Thursday, December 15, 2011

Plan of Attack: 2012 Writing Plan

Posted by Jennifer Baylor at The Writing Cocoon.  
Filed under "Write1Sub1"

 I've been staring at a blank screen for some time, trying to write this post. The goals for 2012 are not the problem; I know exactly what I would like to accomplish. It is the plan itself that is holding me back. You see, in 2011 I had plenty of writing goals, but I accomplished much less than I had hoped for. Still, I wrote more in 2011 than I have in years, so that is progress. But, how do I make 2012 more productive?

Here are the main goals (and the goals specifically for this challenge):
  1. Finish WIP#1 TLCS
  2. Finish 1st Draft of WIP#2 DR
  3. Participate in W1/S1: 2 times per month
The plan:

Create and Maintain a consistent writing routine. Now, this has been a struggle for me this year. I started with a simple goal to sit at my writing desk once per day, then tried detailed daily schedules. But the detailed daily schedule was too much. Next I tried a more general weekly goal lists with no daily schedule.That worked a little better, but I'm still failing at consistency.

I'm going to experiment with starting my day a little earlier and with some guided meditation, followed by yoga practice. I'm not a morning person, and my logic is that the meditation and yoga will help me focus and wake up, basically get the blood flowing. Then, I want to get in one hour of writing before noon, then two hours of writing later in the afternoon.

Each week, I will make a list of the writing I want to accomplish. I'm not going to put in a word count goal just yet. I'm a fast writer; if I can just get into the routine of writing every day, the word count will come. The goal is to write 5 days per week, Monday through Friday. I'd like to add a sixth day, but I feel I need to work on building the habit, first.

Practice writing skills daily. My writing skills are rusty, and I've been reading whatever I can find on building up my store of writing tools. I've come across much useful material, but about a month ago I found the book I've been looking for: How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills through Practice and Play by Barbara Baig. I'm really enjoying the exercises, tools and tips. This will be my "manual" for building my daily "practice" sessions (writing that won't be included in my daily word count).

Join a writing group and/or find a crit partner. I've toyed with this idea, looked online for local writing groups, but I just haven't found one that inspired me to leave my solitary writing cave and give it a go. It is time to get out there and give them a try. There are two or three in my area. I think it is important that I start getting some of my writing "out there" and receive feedback. I'm just not sure about these local groups - if they will be a good fit for me. I think I'd prefer a crit partner, someone I could exchange writing with on a regular basis. We'll see.

In 2012, if I can create and maintain the above plan, regardless of exact word count produced, I will consider the year successful. However, I don't see any reason why I can't accomplish the specific writing goals if I stick to the plan.

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  1. Good to see you back. I think your plan looks pretty solid, and entirely reasonable. Sometimes, we overdo it with the plans and set goals that are totally unrealistic. These look achievable, but not in the 'set way too low' kind of way.

    How are your hands doing? I know you were having a lot of trouble last month. I assume they're doing better?

  2. Hi JeffO! Good to see your comment.

    I appreciate your weighing in on my goals. I am a terrible goal setter for the very reasons that you mention. So, it is good to get feedback on what I've set myself as goals.

    The hands are MUCH better, thanks for asking. I ended up with some seriously knotted tendons in the forearms that required some physio and rest. That was the worst tendonitis in my wrists and arms that I've ever experienced! Perhaps one needs to go into "training" before trying NaNo. I couldn't stand to touch hands to keyboard for a good 2 weeks.

  3. That's a great list. 3 hours a day, five days a week to write... Man... That would be nice. :)

    And reading your post reminded me of *another* thing I really should have had in my list. Provide quality feedback on all works I review as part of the crit group I'm in...

  4. Those sound like challenging, yet attainable, goals, Jennifer. The consistent writing routine is the big one, i reckon.

    Bring on the new year :-)

  5. Hi Michael - Welcome to the blog. Yeah, I'm fortunate to have that time to write, which is why I need to stop squandering it. Funny/sad that I used to say I didn't write b/c I didn't have time. Now, I have time...I come up with other excuses.

    Which just tells me...I don't have obstacles so much as excuses.

    How do you find your crit group?

  6. Hi Samuel - Thanks for stopping by. I think consistency is the first big hurdle to writing. I'm hoping to beat it this year.