Writing goals for 2017 (revised)

OK, so I caved. I couldn’t resist making actual wordcount-related writing goals. I mean, yeah, I still think my initial goals are good. It’s just that they’re not so… trackable. I don’t like to mix time goals and wordcount goals in the same spreadsheet, and having two spreadsheets doesn’t work. However, I will try to stick to my initial rule about writing days, to try to get into some sort of habit, and the basic idea is pretty much the same.

The new goals are divided by content. Since my blogging motivation is unstable at best, I decided to include blogging as an actual writing goal. My blog posts seem to average around 500 words, and I figure once a week is a minimum for each of my three blogs plus one extra post per week. Then I have my novel projects, and my short stories, which are basically stories written for the web, or just for fun.

  • Blogging: At least 2000 words (4×500) per week
  • Novel writing/editing: At least 6500 words per week (if I stick to my four writing days per week this will be 1625 words per day, i.e. less than NaNoWriMo).
  • Short stories and snippets: At least 1500 words per week.
  • Total writing, everything put together: 10 000 words per week.

This means:

  • Total writing on each writing day (Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday): 2000 words (1625+375) of fiction.
  • If blogging is included in the above, total wordcount goal for each writing day is 2500 words.
  • Any extra words or writing time is a bonus, not a must.
  • The NaNoWriMo goal is not included.
  • So during the rest of 2017, including this week (47 weeks in total), I’ll have the following figures:
    • 94,000 words’ worth of blog post (roughly 63 new blog posts per blog per week, if counting 500 words per post)
    • 70,500 words’ worth of short stories and snippets (though the figures also include editing, so perhaps half that in reality)
    • 305,500 words’ worth of novels, again including editing/new drafts, excluding NaNoWriMo
    • 355,500 words’ worth of novels including NaNoWriMo

I’m excited to see how well (or badly) this will work, particularly since I haven’t set aside time for worldbuilding and planning. I’m two days into week one, but yesterday wasn’t a writing day. I still wrote 400 words, and cleaned up at home. Did the dishes and everything! I almost feel like an adult.

I also received an orchid yesterday. If anyone wonders, I don’t have green fingers. I’m very curious how long it will last – but I did take very good care of the little note that states how to care for it. I might actually have to start letting some sunlight in instead of having the curtains drawn every hour of the day though…

Anyway. I am now done editing the first chapter of Rogue Sorcery, and things are going well. Slowly, but well. 3349 words in two days, after months of nothing at all. Here’s to keeping up the momentum!

A teeny tiny little update

I finally found back to this blog after my unplanned three-month hiatus. Some things have changed – for the better or for the worse – and instead of writing paragraph after paragraph, I decided to go for a simple list of news, resolutions and other updates:

  1. I won NaNoWriMo 2016 as well, with barely more than 50k. I had very little energy and focused on the class challenge at my gym (which I nailed, btw, I even won a backpack and some other stuff). But I won, and I’m happy.
  2. Rogue Sorcery is just as unfinished as it was when the autumn began.
  3. But I have fixed some fairly important plot issues. And made some more work for myself, but that’s to be expected. I really like the changes. Should also be mentioned:
  4. Without my writer friends I would… well, I might have gotten the same ideas, but it would have taken much longer. They are awesome people, all of them.
  5. Mental health took a nosedive and is now on its way back up.
  6. I finished the Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2016, but not without drastically reducing my goal. Still had to read a lot for the last two days of the year to make it, so I’m happy.
  7. Stuck in a job I had high hopes for but which is less rewarding and more stressful than I thought, becoming a writer – an actual, nearly full time writer – has become more important than ever.
  8. As being a writer has gone from something I want to do to something I desperately need to do (not because I think it’s particularly lucrative, but because it’s what I want), I’ve realised that I really, really, really need to make time for writing, and get the ball rolling again.
  9. I would really like to make the literary version of a webcomic (literary as in “just words and no pictures”, not because a webcomic by default isn’t literary – I’ve seen several examples on the contrary). At least something ongoing that I can keep adding to and which I can share online with minimal fuss.
  10. Aiming to start setting aside more time to write during the week. Surely I can cut down on some of my “watch pointless stuff on Youtube” time.
  11. Also aiming to blog more. Granted it doesn’t take much to blog more than once every three months, buuuut still. I’m hoping to be able to blog once a week or so. I have missed blogging. And writing. Frankly, I’ve missed lots of stuff.

I don’t remember if this was all I had intended to say, but here it is. What have you guys been up to? (If anyone is reading, still)

Writing wishes

I often have resolutions around New Year, as I’ve mentioned on my other blogs, and I especially have them for my writing. Every year, without fail, I only complete a single goal: To win NaNoWriMo. Nothing else.

Only succeeding in NaNoWriMo would be fine if I was only writing for fun and did not want to become a published author. But I do, and if so, you need to be able to sit yourself in the chair and write, November or not November. In this case, having a set amount of words to write per day is both recommended and wise, I’ve heard.

But then life happens. My work occasionally entails very stressful periods and very, very long days, lots of people and lots of things that need to be done at once. Not usually, but sometimes. That’s nothing rare, plenty of other people have jobs like that, but it is an impediment to writing every day. I have tried my best, and it’s a fool-proof way of burning out. Most likely it was why NaNoWriMo was so hard this year.

Life is not just work either. There’s Irish dancing as well, twice a week plus extra classes/competitions now and then, plus other exercise. That takes time, and it’s not something I’m willing to sacrifice. I have friends there, and it’s what keeps my sane and healthy. Quite literally, in fact. Healthy food, exercise, and moderate stress levels keep my illness at bay and my mind fit. Plus, of course, socializing with friends, my writing group, tidying my apartment (it’s not the end of the world to have a messy apartment, and I am often a messy person, but a neat apartment keeps my stress levels down), maintaining four blogs and my numerous other hobbies, plus relaxing and sleeping.

Many people are able to juggle a hectic lifestyle and writing. But many people are not, and when you have been burnt out and/or depressed before, it’s not something you want to ever experience again. Even if you keep doing the same mistakes as before. For me personally, having a rigid schedule (though I love planning) makes me stressed (not the usual “oh, I have so much to do” feeling, but the dull, heavy, all-consuming exhaustion in every cell of your body combined with a mind that’s gone haywire), and then I can forget about writing. I’ve learnt that picking your battles is a good thing, and that putting yourself in situations over and over that you know you react badly to, is a bad thing. See, I can learn sometimes.

This year, instead of resolutions, I am making wishes for the writing year. Wishes are vague and not very committing, but as it turns out, goals and resolutions aren’t necessarily any better. From what I’ve learnt during my period of using HabitRPG for the other parts of my life, starting with small goals so that you can build a habit out of them first AND get the sense of mastery before progressing to the harder stuff is the way to go.

Wish #1: Do something writing-related at least three days a week. Three days a week I have no other commitment (at least nothing pre-planned) and there’s very little that can get in the way. If it does, I can choose to write on other weekdays. “Writing-related” includes writing, editing, worldbuilding, planning, plotting, conlanging and even drawing something related to one or more of my stories.

Wish #2: Win NaNoWriMo. I would love to overachieve, but I am not going to plan on it.

Wish #3: Win and overachieve at least one Camp NaNoWriMo. Preferrably the April one, as I actually have time then. And preferrably I would like to write more than 200k.

Wish #4: Write at least one second draft for any story (but preferrably Rogue Sorcery or The Madness)

Wish #5: Finish Ancient Elvish

Wish #6: Update this blog at least once per week (on average), that is at least 52 times per year.

Do you have any resolutions?