Have, find, and create fun.
Since around 2011 (I think. I think. Possibly 2010, but I don’t think so), I’ve entered each new year with a definite Writing Goal. This started because I found myself (in 2009? 2010?) reaching the end of the year with having written only around 20k words worth of fiction, and I was horrified. There are way, way too many stories steeping in this head of mine for that to be a viable way of getting them out. I don’t have my tallies in front of me (they haven’t made it over from the old computer to the ‘new’ one). I do know that I started counting my non-fiction writing into my word counts (because for all that I think of myself as a fiction author, spiritual or religious writing is also writing, and non-fiction counts, or at least ought to, and so it does) in 2013, and I do know that since 2011 I haven’t written less than 80k during a year’s span, and I’m not sure I dipped below 100k since 2012.
Some might argue that word counts only count (hehe) on published material, but for me word counts are all about reminding myself that I’m actually doing something, I’m actually making progress, I’m actually working toward my goals.
I entered 2015 being frustrated that most of my writing time went into my Story Subscription. Which isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy that, because I did, I did! Only, I wanted to find a way to become more efficient with my writing, and I wanted to find a way to get more of the stories out of me and onto the page. I wanted to write for the subscription project, and I wanted to write to submit to other paying markets, and I wanted to get some non-fiction out there, and I wanted to get the trilogy completed, at least in rough draft form.
I went into 2015 with ambitious goals that I had no hopes of achieving, and proceeded to fail spectacularly at them. I did complete A Marriage of Land and Sea, and I did publish Igraine’s Flight. I can’t honestly look at 2015 and count it as anything other than a year of success at writerly things, despite the three books I’d wanted to write and didn’t get around to because of things like sleep, and full time plus employment. You know. Minor distractions. Also dealing with some rather immense nerve pain. Weeeee!
Did I learn from my over planning? Maybe. I’m approaching 2016 knowing that a lot of 2015 was going through the motions, not being overly happy about a lot of things, frustrating myself with my breathtaking talent for tying myself into knots and being ruled a bit by ‘should-have-dones’. I’ve managed, a time or two, to make my writing – which I love doing – became a chore, something to be avoided, something that sucks the joy out of the process for me – and I’m hellbent on not doing it this year.
This year, I’m not planning projects out that I’m going to work on to cover the whole year. I’m not going to let myself for disappointment or failure by taking an approach that I know will cause my writing to stutter. I have projects I’m already working on, projects that ignite my passion and over which excitement is building, and thus, momentum to continue forward. Last year, I went into the year wanting to find joy, and you know, I sort of did. I found it. I didn’t do much with it, but I discovered it and came to a better understanding of my relationship with it.
This year, I’m taking it.
So, I don’t have a word count goal this year. I sort of, kind of have a ‘maybe tie up loose ends with various projects’ plan, but even with that it’s, ‘if you feel like it,’ and word count is not a factor.
I want to write. I want to knit. I want to read and study and spend time with my family and nourish connections. So that’s what I’m going to do. That’s my goal. That’s the depth of my plan.
And it’s sort of freeing.