I’m not a fan of new year resolutions. Everyone starts the year full of great intentions, over-stretching themselves as if they’re trying to prove something. And I’m no different. I’m a very driven person, meaning that once I set my sights on something I pursue it to the very end.
However, this year I’m trying something different. I got a very useful document from Charlie at the Urban Writers’ Retreat, called “The Roadmap: 2015 writing planner”, which you use to set your goals for the coming year.
It starts with an assessment of your successes from last year. I always struggle with this kind of stuff, because I find it difficult to define success, but this time I had several to report. The biggest one was the positive feedback I received on my book from a structural edit. When a professional editor uses the word ‘engrossing’, then you’ve got to pay attention. That book is now into the final stage of self-editing. Last year I also entered short stories into two competitions and came up with a strong plan for another book.
So with the 2014 review complete, the planner guides you towards what you want to get out of the coming year. Obviously, for me the big one is finishing off my first book entirely and getting it published. Also of a high priority is developing an editing strategy to make the process less like pulling teeth. This involves researching editing methods and then experimenting with them on the novella I wrote in 2013. I’m hoping that because it’s shorter and simpler, the editing experience will be easier.
The planner has a section for setting out how you’re going to go about achieving the goals you’ve set. My plans haven’t been fully set out yet. The first half of the year is already mostly tied up with non-writing stuff, but I’ll be picking off the final bits of editing and such like as I go along. From August onwards, when my time becomes entirely my own, then I’ll start work on the next book.
I have long term plans, which I won’t go into now, but this year will go some way to getting me started along that path. At the moment it’s all about the baby steps. I’ve learned a lot in recent years. I know more about writing but I also know more about myself. I know that I have to take things one step at a time to protect myself and my health.
This year is the first step on a longer path, but when I fill in the 2016 Roadmap I’d like to be reporting that my key success is that I’m a published author. That’s my priority and I’m excited about it.