Last year, I was very busy with Life — not in a bad way, but it meant I didn’t do a whole lot of writing. This year, Life has settled down (knock wood). So I’m taking a step back, refocusing and recommitting to what it is I really want to do with myself. Which is write.
Specifically, I want to make more space for my writing. I hear myself constantly complaining about how busy I am. My house is cluttered so there’s no room to think. The Internet is an ever-present demon. And the writing I am getting done feels like it has stagnated because I’m not sinking into it as deeply as I could be.
So I am declaring this the Year of Priorities, AKA Project: Making Space.
It’s a multi-pronged problem, so I’ll be making a multi-pronged attack.
First step: ROW80 (A Round of Words in 80 Days). This is a writing challenge where, unlike NaNoWriMo, each participant declares his or her own goal. It runs for 80 days, then takes a break and starts again. That means it’s not a mad coffee-fueled dash like NaNo. As I understand it, you’re supposed to take ROW80 a little slower, integrate your goal into your normal life, and work towards building habits.
My ROW80 goal: To spend 5 hours a week writing and/or editing.
(A week is counted as Monday to Sunday. Related tasks such as researching, brainstorming, and outlining may or may not count, or I may count them as half time, or something.)
I’m tempted to talk about gradually raising the goal, or about how much I hope to accomplish by the end of the 80 days, but I won’t. I have a long history of setting unrealistic goals, or “product” goals that don’t take into account the length of the process, and then beating myself up when I miss them. So this time I’m starting simple.
My current projects are:
- Writing, editing, and posting a serial story for Turtleduck Press (I’m just finishing up Part 4 of a planned 5)
- Editing a novel (I’m about 1/3 of the way through an intensively edited second draft)
But again, I’m only setting “process” goals for now.
I will say, though, that I intend to do those 5 hours a week in bigger chunks. In the past I’ve sometimes written in sprints of 10 or 15 minutes, which is great as far as it goes, but it’s not conducive to sinking deeper into the story. So I’m going to aim for an hour at a time, but again, that’s not an official part of the goal.
One of the Life things I’m doing is working on Turtleduck Press. As a member, part of my duties involves writing short stories, which will count towards my goal. Another part of my duties is editing other members’ novels, which will not count — I like doing it, but it doesn’t get my own writing out there any faster. Writing blog posts also will not count — only fiction.
I’ve done 2 hours so far this week — an hour each of writing and editing. It might have been more, but I had to skip Monday because of wrist problems. Still, I’m on track to hit 5 hours.
Other #ROW80 Members
I’m doing #ROW80 with a couple of fellow Turtleduck Press authors:
You can see the rest of the ROW80 participants here.
Go show them some love!
In future posts I’ll be talking more about my 2013 (because I did accomplish a fair bit, even if it wasn’t writing, and I’d like to celebrate that) and my plans and reasons for refocusing in 2014. In the meantime…
Your turn! Are you feeling too busy? What are your priorities for 2014?