How are you going to end the year?

Can you believe it’s already September? If I hadn’t filled my day planner every month this year I might not be able to believe it myself. It’s been a pretty crazy year, both on a personal level and a global level, and while some of the days have dragged on seemingly forever, the months have flown by.

As we enter the last four months of the year and students return to school, it’s important to assess what we’ve accomplished this year and decide how to move forward.

Last week I talked about creating a schedule to move your writing career forward.

Today I want you to make a big commitment to your writing career. I want to see you making progress by leaps and bounds instead of baby steps in these last few months of 2014.

How much can you accomplish in four months?

Everybody’s different. For some people, four months is about how long it takes to write the first draft of a novel. Other people can crank out four novels in half that time. Rewrites often take longer than first drafts, but line editing can be done quickly with focus.

Personally, I’ve got a novella to finish editing and four novels that I’d like to plan and write first drafts for this November. It’s a tall order, but I always write at a breakneck–or maybe I should say “breakwrist”–pace during Nanowrimo and this will be my tenth year, so I feel like it’s worth it. In the interest of writing first drafts that don’t make the eyes bleed, I’ve already started planning and will be spending far more time on that than I usually do.

Of course, I also have this blog to run, a handful of fiction I’ve agreed to critique, books to promote and articles to write for freelance clients.

If you take a look at what you’ve accomplished in each four month section of this year, you’ll get a good approximation of how much can be accomplished by the year’s end.

You can divide your goals into monthly goals–say, finish edits in September, plan a novel in October, write the first draft in November–or you can write a list of what you want to accomplish this year and put it in numbered order. Either way, make sure you have everything you really want to get done on the list and that your list is prioritized. Life can and will get in the way and the idea here is to make sure you get through your most important projects anyway.

Now get to work.

Creating a list of goals is great, but if you don’t make the time to meet them it will be a waste of paper. Find the time or make the time and get shit done. After all, when you’re on your deathbed you want to be remembering a life well lived, not a thousand opportunities missed.

What are your goals for the rest of the year? How do you plan to achieve them?

4 thoughts on “How are you going to end the year?

  • I just shuffled things around so I have a writer website with no blog and now an author website with a blog that I’m starting from scratch. I lost a good paying job back in April so it kicked me in gear to get my freelance writing and proofreading biz going. I plan to do NaNoWriMo and have a novel idea in mind, but I have been reading an outlining book hoping that will help me with the plot. I do need to create a list of goals and maybe I’ll put them in my blog so I can be held accountable. That’s always a good thing!

    • dlgunn

      Hi Michele,

      Sounds like you’ve been busy! It’s funny how losing a high paying client–or a medium paying one with lots of work–can kick your butt into gear when it comes to building a sustainable business.

      Good luck with Nanowrimo! I’ll be creating what I hope will be the ultimate Nano resource guide this October, and it will include quite a few planning exercises. I hope you’ll stick around to see what happens.

      Thanks for stopping by,

    • dlgunn

      Hi Carol,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed it. I think writers–and frankly most people in today’s society–tend to want to do everything all at once. While that’s understandable, we really need to stop actually trying to do everything at once. It doesn’t work out too well usually.

      Thanks for stopping by,

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