I know that it may seem early to be thinking about 2017, but soon you will be in the midst of holiday craziness, your company’s year-end rush, or end-of-quarter/semester reports, and suddenly you’ll be saying “Happy New Year” and wondering where your writing is going after January 1st.
Finding out what gets in the way of getting the writing done
I suggest looking back at 2016 first. Did you meet all your writing goals? What legitimately got in the way? What did you let get in the way–too much FreeCell, watching TV while complaining “there’s nothing on”, saying “yes” to too many people with issues or projects that drained your energy or because saying “no” would make you feel guilty? If you are seeing patterns that could be changed to give you more writing time, commit to changing them now. For some inspiration check out this post by Kristi Holl. It’s the first of three posts on setting boundaries that will give you more time to write and more peace with your choices: http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/2013/07/mental-boundaries-whos-in-charge-part-1/
I’ve talked about devising a writing plan, but frankly I’ve failed big time every time I’ve tried. My first challenge is that I have several projects on the go and don’t really know where I am with any of them. Before the end of December I’m going to go back and look at each one of them and map out what needs to be done to complete them. For example, I need to write up plot summaries for four acts of King Lear for a teacher’s guide that I’m writing. Four acts will break down into a certain number of scenes. If I set a goal of three scenes a day, I can see the end of the road, and three scenes a day is doable. Small steps. I have another project–a collection of short romance stories. My gosh, I’ve talked about getting this done for years, but I’ve always looked at is as a group of stories. Better that I tackle one at a time–one draft a week is doable. I need to leave time for freelancing, so I can’t start any other creative projects until King Lear is finished. Then I can add another project to take up the time I used for King Lear.
The carrot of a shiny new project will provide the needed impetus to get the King Lear project finished in a timely manner. I also have to look at my other commitments for the new year: writing classes that I’m leading at my local library and a speech to a local PROBUS club are both on the calendar for the first three months of 2017. I’ll need to carve out time for those, too. There’s still time left this year to apply “small steps” to your current projects. Give it a try now, and you’ll have the system mastered for your writing projects in 2017.
Yes, well, stuff happens. And I’m an expert this year, because for me, breast cancer happened. The toughest part has been forgiving myself for not doing as much as I wanted to do. Yes, I had lots of time, but I had a body that was worn out with no stamina, a mind that seemed to lose any ability to focus, and a conflict between me and my medication for which I am finally finding a balanced, middle ground, and yes, I admit, I just didn’t want to face it some days. I did my freelance work, but the creative “me-work” languished on the sidelines. Time was lost, writing wasn’t done–and you know what? What’s done is done. I’m getting my energy and focus back and it’s going to be okay. The writing will get done–and yours will, too. When stuff like this happens, there’s no point in going back and saying “if only”, there’s just looking ahead and saying, “step by step I’ll get there.”
So, step by step, my writing will get done in 2017–and I hope that yours will, too.
If you’re ready to write that book, take advantage of what I’ve learned about writing and publishing by checking out my personalized writing coach options. Arrange for your free 15-minute telephone chat to see if I’m the coach for you. There’s a writer inside all of us, let me help you find yours.