Like so many bloggers out there, I like to devote my first post of a new year to what I hope to accomplish by its end. After all, writing out goals like this makes them tangible, so to speak. Even if you don't share them publicly, it can be a way to map out how needs to happen to get them done.
In years past, my list has been fairly extensive, going into the details of my ongoing writing projects and establishing goals for each one.
Specificity like this can be good for keeping you on track. It gives you a clear agenda and makes it easier to form a plan.
But it also results in a longer list. And when you fall short of hitting every point on that list, it can be a bit of a disheartening blow.
I often talk about reshaping your goals when life finds a way to get in the way. That's often part of my June Check-In posts where I assess how things are coming along and where they're hopefully be going for the rest of the year. Adaptability is a skill writers need to have under their belts because whether you're reworking an idea and changing the course of your story after betas mention a plot point that future readers might find off-putting or out of place, your dream agent decides your work isn't right for their list and you're back to searching for others to send your materials to, or an editor has changes they feel would improve it, nothing is final until it is.
This year, I'm beating myself to that punch in the gut.
It’s time to rein myself in and ease my way into a stricter writing routine.
For 2022, I’m limiting myself to two projects.
As has been my goal every year, I want to make sure I’m ahead on blog posts. Truth be told, I try to have at least two weeks’ worth prepared and scheduled. It's not always easy to sit down and write a post.
Blogging is something I'll squeeze into my lunch breaks at work. For one thing, that's often the only chance I have in a day to write and it's not exactly an environment that's conducive to writing fiction (at least, it's not for me). But it also takes up less space. All I really need is my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard, whereas I often have a multitude of research tabs open and marked-up pages scattered about when I'm working on any of my other WIPs. It's also easier to jump back into blogging after work, especially after a closing shift, than it is to dive into fiction.
My plan is to maintain the pace I've set with blogging, but keep it to lunch breaks and after longer shifts because my main focus of this year is going to be demanding my attention on my days off.
I’ve always been a juggler, shifting my focus daily between editing one project, drafting another, and writing content for the blog; there have been times where I would change gears every few hours, even.
In 2021 especially, I started to realize that while I’ve been doing a lot when it comes to writing, it’s not exactly productive. Dividing my time between multiple projects means I’m making progress with each, but only in small spurts instead of consistently or substantially. I’ve recognized that I’ve spread myself thin in all of my multitasking because I’ll come back to a project after shifting gears and working on a different one only to see I’m not as far ahead as I thought when I left off.
I think this was one of the factors leading to my feelings of burnout last spring that prompted me to take a hiatus from writing.
Things will be different this year.
Throughout 2022, I’m devoting myself entirely to Bound to the Heart. A few weeks ago, I started a complete rewrite of the novel in its entirety for a number of reasons, and it’s quite a different experience than just drafting a brand-new novel from scratch.
On the one hand, it’s like exploring the story for the first time because I’m viewing it from a different perspective and making so many changes, yet it has the familiarity and frustrations of editing a completed draft.
It’s a weird limbo.
I’m still finding my footing in the process, but bouncing between different stories makes it difficult to center myself in it.
My main goal for 2022 is to finish the rewrite of Bound to the Heart. While I’d love to be ready to send it out to another group of beta readers for feedback towards the end of the year, chances are this might happen—and that’s okay! I would rather set myself up in a position where I could take my time with things than feel like I’m rushing myself.
Without getting too far ahead of myself, I would hope to be ready to start the querying process again sometime in 2023.
I'll be the first to admit the temptation to hop between WIPs is strong. It can hard to not respond to a shiny new idea calling my name. The thing is, splitting myself between all of my stories is of no benefit to any of them. At least for now, I must commit to one and only one.
It feels trite to say given how the past couple of years have turned out, but I want to go into 2022 with high hopes for what's to come creatively and otherwise. There are going to be challenges, as there are with any year, but the lessons I learned throughout 2021 have me feeling ready to face them.
It's like they say: grow through what you go through.
The path may not be clear, but I'm sticking to it and hope you'll be along for the journey.