January Write Day: New Somethings

Well, here we are. 2023.

Time to look back on all my goals from 2022 and recalibrate for a new year. I’ll probably do a general goals review post for all of 2022 at some point this month, but this is not that post.

Today, let’s just stick to the here and now – how December went for me and how I would like for January to go.

Last Month’s Goals

  1. Finish New Earth.
  2. Read three books.
  3. Exercise three times per week.

I feel good about this one.

Finish New Earth?

Yes! At least, as close as I can get with a second draft. As I had mentioned last month, I did not track a word count goal for December, because I just wanted to finish the story.

I got over the bump of the final conflict, and I have some falling action to write. The reason I’m not too concerned with the falling action is twofold.

a. Right now the falling action just feels like a cliff notes section of the day after, and that’s uninteresting, both as a writer and a reader.

b. I need to review both stories in The Herb Witch Tales, Uprooted and New Earth, in full to ensure that I’ve hit all the big thematic beats I wanted to hit throughout this duology. That will really determine what I need to cover in the falling action.

So, a revision phase is in order. I’m still not sure how I will proceed with that. Printing the two documents of 70+ pages each just to red-line edit them feels wasteful.

Plus, I have a shiny new writing tool. I got myself a small, hefty laptop whose sole purpose is to give me portable access to my writing in a pinch. For the last couple years, I’ve primarily been writing on a desktop in my office, which is in the back room of the upstairs of our house. A nagging technical issue aside, it’s not a very convenient writing spot when I have two kids running around and usually don’t get more than a half hour to sit and concentrate on something.

What I’m hoping this new laptop will give me is a way to sit for 10 or 15 minutes in my kitchen and try to scratch out a couple hundred words while dinner is on the stove, or while my one-year-old is falling asleep with a bottle in his mouth next to me on the couch.

Read three books?

I read five books! One was short, and another was very short, but I don’t care. I did not meet my 2022 GoodReads goal of 26, but a final push over the holidays brought me to 22 books read for the year, which I’m not upset about.

Exercise three times a week?

Minus the weeklong feasting of the holidays, yes. My strategy to simplify my workout goal has really helped me focus on what I need to do on a given day to just achieve a bare minimum.

Part of the problem is that work has been so stressful the last few months that I’ve all but stopped taking real breaks during the day. I wasn’t letting myself take substantial breaks, which obviously cut into any workout time I might have.

So, in addition to the workout plan, I also just need to give myself the space to have some self-care time during my workday, when I’m by myself and have some control over my schedule. If I had a resolution this year, that would be it — allowing myself the space for self-care, without feeling guilty about it.

Goals for January

  1. Start revising The Herb Witch Tales, #1 and #2. I don’t quite know what this process will look like yet, so I can’t commit to a timetable yet. I definitely don’t want to sit on these stories for too long. I just need to figure out my revision process and start. That likely starts with an overarching view of the themes, plot threads, and character beats I want to follow throughout both stories, so I think I have some contemplating and organizing to do first.
  2. Read three books. I’ve made more progress on A Memory of Light and just started listening to 1984, so January reading is off to a good start.
  3. Exercise at least three times a week. I’m not going to jump ahead of myself. I have a decent routine down, and I need to figure out how to build on it. That could include incorporating a longer yoga session or two into my week, but I’ll see how it develops. I also got a double-end bag for Christmas, which provides a great way to get some cardio and shoulder/triceps workout in. I just need to clean out my garage and install it. We’ll see how that goes.

Steve D

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