Somehow or other it appears we’ve arrived at the end of February. The past two months have vanished in a blur of work, personal writing projects, and turmoil on both a personal scale and a global one. Soon enough it will be spring.
And I have accomplished exactly one of the goals I set for myself.
Now, there are two things I can do from here. I can keep the list of goals I created in December and up the number of hours I’m working each week in an attempt to meet those goals, or I can shift gears now and make my goals more achievable.
At this point of the year, most people go for the first option. After all, it’s only February. Nobody wants to admit that they’ve already given up on their goals for the year. They would rather repeatedly bash their heads against a metaphorical wall than admit that they were wrong about how much they can accomplish–even if they know that humans have a natural tendency to overestimate our own intelligence. Other humans have it, sure, but we don’t want to admit that we’re flawed too.
Personally, I would rather admit my mistakes right away, so I can change my goals now and maybe have something different to tell you come May first. So it’s time to ask a big question:
Why didn’t I accomplish my goals for January and February?
The answer to this question is both simple and complicated. I can sum it all up by saying I overestimated what I would be able to do in the past two months, but I want to show you how to re-evaluate your own writing goals, so let’s take a look at each goal individually(remembering that these are my quarterly goals):
- Submit at least one short story — This is the one I actually did accomplish. One short story is out with a magazine, another is with beta readers, and I’ve just finished writing a third.
- Finish The First Dragon Rider — I started the first draft of this novel at the end of 2016, and as of this morning I’ve only added about a thousand words to this manuscript.
- Edit MG — MG stands for Moonshadow’s Guardian, a fantasy novel that’s been through about ten million drafts. I already know exactly what I want to do for this edit, but I haven’t even looked at this book since last summer.
- Add subplots to MG2 — Last year I wrote a sequel to Moonshadow’s Guardian. Right now it’s the most bare bones manuscript I’ve ever written, and it needs around 20,000 words of subplot.
As you can see, not only have I failed to meet any of my goals so far, I haven’t even made much progress on most of them. But why?
For once I actually didn’t overestimate the amount of work I could accomplish, I underestimated how much time other obligations would take out of my schedule. Specifically, I assumed I could plough through edits of Keeper of the Dawn(coming out this spring!) in a week or two. Well, it took about a month, and required WAY more energy than expected. Being the only book I’ve written that isn’t part of a series, Keeper of the Dawn has the least developed world, and I’ve had to figure out many little details. My book is stronger and I’m a better writer for the experience, but it’s been exhausting and I haven’t wanted to do much else.
I also underestimated how much the current political climate would affect my mental health. I knew it meant more worrying about my American friends, but I had no idea how much of a toll that would take on me–or how much I would need to worry. The onslaught of unpleasant news hasn’t made me suicidal, but it has leeched out most of my motivation. Everything I do seems a lot more difficult than it did a few months ago.
Finally, I must admit that my new series has filled my head completely. The real reason I haven’t even looked at either Moonshadow’s Guardian novel is that I’ve been busy working on the world of The Road to War. I built this world a decade ago for a very different book, one I abandoned for most of those years. In November I had a breakthrough that brought me back to this world and spawned a series. The series grows every time I look at it. Two of the three short stories I’ve written this year are set in this world. I suspect the series will be well over ten books long by the time I’m done.
So what am I going to do about it?
First I have to assess my situation going forward. Keeper of the Dawn is in its final edit. This edit should actually be done in under two weeks, giving me more time and energy going forward. I should be working more in the next couple of months, but that means less time hunting for clients so it should all even out. For the rest of 2017, my biggest concern will be maintaining the energy to work on my goals every single day.
With that in mind, here are my altered goals for the next quarter:
March — June Goals
- Finish editing Keeper of the Dawn and send it back to my publisher
- Write all blog posts for Keeper of the Dawn blog tour
- Finish The Road to War draft one
- Write, edit and submit two short stories
- Edit Fall of the Falhoran (a novella I wrote at the end of 2016) twice
- Begin editing Moonshadow’s Guardian
How much progress have you made on your 2017 goals? Based on what you’ve done, do you think your goals for this year are reasonable? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!