Ch-ch-ch-changes …

Those of you who follow this blog regularly know I’m a member of  awesome Life List Club, a group of bloggers who are working together towards our writing and other life goals, and supporting each other in the process.

At the beginning of the venture back in the summer, I posted my Life List here at Hawleyville.

One of the things many of us have learned along the way is that when you set ambitious goals, you’ve gotta take time to sit back and evaluate how you are doing. I’ve done that a few times over the last couple of months, and something has become powerfully clear.

My biggest and most precious goal is to complete a first draft of my novel, The Naked Man-Whore Chronicles (working title), within a year. In other words, from July 2011-July 2012.

This is also the goal at which I have been sucking mightily.

Oh, I started off packing a powerful punch. In July and August, I was rocking and rolling on the book. My progress in September and October has been, shall we say … not quite as good.

Oh, who am I kidding? It has been frickin’ abysmal.

The thing is, I can’t kick myself and say “you haven’t been writing, fool!” Because I’ve been writing my arse off. The problem is that I, like so many of us, have very limited time to write each day. Between the job I have to keep and the fitness goals on my life list that I WANT to keep, there aren’t many hours left over. And dang it, no matter how hard I try not to, I need to sleep now and then.

My other problem is that just like most human beings, I’m a sucker for instant gratification. It feels GOOD to finish something. So what I’ve been doing hasn’t been NOT writing. It has been taking my limited writing time and using it for short stories and blogging, and then whining that there’s nothing left over for the novel.

When you find yourself living beyond your means, you have to do one of two things. Either you get a second job to bring in more money, or you cut back on your spending to live within your budget.

When you find yourself not achieving what you want with your writing time, you either have to cut back on some of what you’re writing or find more time.

I just looked under the couch and the bed. There was no more time there. There was also no winning lotto ticket that would let me quit the day job. Sigh.

That means I have to reconfigure how I use the time I do have.

As a first step, I’ve reworked my Life List.

In addition to setting goals of being in the gym 4-5 times per week and starting and completing a novel this year, I also had the following goals:

– Blog at least 3 times per week, shooting for 4 to 5. More on this one below.

– Completing at least 5 new short stories. I’ve cut that back to 2, one of which is has already been completed and (woot – happy dance – accepted for publication).  

– Reading a novel and several short stories per month. I’m changing that to “always be reading something, and do it at least a few minutes a day.” I need some breathing room.

Okay, so back to the blogging part. I spend most of my writing time on this blog, because I love it, I get instant feedback, and it helps me connect to the writing community.

That is all awesome. But it isn’t helping me get the book written.

So, starting this month, there will be some changes here at Hawleyville. I’m going for quality rather than quantity, and structure rather than pouring out whatever comes to mind. The new format here at Hawleyville will be as follows:

– I’ll post twice per week, on Tuesdays and Fridays.

– Tuesdays will be a series of theme-based posts. The theme will change each month. My Haunted Hawleyville October Mondays went over really well here, and I had a ton of fun writing them. So “Tuesday Talks and Tales” will be along similar lines. I plan to keep it fresh but let people know what to expect each month.

November’s Tuesday theme will be “Finding Thankfulness.”

– Every other Friday will be Life List Club guest posts. And of course, in addition to hosting a fellow Life Lister here on those Fridays my own post will be out there on another member’s blog. Non Life-List Fridays will be randomosity – a chance to update on my writing ventures, share news of interesting publications or writer’s resources I’ve discovered, or just rant or laugh about life in general.

My blog has gotten me off to a great running start. But now I need to run faster, and through no fault of its own it is weighing me down a bit. I’ve made it hard to carry with my own blogging goals and my habit of using it to enable myself to say “I wrote today” without actually touching my WIPs.

So I’m doing a little shining and polishing, cutting and snipping, and re-inventing both the blog’s format and my writing goals. I’m making room for my Man-Whore. He’s a pretty big dude, and needs a lot of time and attention.

I hope you’ll like what’s coming. I’ll see you Friday for our next Life List Round Robin, and then I hope you’ll come back next week for my first “Tuesday Talks and Tales!”

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About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Creativity, Goal-Setting, The Life List Club, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Ch-ch-ch-changes …

  1. It is a great idea to reevaluate our goals and make changes and adjustments accordingly. I too need some of those. I believe that you can achieve your dreams in time. We need to make one small step one day at a time. Goodluck and wishing you sweet success and happiness!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thank you IT! Yes, when we want to do so much it is sometimes hard to remember that we have to keep our most important priorities in the forefront! I love working on all types of writing, but novels need lots of love and attention and I’m glad I’m realizing I have to give more to mine if I want to reach my goal of finishing a first draft by July 2012 : ).

