A Whole New Year

Obligatory New Year’s Post is Obligatory

I’m not making any drastic changes heading into 2022. I think there’s far too much pressure on resolution and sweeping realignments that set people up for failure, especially someone like me that needs an external structure to succeed, but is neglectful in seeking one out. I could use a writing buddy or two heading into the new year. I remember how fast I made friends in online forums at the beginning of the ’00s and now, social media makes it so much harder, at least for me.

No! This is not the lonely writer post!

What I have done is reorganize my goal and tasks around three (four) simple BIG ideas. I have three major goals (three is a magical number – four goals if you count my “Personal” category) and I call those major goals – “BOSS”. Yes, these are my Gohma, Dodongo, and Barinade of my life quests. Every task I put into my calendar has to fit under one of these BOSSes or it’s not really worth my time.

Screenshot of my partial Notion database

I break things down even further, having separate MINIBOSSes for each BOSS. This gives me a way to see what areas within each BOSS I’m putting my time into and if there needs to be adjustments. I do all this in Notion using databases. Originally, I tried to limit my MINIBOSSes to just three per BOSS, but I found that, at least in my “Active Writer” boss, I needed a few more areas, such as “Working on Craft” and “Marketing.” The most important MINIBOSS here is “Finish Current Projects” because that’s where I have the most trouble. I have a separate database for Writing Projects and I try not to add anything to it unless the concept is completely clear to me. Everything else goes in a “idea” file.

This year I want to really lean into the idea of changing my “environment” instead of myself. Instead of acting as if my process, or my thinking, or my existence is a “problem,” I’m focusing on how I can create the space (physical and mental) where I will thrive. Coming up with this organization system has been key in this. I don’t feel the pressure to get everything done every day (my daily list is just things due “today” and “before” – and I’m purposefully not setting tasks with “priorities” because, in my mind, they’re all important.)

As for the writing, here is the plan:

  • I’ll be continuing all of my Vella series (one of them ending in late winter.)
  • Finishing up my first thriller novella, Chatterbox, to give away as a thank you for signing up for my newsletter (so look forward to that!)
  • I need to find a copy editor that I can work with on a regular basis. I’ll start searching in a few weeks. (I’m open to suggestions if you know of a good one.)
  • I’m planning on publishing some flash fiction on here and then compiling them as I go into anthologies
  • I’ve outlined the first two novels in a psychological thriller series to be published by the summer. More info coming soon!
  • The Shape of Us Mysteries first novel, Pedigree, is moving along and I hope to have that ready to go by March, April at the latest.
  • My Woodlawn College romance will get a sequel (Secret Title) to be released in Kindle Unlimited with the novella form of the series, Art History. No timeline on that yet.
  • Hopefully other opportunities that I can’t even see yet.

So that’s where things stand. I have the organization down and some of the systems in place and very optimistic goals. But I feel that now I have a better understanding of who I am and how I work and with that, can better give myself the grace to make adjustments.

May we all find some comfort in the new year and pinpoints of hope to help light the way.

Hey! Listen!

Navi

Trying to do too much?

I’m the queen of great ideas and bad follow through.

I’ve been watching/listening to a lot of videos about writing, craft and business, and I’ve come to realize that I’m not only putting the cart before the horse, but I don’t even have a horse, or a cart, or a road, or a place to go. Outside of my three Kindle Vella series, I’m a bit scattered, even though I’ve talked about various projects here before.

I’m the queen of great ideas and bad follow through.

I think that’s why the Kindle Vella series appeal to me now. I’d had a hard time finding a following on other serial sites and, while, the market seems dominated by steamy romance and LitRPG (neither of which I write) I decided to take a gamble.

Then I quickly became overwhelmed. And started having new ideas. Then over-overwhelmed.

The natural step after over-overwhelm is paralysis and then I get into a funk and don’t do anything at all. You can give me plenty of planners, systems, motivation, even people to sit with me while I work, but I won’t know where to go. And the one thing I’m bad at is the one thing I need to be good at: finishing my shit.

I even started a NaNoWriMo group focused on Finishing Our Shit Stuff and then abandoned it after a week or two. (Sorry, y’all. It’s not you. It’s always me.)

I’ve been thinking about all the half-finished, partially-started pieces I have saved and wondered if I could dedicate myself to finishing these pieces and putting them out there, whether indie publishing them under this pen name or submitting them to publications under another. Who knows? But it’s a challenge that I have only failed in the past.

Nowhere to go but up, as they say.

