Author Journey (January 30, 2023)
Last week, my new weekly goal-setting routine was given its first real-life test. I knew it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing forever. So, how did it hold up against the snow and family life?
Author Journey (January 30, 2023)
Can you believe we’re already through the first month of 2023? There just never seems to be enough time, which is one of the reasons I keep a schedule, tracking what I’ve done and what I have to do. Unfortunately, the long-term goals were taking over my day-to-day routine. I’d be working on things six months before I needed to… sometimes longer. So, I started setting weekly goals and it’s helped me balance my projects. However, this week it came up against some obstacles.
The Weekly Recap!
That’s right. This week I had some time pressures that limited the amount of time I had available. There was a snow day, which meant the kids stayed home. I took the day off as well as it would have been too stressful. Unfortunately, if I take time off from the day job my work doesn’t get picked up by anyone else. It just sits there waiting for me to come back. Then, one of my kids developed a fever and had to stay home. He’s doing fine now, but that was two days wiped from the routine.
So, how did I do? Pretty well, actually. I read two manga volumes on each of the first two days. Each one was a volume one from a series. Two of them I loved and two I was kind of indifferent about. Ironically, one of the ones I loved I had bought on a whim. Basically, I liked the look of the cover and that was enough for me to grab the two available volumes.
On Wednesday, I jumped back into the anime series I had started the previous week and finished it. I’m not going to say what the series was, but I have also reviewed the manga and will be publishing the posts concurrently. Those will be going live in April. I also wrote up the season review, which was something I was factoring in with my Posts Scheduled goal. Then, over the remaining nights, I finished off another series, although I haven’t completed a season review for that one yet. I’ll get to that this week. So, I completed my anime goal, which also helped me complete the posts goal. Pretty good so far!
|Anime Watched||9 Episodes||9 Episodes|
|Manga Read||4 Books||4 Books|
|Posts Scheduled||15 Posts||15 Posts|
|Chapters Written||1 Book Outline||1 Book Outline|
|Artwork Completed||1 Sketch||0 Sketches|
For the two remaining goals, I managed to get a bit of work done but wasn’t able to complete both. I did go through the first four novellas of my series and have pulled them together into an outline for book one. Doing this has really invigorated the series in my mind and I am thinking about it almost all of the time, which is a great sign. When I was initially writing it, I wrote twenty-six novellas and was planning another twenty-six. Now that I’m restructuring the series, these novellas will form the arcs that make up the story. That’s right, I have twenty-six arcs already fleshed out. There’s a lot of work to do, but I’m pretty excited to get on with it. Sadly, it was my artwork that went unfinished this week. I did gather some more reference material for the cover design, but I just ran out of time.
Aspirations for the Week!
One thing I want to make sure of is that I don’t run out of steam with my series. As such, I’m going to do some long-distance outlining. When I first started writing the series, I would outline the next four volumes as I was writing the current four. I had a couple of big ideas that I needed to get to but was prepared to see where the story took me. Think of it like planning a long road trip. You should know the starting point and the destination. There might be half a dozen places you want to visit on the way, but you don’t mind how you get there or how long it takes. Each morning you might get up and work out the next stop and make a more detailed plan of how to get there.
I want to produce a large outline like this so that I can drop in some foreshadowing and make the entire story more cohesive. It helps that I have already written two hundred and sixty thousand words towards this story as that no doubt helped me to work out a lot of things in the process. That said, I’m not planning on editing those words again, but instead, I’ll use them as reference material as I do a complete rewrite. It’s going to be epic!
I had a quick look at my plan for quarter two of 2023 and realised that I have a large number of anime posts outstanding. Quarter two is nine weeks away so there’s no need to panic just yet. However, as I don’t have many manga posts outstanding, I may shift things, making anime more of a focus. For now, I’m just going to go for twelve episodes and see how I go.
Goal: 12 Episodes
As I said, I have pretty much got quarter two covered for manga. I have twelve to do before I start work on quarter three, so I’m going to slow things down here and plan on just reading two books. If I have time, I’ll do more, but that’ll only be after everything else is done.
Goal: 2 Books
So, I have a season review to write from last week and I’m planning on watching 12 episodes of anime and reading two books. There is a good chance that those 12 episodes will be from one series so there could be another season review. However, I’m not going to count on it. So, that’ll be 12 anime episodes plus 2 manga books plus one anime season plus one author journey. Sixteen will be the magic number this week.
Goal: 16 Posts
At the moment, I’m rereading all my old drafts and will summarise each of them in a paragraph or two as I put together the full outline. I’ll be quite happy just to get through the next book. Once I get past book 6, things will speed up a little as I won’t have any reading to do and the plan will be fairly sparse at that point.
Goal: 1 Book Outline
So, I really want to get the full sketch done for the cover of RIP Tide. If I can get it to look half as good as the image I see in my head, I’ll be immensely happy. I’d love to get the book edited and ready to release this quarter, which means I have a lot of work to do.
Goal: 1 Cover Sketch
It was another four-out-of-five week in terms of completed tasks, which was great considering I lost two days to real-life family events. The renewed enthusiasm I have for my epic story makes it all worthwhile. It’s constantly on my mind which is why I have a Google doc so I can add notes to it at any time. It feels like a bit of a hybrid of the snowflake method of story planning. By the time I’ve got the full outline, I should have all the details in place to really make it shine. It’ll also make that first draft that much cleaner.
I spent a little time looking at the bigger picture in tandem with my weekly goals and was able to adjust them to suit my needs. This is another great thing about this method. It allows me to reassess constantly and adjust my expectations. I’m also able to celebrate my achievements whereas before I would have just been disappointed that I hadn’t completed a particular task. If I keep going at this rate, I should see some great progress over the coming weeks.
How do you celebrate your achievements? For me, it’s just the knowledge of a completed goal, but I could see rewards becoming an interesting incentive. Anyhow, thanks for reading.
Interesting you should ask about celebrating successes… Do you follow Chris Fox? He just posted a video on YouTube that said something I’d been think about for awhile.
Rewards never helped me. Maybe it’s because of where I am in my career, or my life, or whatever. But I don’t want rewards. I want success. I had not realized it, but in retrospect, it’s clear: putting the focus on writing, enjoying the processes around it, _are_ the rewards. I love plotting as much as building the worlds, which I love as much as actually writing.
I have goals, certainly: if I’m writing, I shoot for a 2,000+- word chapter a day; for proof reading, 5 chapters a day. I try to plot a book in about 2 weeks; I try to build the sets and cast the characters (borrowing the vocabulary from movies) in about 2 weeks. But those things are in and of themselves are amazing.
The writing life? That’s the reward!
But I also agree with you about the goals. Having them helps maintain focus and prevent depression. For me at least, both are critical.
I do follow Chris Fox, but haven’t kept up with his videos of late. I wish he would podcast them and then I’d be able to listen while walking and in the car.
That’s super interesting, especially when I think about how things have gone with the blog. My reward has always been ticking off an action item and marvelling at how much I’d done.
I gues in the context of what I was talking about, it’s the ability to look at my week and realise that I did achieve four out of five things. When I didn’t have a weekly target, I would often come away disappointed that I didn’t do something, regardless of what I did do.
It’s only my third week doing it this way, but so far so good. Hopefully, I’ll be able to look back on this as the thing that helped me get my act together on all fronts.