  2. l'empress says:

    I like your “schedule.” There’s nothing to keep you from writing notes for Tuesday or Friday on other days; no one knows but you.
    I hope you publish a novel someday, so I can say “I knew her when…” But you have a real talent for short stories, and I’m glad you won’t ignore it.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Oh, I’m constantly making notes about blog ideas and story ideas and so on and so on. A lot of times I actually write my posts on the weekends when I’m less distracted and moving along at a more leisurely pace. I really discovered a love of writing short stories in the last year – I hadn’t done much in that venue before that, but it is now something I enjoy to much to ever leave behind : ).

  3. Stacy Green says:

    Good for you on reevaluating your goals and making the necessary changes. Blogging can be a double-edged sword, and it’s really easy to lose writing time. I think your new schedule sounds perfect. Good luck!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Thanks Stacy! I so agree about blogging being a double-edged sword. It is soooo tempting to spend most of my writing time on pieces for the place I know I can publish them immediately rather than play the wait-and-hope game that has to be played with my fiction : ).

  4. It’s so hard to find time for everything. If you don’t prioritize you end up spinning your wheels. You’re blog reminded me that I need to reevaluate how I’m spending my time.

    • hawleywood40 says:

      “Spinning your wheels” is exactly it, Diana! I think re-evaluation is a good thing and something we all need now and then, even if it is just to be able to say “yep, I’m on the right track.”

  5. You’re wise to recognize the changes needed and make them. Keep plugging.

  6. Catie Rhodes says:

    Pam you have my full support on your new plan. I totally understand having to “fix” your blogging priorities. If all you’re doing is blogging, well, you’re not writing fiction. If your goal is to become a paid blogger, you might be moving toward that. But if your goal is to get some fiction written, well, it’s time for a change. And having read some of your fiction, I really think you have a great voice. I’d hate to see you quit writing it. 😀

    • hawleywood40 says:

      That’s it exactly, Catie! I know you did something similar not long ago, and that was one of things that got me thinking about how I spend my own writing time. So thank you, and thanks for your support : )!

  7. You’re an inspiration! Once I get my life story up to the point where my book will end, I’m going to pare down my blogging to just a few times per week. I have to get my story out because it is the bones of my book. Then I have to back off on this blog and flesh out my book.

    I, too, love the instant gratification that blogging brings, and I’ve learned a thing or three about how to change some things in my book from comments that bloggers have made. So this has been valuable beyond belief. But it’s ALL that I do.

    Your post inspired me to change some things over at my blog in hopefully a month. THANKS!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      Lorna, I can definitely see how your posts are actually pulling your book together, and how they are not only helping you move in that direction but also generating interest in your eventual book (I know they’ve sparked mine!). I love blogging and will never, ever give it up altogether, I just have to not let it “take over” my writing world. It kind of reminds me of a few months ago when I realized I needed to sacrifice some writing time for fitness even though I’d almost always rather be writing than in the gym : ).

  8. Patti Kuche says:

    Pam, sounds to me as though you Man-Whore is making big demands! You look after him and he will take care of you. I don’t want to say “best of luck” – it’s too easy and rather shrinks all the hard work and effort involved in achieving your goals. We can all blog away to our heart’s content, or discontent, but the stories for which no blog will ever be big enough? See you when we see you and thank you!

  9. Jess Witkins says:

    I so get this. I understand, I’m battling this same decision right now, and I’m proud of you for being such a voice of reason in the Life List Club and an inspiration to many of us. You put forth great well-thought out and well written blog posts consistently, and I know that takes up time. I’m so with you regarding your guest post at my place tomorrow – survival kit is in preparation. I think for now, this is a smart decision for you. You know I empathize with the long hours at the day job and feelings of exhaustion that follows. I hope this change gives you the time you were hunting for to really make progress on that book of yours, because someday, I want a signed copy. If I notice you getting frazzled, I’m going to whisper across the blogosphere and say: kindle, camera, notebook and pets. That and…if you want to add my motto from last Xmas season…”Take the bottle, the bloggers can’t see you!” 😉

    Cheers, friend!

    • hawleywood40 says:

      I love that motto, Jess! And thank you for those whispers when they come, because my survival kit keeps me from turning to the pub and then wasting precious writing hours on sleeping off too much fun : )! Let me know what you put in your kit, and I will do the same for you! Happy Friday!

  10. akamonsoon says:

    Well good for your for recognizing that you needed to change something in order to get what you want. I love how you have it all planned out and look forward to hearing about your progress.

    (I could probably take a lesson because I’m seriously lacking in the blog department these days). 😉

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