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#WritingGoals2017: What Is “Writing Time” if Not Writing?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

2107-writing-challengeAs mentioned before, my “Writing Goal” for 2017 is to spend at least one hour per day on “fiction writing–related” work. I know that most non-writers interpret that to mean that for an hour each day, I’ll be sitting down and writing fiction.

But that’s not actually what I’m doing during that time. Here’s what I have been doing during my fiction writing–related work time:

  • Working on the Ransome Spin-Off story ideas.
  • Casting (and re-casting) Ransome-connected characters.
  • Determining when and where the story will be set.
  • Creating additional characters—which includes naming, casting, creating a background, etc.
  • Researching specific times/locations/events.
  • Writing the story summary.
  • Revising the story summary.
  • Editing the story summary.
  • Posting the story summary for the Friday blog post.
  • Writing a two- or three-sentence blurb for the Story Ideas in Progress page.

Sometimes, the “writing-related work” looks a lot less like writing and a lot more like photo manipulation. Here’s what I worked on yesterday during my “writing-related work” time:


Left: Michael Witherington (Michiel Huisman) and “Mary,” the maid he meets and falls in love with in Florence.
Right: Michael Witherington and the Lady Marianne Yates (Sophie Turner), the daughter of Colin and Susan Yates, the Earl and Countess Childers.
See the story idea summary for
My Fair…Lady? for more info on these two.

By allowing myself to focus on the creation and inspiration part of the “writing-related work,” so far this year, there have only been two days on which I haven’t gotten in at least an hour (more like 3+ hours) each day—and the days on which I haven’t gotten that time in, I made a deliberate choice to take a break and not do anything “writing-related.”

In addition to the writing-related time goal, I’ve also been doing quite well at keeping up with many of the other goals I set for myself: organizing my house/office and getting rid of a lot of the hundreds of author-copies of my books that have been sitting around in boxes for years; approaching social media with deliberation; tracking time spent on all work related to my career as an author (not just writing-related tasks, but social media, website, professional development, study/research, and so on).

I have a very specific timeline for the big projects I’ve set for myself this year. I’ve set dates (with calendar reminders) for the days on which I’m supposed to research and then choose a market for the scholarly paper I’m going to write this year (with a deadline date for that paper to be completed as well). I sat down and planned out the prep tasks from FD60 for the month of August as I prepare to meet my goal of completing a novella this year (including a date by which I must choose the story idea I’m going to work with). And I have the dates for when the first draft will be finished, when it will go to Beta readers, and when I will be working on revisions and edits. To go along with writing the novella, I have dates planned on which I’m to research how to write a novella (I’ve never been able to write anything shprter than 75,000 words so far—and a novella shouldn’t be more than 30-35k) as well as what goes in to self-publishing a novella in case I decide to go that route. Once I run out of Ransome spin-off story ideas to write each week, I’ll come up with new ideas; if not that, I’ll be writing/sharing short pieces of original fiction on Fridays instead.

In addition to those, I set a goal of rejoining a national and local writing group (done). By April 1, I will have decided which writing conference I’m going to attend later this year. I have put on my schedule to attend both the Southern Kentucky Book Fest in Bowling Green in April as well as the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville in October. I have set dates on which I’m to look at the workshop/presentation schedules for each and choose at least one to attend.

And, most of all, I’m making myself live by my calendar. I get an email each morning from Google with my daily “agenda” (downside: it only shows appointments/events, not the tasks over on the right-hand side). I like having the task lists because it feels really good when I can click that little box and have a check mark appear and see the text crossed out because it’s been completed.

How are your 2017 Writing Goals progressing?

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