Since the beginning of this year, I have made important changes in how I manage my time and pursue my passion. I have developed some great habits and made real progress in my projects. I’m pretty proud of myself and that has been a very welcome change in my life.
Most importantly, I have weekly writing goals instead of just monthly. When I was only trying to meet a monthly goal, I’d procrastinate and leave all the writing to one day and just crank it out. Met my goal, sure, but it wasn’t very productive in finishing a long-term project. Plus it wasn’t always impactful writing that propelled the story along. How to fix this? First I set a higher monthly goal; it was clearly too easy if I could do it all in one day. Second I broke it down into how much I needed to write each week. Since I have done this, every week I sit down and dedicate solid time to my stories. This has brought about two happy results. I’ve exceeded my weekly and monthly goals every month and have moved along with my project at a much quicker rate than originally anticipated.
Another aspect of my work that I’ve revamped is my reading. I’ve had a goal of one book a week for several years now and I’ve been able to manage it so far. The refinement in this area was mostly about the type of books I was reading. Generally, I just read anything that caught my interest. But since January I’ve made sure at least one of the books I read each month was a craft book; I’m always trying to expand my knowledge in the writing business. Also, I try to pick at least one book to read that’s in my preferred writing genres (sci/fi, fantasy, horror, suspense). These specific restrictions, I feel, have really helped me advance as a writer.
I’ve also set myself goals for editing each month and I’ve really honed my editing process down to a science. I know that a writer can get stuck in the editing, it never seems perfect, but at the same time, you have to let it go and be free eventually. I’ve developed a method for myself that helps me work on only one kind of editing at a time so I can focus. It’s hard to be watching for grammar or spelling mistakes when you’re more worried about why one character gave us some random information in chapter three.
So every week I have work to do, outside my 60 hours a week job. I write, edit, read, research, and blog. I’m really starting to feel like I’m getting somewhere with this. My first project is a short story collection. I started the year with only one short story ready for outside eyes. I’m now finishing up the editing on the third story and working out the ending on the fourth. After that, I will make the executive decision of whether or not I need a fifth. And then, at long last, I will be working on the self-publishing.
Hard work, dedication, and extreme time management are really going to pay off.