What I am doing now is reassessing each week what tasks actually get me moving forward. Writing is always a Definitely. Other things, not so much. So, more writing. (Yeah, I’ve been here before and this time may not be different, but there’s only one starting place and that’s where the starting starts.)

Good luck to me. Good luck to you.

Another Year, Another…year

I could start talking about how goals were lost, intentions were well-intended, things were missed, and shit was not finished. But unless you want me to populate this entire post with more passive verbs and self-flagellation, I’m going to stop now and starting looking forward.

I could start talking about how goals were lost, intentions were well-intended, things were missed, and shit was not finished. But unless you want me to populate this entire post with more passive verbs and self-flagellation, I’m going to stop now and starting looking forward.

Typically I’m a self-reflective person. I have found much of my personal growth from this process and while my “Five Ways to Self-Reflect” blog post lurks somewhere in the distant future, I won’t be lying if I said that this knowledge-building practice was inspired by endless sessions of reading manga.

Yes Sensei!

Perhaps this year fewer manga will be read and more words will be written. Perhaps this year new challenges will be faced and new paths will be trodden. Perhaps it’s not worth fretting over an arbitrary date just because we consider this the beginning of one thing and the end of something else. Why can’t March 8th be the symbolic beginning of a new year? August 21st?

It doesn’t matter. I’m just trying to slink into the New Year Zeitgeist, seven days late, and firmly declare my 2019 goals in the hopes of riding that momentum train into a less disappointing December. I still have that damn anthology to finish – the one listed in the sidebar and the first two books of my series to start. The first one is outlined, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, because it’s been sitting and fermenting at the bottom of  stack of notebooks. Will this be the year? This will be the year. There is no next year. There is always only this year.

Before falling into some pseudo-philosophical ramble, I would just like to say “hello, how are you? I hope you had a nice holiday season.” Time to get to work.

Let’s pretend…

The human construct of time marches forward on heels of iron and regret and we are merely dead leaves blowing along in its wake.

…that I’ve written the post about not being around, not writing, blardy blard blarg. I’ve forgiven me. You’ve forgiven me. We’ve had a good laugh about distractions, self-doubt, and sabotage and now we’re at the bottom of the Triscuit box and all that’s left are slivers of biscuit and some moldy Gouda. The human construct of time marches forward on heels of iron and regret and we are merely dead leaves blowing along in its wake.

Or some such. Yet either way I have decided to resurrect myself, yet again, and give this a go. Much like quitting smoking – which I have recently done – sometimes there are many attempts necessary before something sticks. Some of the best things are covered in a temporal Teflon, evading that stick-to-it-ness of worse habits. So since time is our enemy and on our side and blowing in the wind, we’ll use it as our convenient prop to get this party started, yeah?

The Challenge

Over the next thirteen days I will attempt to draft out one short story per day with the intention of publishing them altogether in an anthology. This is a theme that I’ve been mulling on for a long time and some of the stories are either started or synopsized (new word!). I should have started this on the 13th, but alas, my timing, as usual, is terrible. Yet I would have you check in with me from time to time to see if I’m actually completing this completely doable goal.

Also..

Removing the progress meter from the sidebar for the other project. Those words still exist, but it, for now, is taking a back burner to other things. Let’s see if I can get up on the curb before I go back to the mountain.

 

Short, Sweet, Word Count Meet

Completely sidetracked this morning because of breaking news. Understandable.

Yet I was determined to get something in, something down. I knew I had a dream-sequence next and wanted to get the “smell” of the place right. I will probably expand it during revision. I tend to write short, then expand.

No Pomodoro today, as my writing stint was less than the 25-minute focus period, but I still hit my goal, clocking in 532 words. Meeting the goal is the most important part for me these last few days, though, frankly, I am worried that it will start to feel like an obligation.

Perhaps I have to work on how I view that obligation. Not everything I need to do has to be fun. Though, writing is fun, it can also be a struggle. Maybe, instead of obligation I should think of  it as a duty.

In my quest to try new tricks, today, knowing I was just doing a short stint, I used Scrivener’s full screen mode. It is supposed to eliminate the other visual distractions on your screen while you’re writing. Google Docs has the same, as do pretty much all other writing applications. The problem was today that wasn’t necessary.

Since I was describing a dream, I wanted to be as clear about the sensation as possible. So I wrote with my eyes closed. The distraction-free screen was moot.

I may get a chance to add more words later, but since I’ve met my goal, I know I’m still moving forward.