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!”