January Write Day: New Year, Same Goals

Does anyone else feel like 2021 isn’t real yet? I’m not going to set personal goals for 2021. 2020 was such an off year that I feel like I need to take this year to re-baseline everything I thought I knew.

The entire year.

The monthly goals format has worked fairly well for me, so I’m sticking to it. So no yearly goals for me as a writer/person. I’ll leave the long-term thinking to my marketing side, likely later this month.

Let’s just focus on the here and now.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Write 8,000 words for THW2.
  2. Yoga and working out.
  3. Finish 4 books.

Write 8,000 words?

No, and really, it was because I ended up taking my Christmas and New Year’s vacations quite literally. I did barely any writing over the last week-and-a-half of the month, and I do not regret a moment.

I wrote about 4,560 words for part two of The Herb Witch Tales, which is still a hefty amount. I tracked this goal on NaNoWriMo this month. Somehow, it took me seven years to figure out that you can set goals for yourself on NaNoWriMo and track your progress directly, even when it’s not for one of their events.

This is more motivating in a way, because my goals and progress are “public”. I’d be shocked if anyone followed my NaNoWriMo profile that closely, but my daily progress is there for anyone to see, and that helps me feel more accountable to my goals.

Without getting too deep into 2020-type goals, one key lesson I’m taking into this month is that I need to reset my expectations for my own writing capacity. While I’m fully capable of churning out 15,000 words in a good month, that’s not a realistic average. Neither is 10,000 words in a month. Even 8,000, as evidenced by December’s total, is difficult without real dedication.

I’m going to set more realistic writing goals each month, based more on the previous month’s progress than on my wildest dreams. This will also help me give more accurate timelines of when a new draft may be “ready” — for revisions, or rewrites, or publication.

It’s not feasible for me to publish a new story each year, so I’m not going to pretend. I want to publish my two-part novella this year. I just need to think a bit harder about how soon I can realistically do so.

Yoga and working out?

I fell off my exercise routine as the holidays drew nearer, which is honestly no different from any other year. I managed to do a couple yoga sessions each week, but it was definitely not consistent. January will be all about getting back into a steadier routine.

Finish 4 books?

No, but I finished the book it had taken me months to read, and I’m well on my way with a couple others.

On Audible, I’m currently listening to In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales, an anthology of Lord Dunsany’s fantasy stories, edited by S.T. Joshi. This is quite a long and heavy listen, so I’m picking away at it. I may pick up some short stories on Audible in between sections, just to diversify a bit.

In the third dimension, I’m reading Crossroads of Twilight, book 10 of The Wheel of Time, by Robert Jordan. I basically can’t put the thing down, so I think I can finish it pretty quickly.

Goals for January

  1. Write 7,000 words for part 2 of The Herb Witch Tales. As I said above, I’m taking my writing goals one month at a time. While I only wrote 4,500 words in December, that was more of a deliberate act of laziness than anything else. I also don’t want to lose momentum completely after the holidays, so I can jump back in this week.
  2. Get back to an exercise routine. I almost always fall off of my exercise routine around the holidays, so this shouldn’t be difficult. I’m still focused on yoga for now, with some resistance training sprinkled in. My sister also now lives in MD again, so I might lean on her to go hiking a couple times per month. The two-year-old enjoys it, mostly, so it’s a good excuse to get him outside, too.
  3. Finish 3 books. I’m already almost halfway through Crossroads of Twilight. I do not anticipate finishing the Dunsany collection this month, but there are a couple shorter novels I’m eyeing.

Steve D

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