie-Collard, Kim Lajevardi, and Fundy Blue!
Happy 2019. Do you always start a new year with resolutions? Do you look at them at the end of December? My answers? Yes, to the first; no, to the second. So what good are resolutions (goals), if we don’t look at them?
My RWA chapter (Mid-Michigan RWA) has a version of NaNoWriMo. Each month, we set out what we want to accomplish that month. I’m very good at that. Then each week, we (sort of) report our progress—either on our discussion loop or on the monthly database or both. I’m not so good with the follow-through reporting. I accomplish my goals, sometimes even more, but I forget to add them in. When the next month comes around, I think “oops, forgot to report my progress.”
I’ve always been a list-maker. I love checking off each item. What helps is taking a large project (like, I will write three novels this year) and break it down into manageable parts. (BTW, that was my goal for 2018. Didn’t make it.) By manageable parts, I mean list what you have to do to accomplish that goal. How many words/day do you need to write for each book? Factor in all the before-I-start-writing “stuff” (character lists, GMCs, research, world-building, etc.) Estimate how many days you’ll need to review/revise/edit each book. Factor in how long your editor will take to edit the book. If you DIY the formatting, how long will that take? Is three books a manageable goal? Did you factor in marketing? How much time do you need to get the word out that you have a new book? Will you do a blog tour? How much time to you need to dedicate to social media each day?
This sounds so overwhelming I’m scaring myself. LOL
The easiest thing for me is keeping track of word count. I made up a spreadsheet with simple formulas so all I need to do at the end of each daily writing period is enter the ending word count (from the bottom of the Word doc.) I get a feeling of accomplishment when I see that I wrote 500 words or 1,000 or 60. Whatever. It’s progress.
I find setting small goals makes me try to reach them. If I don’t set a goal, I don’t try. I mentioned back in October how we had a flooded basement and everything had to be boxed up and moved out. Before Thanksgiving, all those boxes came back in. My office is still full of boxes. It's so overwhelming I don't even want to look at it. So, my goal of January is to empty five boxes. That's a manageable goal. I'll let you know next month.
Following up at the end of each month by looking at my list and checking off what I’ve done makes me feel proud. Progress. Moving forward.
But here’s a caveat: don’t measure yourself against another writer. I know authors who publish six books a year. That’s one every other month! I also know writers who are still writing the same book after ten years. (Trying not to judge.) Better to measure against yourself, your previous efforts.
Optional question: What are your favorite and least favorite questions people ask you about your writing?
Where do you get your ideas is a perennial one. Not sure if it’s my favorite or least favorite. It’s getting easier to answer—everywhere. I don’t think they want something so vague. They want a specific, magical answer.
How about you? Are you setting goals?
Happy Writing. See you next month.
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