New Year’s Resolutions.
Ahhh…Just the sound of those three words make my writer’s heart thump with anticipation. A new year and all the lovely manuscripts I could knock out. Oh, the possibilities are endless. Two books in a year. No, four books! Heck, why limit myself? I could write ten books! By December, I could have two complete series filling up my Amazon Author’s page.
This year could be the best ever and I absolutely love setting goals: making timelines, creating word count milestones, you name it. Yeah, I’m that person. The good-intention over-achiever, the one who has great plans and those plans are color-coded and just plain pretty. I love setting those goals…in December. I’m full speed ahead immediately after the holidays. I’m distracted by mid-January, but still revved up and planning to hit the jackpot. Then February rolls around and my writing machine crashes to a halt.
This year I’m doing something new. I’ve still written a detailed Action Plan for my next manuscript that will fit into my ultra-busy life and help me finish the final draft of my 50K word novel in three months (for 2016, I settled on writing “only” four books, one final draft every quarter). I go in depth into my Action Plan over here.
But in an effort to avoid the answer to the inevitable question next December from my nosy aunt as to why she can’t find that new series I was going to write on Amazon, I’m not just setting rigorous goals—I’m giving myself an effing break.
This year will be different because I’m putting less emphasis on actually achieving all that is written in my Action Plan, and more emphasis on truly enjoying the process. Am I going to accomplish my goals just because I detailed everything about all four books? Maybe not, but I didn’t get into writing just to write about planning it.
Aside from giving myself a break from the pressure and disappointment of failing to meet my New Year’s Resolutions, I’m looking deeper into what hijacks my plans to literary stardom, and, more importantly, what truly motivates me as a writer.
One of my favorite quotes is actually song lyrics from The Eagles. “So often times it happens we live our lives in chains and never even know we have the key.” We all have “chains” (read: responsibilities, phobias) that prevent us from doing what we believe will make us happy/successful.
Aside from working at a demanding 40+ hour a week job, I still have many distractors: reading books, celebrity gossip, watching two daytime soap operas five days a week, and, oh, yeah, babysitting my nieces and nephew.
Some are unavoidable (like family obligations), but what about other things that don’t put food on the table and keep a roof over my head? Celebrity dirt? Watching soap operas? I think about all the time wasted watching soap operas that never end the way I want them to anyway. All these distractors turn into chains that keep me from being a truly productive writer.
And when I say a productive writer, I don’t just mean an organized writer. I mean a writer who can truly, deeply get 100% lost (in the best way possible) in the creative process of writing. As writers we are well aware of the almost blissful state that comes with being swept away by our own words, which never truly feel like our own words. It’s like some other being is feeding them to us and we’re simply the messenger.
We all know that feeling and it’s an amazing feeling. So why would we keep ourselves from that? Why would we deprive ourselves of that blissfulness by wasting mindless hours in front of the boob tube?
I guess that’s truly my New Year’s Resolution: Finding the balance somewhere between the organization and the creative chaos of it all.
This year I’m giving myself a break by accepting that it’s okay to want to go through the extensive process of detailing what happens next in my story and book series—because that’s important to me so that I don’t write myself into a corner. I’m giving myself a break and giving myself a mental vacation to go where the characters and the worlds take over.
What worlds did you deprive yourself of in 2015? What organization tips and tricks are you picking up in 2016? Let everyone know in the comments.
Happy New Year and Happy Writing!
Check out my website at www.deborahbogart.com to find out more about upcoming releases and to read an excerpt from Love Me to Death, the first in the paranormal romance series Blood & Magic. Amazon: Love Me to Death