I’ve been “seriously” writing since 1998, with seriously meaning intent to edit and publish. When I lived alone, I wrote a lot. When I married my husband and we lived in our little condo, I wrote a lot. When we grew our family into three, my writing become sporadic. Instead of writing being my outlet, it become a chore. Whenever stress levels rose, I avoided the writing, despite my love for it. When I needed an outlet, I turned toward other hobbies. Writing found its way onto the back burner.
In 2007, I wrote from May until mid July with an obsession. I wrote 10 short stories, edited 4 of them (twice each), started a novel edit, and outlined/researched a new novel idea. Then I burnt out.
I have to choose: (1) downgrade my writing to a hobby; this way I don’t have to stress when the writing doesn’t come, or I’m stressed out, or I’d rather read or play that video game; (2) focus on a method to get the writing done without stressing.
Since my muse is obsessed with me (she’s awfully demanding), option 1 is never going to fly. Trying it will only land me into a depression of ‘why can’t I do this?’ which is fruitless and dangerous. I have too much positive in my life to spend my time being depressed. Option 2 seems like a good idea, if I can pull it off. To do that, there are a few key items I need to consider.
First, I have to stop overplanning. Each hiatus from writing has a pattern: obsessive and productive writing over a short period of time; planning oodles of writing to be completed over the next twelve months; joining critque circles beyond my ability (in producing critiques, not the writing ability); freaking out over the number of critiques and edits that must be done; and then the dreaded avoidance of writing.
Second, I need to start enjoying the writing. I love novels, but they are a huge committment in time and energy and brain power. Short stories have come a long way for me. I’ve figured out how to write them and enjoy writing them. The edits are still tough, but the writing is usually lots of fun. More importantly, the time committment to editing a short story is more manageable than the time required for a novel edit.
Third, I need a *reasonable* plan. Small goals in the short term. So I planned out January.
Implementation: Now. Let’s look at 2007 really quick, and then move on!
2007 Writing Accomplishments
* 10 Short Stories Written (Apotheosis; The Lonely Orchard; The Knot; Storm Song; The Crossing; Knights of the Scarlet Rose; Kalila’s Veil; Treischan Strength; The Dragon’s Bard; Immenence)
* 4 Short Stories Edited (The Crossing; Treischan Strength; The Dragon’s Bard; The Lonely Orchard)
* 1 Novel Prepped: Researched and outlined (Winter Warrior)
2008 Writing Goals
* Consistency: writing should continue through each month of the year. Breaks for sickness/family issues and good stuff are acceptable, but one thing needs to be done each month.
* Short Story Writing – 2
* Short Story Editing – 2