Last year was spectacularly unproductive for me. I started on a roll but the unexpected death of someone close to me left me shattered and barely functioning for the rest of the year. So on New Year’s Eve, I set myself some goals for 2012. I do this pretty half-heartedly every year. After all, nobody ever sticks to their New Year’s Resolutions, right? Only this time I meant it. Really, really meant it.
I had a big goal in mind when I set my resolutions: to finish the current WIP before World Fantasy in November. That meant some serious edits. As of New Year’s Eve, I had a mostly complete first draft. It had issues – some big ones. A flabby middle (which I’ve christened the FM), lack of relationship building between key characters, some subplots were little more than a suggestion. I had two viewpoint characters but most of the manuscript was written from the perspective of one of them. It had been suggested that I needed a third viewpoint character and although I knew exactly what I wanted to do, it was difficult and very unlike anything I’d ever attempted so I had been putting off starting. In short, I had a lot of work to do.
So with the new year, I had a renewed focus. However what bothered me about focusing on edits for the next ten months was that I wouldn’t actually be writing during this time. Although the edits were necessary, it seemed I was facing a year of lots of writing work but few new pages.
So my New Year’s Resolution was deceptively simple: write a page a day. Something. Anything. Even while editing. Regardless of how it happened, I would produce a page a day of new words, be they new scenes in the WIP, blog posts, short stories, whatever. An additional benefit was that I’d be learning to keep two projects in my head at once, which is something I struggle with.
For a 31-day month, one page a day – assuming a standard 250-word page – comes to 7750 words. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? But if I could consistently produce a page a day through 2012, it would give me 365 pages of new writing. I figured it was worth a try.
So four weeks into the new year, here’s how my resolution is panning out…
Week 1: Motivation levels are high. I’ve just had a week off work so I’m feeling somewhat refreshed. I’ve achieved my goal of one page a day every day this week. Word count: 3189 words, almost half of my goal for the month.
Week 2: Motivation is still high although I’m starting to flounder a little. I’ve spend some time this week on a new short story and a couple of blog posts. Not as much time on the WIP as I should have. Word count: 2616.
Week 3: This week has been almost easy. I feel like I’m developing a habit and I’ve worked on the WIP every day instead of letting myself get distracted with writing other things. Word count: 2988.
Week 4: Now it’s getting tough but I’ve not missed a day yet. Work count is 1974 and the week isn’t over yet. I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long and am starting to think that maybe I can actually achieve a page a day for the whole year.
The big lesson I’ve learnt is that I can write every day, which I didn’t think I could do. My usual pattern is four days on then one or two days off, and I’ve never really tried to push past that before. I might be tired and a bit brain dead or, like tonight, ill and having trouble concentrating, but I’ve found I really can do it if I want it bad enough. And I think this is the first time I’ve ever had a New Year’s Resolution that lasted four weeks. Bring on February!
Okay, ‘fess up. What’s happening with your New Year’s Resolutions?