Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2016

I hope your 2016 has started off with a bang. I’m all set for an exciting and busy year.

I was planning for this year well before it started. And now that it is here I am well under way. Last year I wasn’t keen to share my goals so early because I knew a lot was going to impact on them as the year went on. But that will happen every year and I’m sure these goals may change and evolve as the year develops. I might even achieve some things sooner and slip something else in.

 

My 2016 goals include:

  • Reading every day (Santa delivered a Kindle, *squee*)
  • Continuing with the Legend of Iski Flare novella series with episodes 2, 3 and 4 planned for release this year
  • The Raven Crown series books 1 and 2 planned for release this year. (Book 3 in 2017)
  • The Mark of Oldra (formerly known as Snow) will be released at the beginning of February
  • The Flow of Ink will continue to blog every week and produce a monthly newsletter. I am changing the posting day to Sunday.
  • Improve my marketing skills to boost readership of my books and blog

There will be some ideas generating for next year, including expansions on some of the larger works I’m putting out this year and a new series that has started bubbling away.

 

So far 2016 is a little scary. I didn’t get nearly as much out as I thought I would last year but I’m working more consistently and with a serious plan in place I have no option but to deliver (I hope).

This year I’m setting myself definitive deadlines for each project. Last year my deadlines were a bit soft and I think it will be easier to work to a set date. This will also make my planning somewhat easier.

I’m continuing to track my time and to review and adjust my plans/goals as required. I have found that very little goes exactly to plan but I think this year it will be close. There are no major moves this year and my work space is all set up. Other than the day job, a daughter, two new kittens, friends, family and housework; all I have is my writing. All going well, I will publish three novels and three novellas this year.

Have you got a plan in place this year? Are you going to meet your writing goals?

The Writing Habit

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My plan for the New Year, even though I have been on holidays, was to write every day. This hasn’t quite happened, partly because I have allowed the holidays to wash over me by sleeping in, sitting up late watching telemovies and quality time with the family. All of which have been important in keeping me sane but not so good for my writing plans.

It is time to revisit the key steps I know work for my writing flow…

 

Set a time

I usually rise at the same time every day to write. It is that quiet time before the rest of the household is awake that I find an easy peace that helps the words to flow. Last year I was waking just before the alarm and so ready to go. I am attempting this year to wake a little earlier to create a little more time. And that may take a little bit of practise.

This hasn’t been working so well yet. I think that is because my brain is in holiday mode. I am back to the day job this week and the extra pressure on my time should help push me out of bed of a morning, and hence to bed earlier of a night so that I am refreshed when I do get up.

 

Routine

It is empowering knowing that I am starting my day with the most important part of my life, my writing.

It is doing this at the same time every day that it becomes habit.

Habit triggers are also useful. I don’t just sit at the computer; I always make a cup of tea first. So I go straight to the kettle and switch on, then to the laptop (usually in the kitchen or study) open lid, read the last few sentences to review where I’m at. Then back to kettle to make tea and when I take my tea to the laptop my mind is already working on the scene and I’m ready to start.

 

Plan

Preparing yourself for a writing session greatly decreases the chance of procrastinating.

It doesn’t have to be a detailed plan if that is not how you write, maybe an outline, a few sentences or even an idea. E.g. if you are part way through a scene you could have a note for the next session stating, “and then she walked back to the river and met Bob which led to her finding out about Jane’s plan.”

I have a plan of what I am going to write during that session. With a laptop I can just close the lid when I’m finished and so when I open it the next morning it is right where I left it. So if I am at the end of a scene – I might have a sentence about the next one, or next idea or where to go next and then I can simply start writing.

Editing would be a little different, having a set working space will greatly help with this. If your work is laid out where you left it, there is no time spent trying to work out what you were doing, all your notes are together, marked manuscript, index cards…whatever you use to edit.

 

These are reasonably simple steps to keep me writing and as I know they work for me I am a little disappointed in myself that I have not been as consistent with my writing sessions so far this year as I would like to have been. But I am sure that a few early mornings, and some quiet lunch time sessions, and I will be back on track for a productive 2015.

It is the sitting down and starting that is the difficulty with writing. The tips above help me to get to the computer and once there the writing is so much easier.

Do you write every day? What are you doing to ensure that continues?

 

How to carry your writing desk with you (and not look like a bag lady)

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I am living with my parents. Not still living with my parents, I have returned home to save, build resilience, etc. while I prepare to build a house. So I am learning to share my space with others, or at least share their space and it isn’t always easy.

My father kindly cleared a desk in his study, which I have piled with considerable amounts of stuff. But I have found that when I take my laptop away, I return to find other (not mine) things on the desk.

To ensure I keep writing I have found a simple way to not get lost in the shared space.

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Not all of it, that would be a bit much, but the key elements.

Most importantly, and it the easiest to carry with me is a flash drive. This my current drafts and scribbles, and some back-up copies of other things.

Then there is the physical stuff:

I have several folders. One of those fantastic pocket containers (pictured) that has different notes, in plastic sleeves inside, including my monthly goal lists, annual goals, notes and ideas (which despite my best efforts end up on various scraps of paper that are then pushed into the file) and short stories.

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Until recently this was all I needed.

The Flow of Ink has grown a bit. I have added a slim folder with all of my “Flow of Ink” stuff – from posts, ideas, plans, outline of ebook.

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And given my current editing time frame for Snow I have another slim folder with my current editing.

This way I have what I need with me at all times. If I have a quiet moment at work, a free lunch break, time between meetings, or two hours during my daughter’s dance class on Saturday mornings; then I have all I need to spend time planning, plotting, editing or writing.

Whether I have five minutes or an hour, I am prepared.

Writing space is very important and I know I can make that space anywhere I need it to be because I have everything with me. If I need quiet I can head to the library, not so quiet, a café, or the corner of my desk, or the lounge room, ballet waiting room…You get the point.

If you haven’t got a space of your own, make it.

What do you always have with you? And what could you carry that you don’t?