Welcome to the wonderful and amazing world of insecure writers everywhere!
And the start of a new year ;).
Today I wanted to talk about planning...for world domination. Or at least just to keep things on track.
I have a confession, I love calendars. Planners too. It feels good to see my goals mapped out and ready to go. BUT, it also means the goals need to be workable and have a good chance for success. Saying, "I will write ten massive books this year!" is great, but there needs to be a method behind it.
First-- is the goal feasible? If you didn't get out 9 books in 2022, probably not.
Secondly--are there steps in place to make it work? I make an Estimated Word Count for each month in my planners (have two ;)).
It's based on my average word count per hour/day. I actually work in 2 hour blocks, and can hit 2k in two hours (not really 1k an hour, as I re-read the prior day's work in that time too). I do two blocks on each writing day (five days a week)...therefore a week with no other tasks (like editing, etc) can give me 20,000 words.
I use that EWC, subtracting editing days, travel days, etc, and figure out the EWC each month.
Then each quarter. I've found the quarterly system works best for me, so I'm now ONLY planning one quarter at a time. More room for pivots if something veers off course.
Knowing my EWC, allows me to estimate how many projects I can complete in that quarter.
Thirdly--how dedicated are you to this? Not everyone has to be "ALL the words, ALL the time!" Understand your long term goals and your own personality.
Lastly-- make sure you PIVOT. Making huge goals and missing them can be devastating. Unless you have a plan in place to see where you jumped the rails. Tracking your mood, health, other issues next to your word count can help see that.
Aim for the stars, but allow for some bounces.
How do you plan? Goal set?
It's nice to be back-- Happy IWSG Day!
Wow, Marie! You are ambitious! When I was working full time AND writing and publishing, I scheduled practically down to the hour and minute . . . and I got things done. The problem with retirement is TOO much time so there's no ticking clock to push creativity. But then I used to get up every morning at 4:30 am to write before getting kids up and to school and to go to work myself. The less time you have the more precious it becomes. I NEED that bit of desperation back.ReplyDelete
I went full time (with an early, TINY, retirement) in 2021. But I so get you on the having a day job to keep you hopping!Delete
That's why I keep my days off (2 a week) and my working days by task. I need that structure ;).
Thanks for coming by!
Great advice, sprinkled with wisdom. Sounds like a plan for success. Bite size pieces tends to be my approach. :-)ReplyDelete
Anna from elements of emaginette
Thanks! Good luck and thank you for coming by!Delete
Planning – the devil is in the details. And who likes the devil? Right?ReplyDelete
Planning is definitely something every writer needs to do and so few of us make a concerted effort at. I never thought of using an estimated word count before and thanks for the idea. I intend to kidnap it, wrestle it into a usable form for me, and put it to work.
Another part of planning I could really use is setting aside writing time at a specific time. Like so many other writers, I let the needs of the day outweigh the needs of writing. This or that needs to get done. People keep popping up with their needs which they want addressed immediately. Can I get your attention for just a second? This won’t take long. Really. What I need is to start saying no to these intruders. It never takes just a second. It always takes way longer and always leads to some time sucking other thing.
I’ve got my new calendar up and my planner in front of me. Time to set those goals. And more importantly try to stick to them far better than I have.
You can do it!! Block off a chunk of time, and don't answer anything during it (including hubby ;)). Thanks for coming by!Delete
PIVOT! What a great attitude, what a great word. More powerful than flexible, more necessary than plot. BTW, my life motto is "Reach for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars!"ReplyDelete
Thank you! I love your motto! Thanks for coming by!Delete
Marie, what a great post! An estimated word count per month. Hmm. I'll need to consider this. But make your goals believable? That's a great idea. All the luck with your goals in 2023!ReplyDelete
Thank you! Good luck with yours as well and thank you for coming by!Delete
Welcome back! I have a new planner this year that I hope will help me become more productive with writing and other things.ReplyDelete
Thank you! And good luck with your planner and goals :). Thanks for coming by!Delete
Sounds like you've got a great system! At the moment, I can't shoehorn four hours' writing into a day - it's an hour or maybe two, but you do the best with what you've got. PIVOT is a good word to keep in mind!ReplyDelete
You do have to work with what you've got :). Pivot is one of my favs. Thanks for coming by!Delete
Wow! You've got a really great system. I'm super impressed at the 20k EWC! I'm trying to plan more this year, but I've also found when I OVER plan it gives me anxiety, so I have to find a good middle ground. I've made my goals for what I want to do this year and the order of importance of getting them done and that tends to help me. I'm horrible at using planners or calendars. I procrastinate by making them all pretty and then never use them!ReplyDelete
Thank you! It's a fine line between planning and over planning! Thanks for coming by!Delete
Sounds like a system that works for you. That's the important part. Wishing you the best in 2023.ReplyDelete
Wow! You really have a good grasp not only on planning, but the building blocks behind the plans that can make or break the success of them. The way I plan will differ, depending on the goal. For my triathlon training, a spreadsheet is a must, complete with goals and a trendline. For my writing, I don't like to be that hardlined. Whereas for racing, I need to hit specific goals on a certain day or risk either pulling out of a race or getting injured, my writing has a bit more flexibility to the timing. I find it much less stressful to write with a general goal ( one scene per day) than create a demanding timeline. Happy New Year! And good luck with your goals for 2023!ReplyDelete
Thank you! Excellent points on different goals for different things, and making them work. Good luck with your goals, Happy New Year, and thank you for coming by!Delete
Hey Marie! I was happily surprised to see this post on Goodreads -- I've missed you! I love talking about planning and figuring out goals. :-D I'm going to start teaching my class again in late January, Going the Distance: Time and Project Management for Writers. So much fun getting things planned out in a way that works for you. :-D Congrats on all the books you've put out since we last saw each other! Happy New Year!! :-DReplyDelete
KITTY!! So great of you to come by :). Goals and plans are fun to figure out (I even created a quarterly planner to help me when I couldn't find something that worked ;)).Delete
It's all so individual, but exciting!
Good luck on your next class, thank you for the well wishes (up to 22 novels and 3 novellas now ;)). Happy New Year and thanks for coming by!
Wow, that's a level of planning, organization, and consistency that kind of boggles my random, disorganized mind!ReplyDelete
LOL! Thank you! I'm very much a pantser writer, but I found that when I went full time I really needed a plan. Lazy is sort of my default setting ;). Thanks for coming by!Delete
That's some detailed planning, although I am still stuck at two thousand words in two hours. It would take me five to six hours to hit that number!ReplyDelete
Thank you! But I didn't say they were good words ;). LOL! Thank you so much for coming by!Delete
It is difficult to miss goals. I set a goal to publish at least once a year. Where did I go wrong? Way too many funerals and life challenges thanks to a world-wide ... well, you know.ReplyDelete
Loving your website!
"Without having a goal, it's difficult to score." Paul Arden
I hope 2023 will become everything you need it to be.
J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Reference& Speculative Fiction Author, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, and Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge
I am so sorry for your losses. Thank you for coming by and I hope for a wonderful 2023 for you!Delete
Welcome back! I do annual goals, but also quarterly goals which are much more refined and specific and I do weekly check-ins on those. I also LOVE planners! Happy to have met you and look forward to all you accomplish in 2023!ReplyDelete
Thank you!! Good luck with your planning and your year :). Thank you for coming by!Delete