Setting the new parameters

When I feel that I am in a writing slump, I tend to analyse what it is that is getting me down and then formulate a new approach to reinvigorate my routine. Recently I feel that I have been getting nowhere, that I have nothing to show for my efforts and that I might just be wasting my time.

However, when I dug really deep what I discovered was that I am unhappy with my own motivation and progress. I wasn’t where I wanted to be at this stage of the year. At the beginning of 2013 I wanted to apply myself to a set of goals and while I can proudly say I have achieved most of these, even though we’re only half way through the year, I feel I am far behind on one particular one: ‘Preparing NaNo #1 for beta readers’.

Now, I plan to take part in NaNoWriMo again this year – which will rule out November for any other activity. By the time December comes around I am in no doubt I will need a rest, and the build up to Christmas will take up much of my time. Therefore, I’ve realised that my self-imposed deadline for having NaNo #1 edited and ready for beta readers will need to be set at October 31st.

Doing a little mathematics (not my strong suit) based on the number of words to edit remaining in my original draft of NaNo #1 (78,000) in addition to the rough estimate of the words I have written out in long-hand for Cecelia’s Story (12,000) and the amount of weeks left before the end of October I will need to edit approximately 5,000 words each week to finish on time.

Now, that doesn’t appear to be a difficult goal. But I also need to factor in the typing up of Cecelia’s story. According to my (again, possibly inaccurate) workings out, on the basis of editing 5,000 words per week I will reach the section where Cecelia’s Story must be inserted in roughly 4.5 weeks (around the 23rd July). It’s unlikely I will have written it all up by that time, but I can provide a conservative estimate of having it complete by August based on typing up 2,000 words per week.

This should mean that as I am beginning to edit Cecelia’s Story, I will be typing up the last third of it at the same time. At least this will ensure that it gets done: and I am conservatively editing as I type it up, so hopefully this section of editing may take less time than some others.

Therefore, this provides me with a list of new goals for the upcoming weeks:

  • Edit approximately 5,000 words of NaNo #1 

  • Type up around 2,000 words of Cecelia’s Story

  • Spend at least 2hrs free-writing for competitions, groups or magazine entries 

  • Keep writing three blog posts a week

  • Read a minimum of one novel a month

I’m going to use Writertopia to keep up to date with my progress on both my edit for NaNo #1 and the typing up of Cecelia’s Story, to keep me on target and to ensure that I make my milestones.

So the Edit of NaNo #1 is thus far:

While the typing up of Cecelia’s Story currently stands at:

I’ll update weekly, as I tend to do for my To-do lists and see how I get on. I am hopeful that this very focused approach will help me to identify the progress I’m making and also encourage me to feel that I am contributing enough to my writing each week to not feel guilty when I take some time off.

And, to state for the record, my milestones are:

NaNo #1 Edits:

 – 30th June: 24,500 words
– 31st July: 45,000 words
– 31st August: 69,000 words
– 28th September: 89,000 words
– 26th October: COMPLETE

Typing up Cecelia’s Story:

– 30th June: 4,500 words typed
– 31st July: COMPLETE 


10 responses to “Setting the new parameters

  1. Pingback: Brief Soujourn | The struggle to be a writer that writes

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  5. That seems like a hefty goal but you seem very set on your target and if you are able to keep yourself motivated and moving forward you should have no problem with it. You have kinda set yourself up like myself. I give myself fairly strict goals (I set mine on a smaller scale weekly basis, and a larger monthly basis scale) and having everything that I need to do planned out and my work mapped out for me helps keep me pushing forwards. Good luck!

    • I used to have a quote stuck on my wall at Uni, it said:
      “Dream your dreams one size too big so you can grow into them”
      I figure if I don’t aim high, I’ll never know what I’m capable of.
      Hope that you accomplish your own goals too – planning works well in my opinion!
      Thanks for commenting. Take Care, Cat

  6. These are strict targets Cat, especially for someone suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis! Please don’t burn out; it’s better to give NaNo a miss if you’re struggling and finish your other goals in November. We can have our own NaNo in January once the Christmas rush has died down. Pace yourself hun! xx

    • I’m so glad (and lucky) to have you looking out for me. You’re right – they are quite strict, but I figure I have nothing to lose. I promise to stay sensible and I do see my deadlines as being moveable if required.

      I think I just need something to aim for at the moment, otherwise I’m going to feel disappointed with myself. I am struggling with the ME tho, so I should definitely prioritise my health.

      As for NaNo – I really want to do it as I love it so much! Hopefully we can be buddies again and you can champion me to take it steady as you did last year. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting – I appreciate the support. x

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