Today it’s time for me to be accountable, to share my progress with all of you.
March has certainly been more productive than February was, but I’m not satisfied with my progress on most of my goals, and I’ve realized that I’m severely over committed. Falling behind on your projects is one thing. Staying behind on them is another, and it usually means one of two things: either you’re over committed, or you’re not really dedicated to the goals you claim to have.
I’ve realized that I’m suffering from the former problem and I’m currently working on a plan to address that, which includes some changes here at Dianna’s Writing Den. But that’s a conversation for next week. Today I’m going to show you why I need to kill some of my commitments by sharing my progress–and what progress I’d like to make in April.
Here goes nothing:
Finish editing Moonshadow’s Guardian– I edited about three chapters and added one chapter. It’s slow going right now because there are several scenes that need to be added near the beginning, but I’m making headway and I’ve put in more time on this during March. In April I’d like to edit at least six chapters, but I’m really aiming for ten. This means a bigger time commitment, but frankly, I need to finish this damn thing.
Write 12 Guest Posts– This goal I actually made some progress on, with one guest post published at Girl Seeks Place. I also made plans for a second guest post which I’ll be writing today. Once it goes live I’ll be at three guest posts for the year, so I’m doing pretty well on this one. I’ve got a list of other potential blogs and a few people I need to follow up with. With any luck, I’ll be able to pull ahead this month by getting another two guest posts.
At the beginning of the year, I set several goals for myself. In the last month, I’ve only put serious effort into two of them. One of them is intended for much later in the year–writing a novel during Nanowrimo–but the others have accidentally fallen by the wayside.
This month my main goal is to reorganize my life to make time for the goals I’ve set for myself. Those goals are focused on what will build the foundations for my writing career. Since my time is limited by school and working outside the home, I need to focus on making sure my time at home is spent on activities that will build my career.
In previous years I spent a lot of time making goals, but I didn’t spend much time evaluating how I progressed each month. This year I’ve started analyzing where my time goes more carefully. Now that I’ve figured out the patterns, it’s time to create a concrete plan of action. It’s time to decide what stays, and what goes.
It’s always important to analyze where our time is spent and to make sure the majority of our activities contribute to our long term success and happiness. Next week I’ll be unveiling my plans, knowing that if I fail it will essentially be in front of all of you, hoping that I’ll inspire you to create a similar plan to increase time spent working towards your writing goals.
With any luck, we’ll all be able to say April was a productive month.
How much progress did you make towards your goals in March?
This year my main goal is to build the foundation for a writing career and to help you do the same. With this in mind, I’ve decided to share my progress on the goals I set for this year at the end of each month. I’d love to hear about your own progress in the comments below. Remember, we’re all on this path together. Not only is it important to help each other figure things out, but it’s important to celebrate our successes as a community.
I’m going to start by addressing each of my goals in order.
Finish Editing Moonshadow’s Guardian– I kind of hit a snag with this where I thought I’d printed the whole thing, but when I reached the end of my printed manuscript, it wasn’t the end of the book. So I got frustrated and worked on other stuff for a while, but now I’ve printed the rest of it and started working at it again.
Write Twelve Guest Posts– I have a whole bunch of ideas, a list of blogs to pitch, and a first draft for one of these blogs. I’ll be editing and submitting my first guest post next week, and with any luck you’ll be hearing about its publication soon.
Query 12 Articles– I’ve been having a lot of trouble developing specific article ideas to the point where I’m comfortable querying them, so I’m already behind. But I’m going to work hard to catch up over the next week or so.
Launch 10 Commandments– I’ve typed this whole thing up now, so all I need to do is lengthen it a bit and then add some writing exercises and it’ll be finished. It’ll still be a bit before it’s formatted and ready for sale, but I’m proud of my progress on this.
Create Dear Diary Workbook– I haven’t really started working on this yet, but I have a pretty good idea of what I want it to look like.
Edit Some Secrets Should Never Be Known– Since I’m behind on editing Moonshadow’s Guardian, I haven’t started editing this yet, but I’m hoping to get started early next month.
Write One New Novel– This one’s special for November, so I haven’t started it yet.
Analysis of Progress
I was a little bit less focused this month than I should have been, and I’ve been doing poorly with the planner I decided to try for the year, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished this month. I also did some other work, including editing and submitting a short story that I hadn’t touched in a while.
My main concern in the month ahead is adjusting to the new planner. I’m hoping that I can teach myself to stick with the plan in order to increase my productivity. I’ve never been someone who likes rigid routine, but if I am to succeed in this business, I need to put the hours in and I need some sort of routine. I need to practice staying at my computer even when it’s much more tempting to go somewhere.
Right now spontaneity is the biggest thing standing in my way. My goal is to balance the routine and the spontaneity so that I don’t feel stifled but I get the most work possible done.
What progress have you made on your goals? What is your plan for the month ahead?
Currently I’m sitting at two chapters edited and planning to finish the third one today. These chapters both needed pretty major editing. I’ve changed and cut some backstory in the first chapter I edited, and I added new scenes-part of a new subplot that won’t really be important until the second half-to the second chapter I edited.
There are two main things I’m trying to do with this edit: to create a new subplot so that the main plot of the second book makes more sense, and to make Riana a bit less rude, a bit more compassionate. One of these involves adding a few scenes, and the other involves removing some-and cutting others short.
Creating a new subplot is harder-or at least it feels harder-than making Riana nicer throughout the book. It involves adding new scenes and giving characters that were briefly mentioned in the last draft a slightly bigger role. It also involves editing several scenes to make sure that the facts match. I’m also trying to make it so that the subplot has an effect on the overall tone of the book-to make it feel like there’s still something going on in Moonshadow when this story ends, that there might be another story. That will probably be the hardest part-once they leave Moonshadow, I have to show Riana worrying about the state of politics there, and I have to give her a reason to stay worried.
In most of my previous edits, I’ve spent a lot of time adding things. Adding little details that I forgot, adding scenes which make the story make more sense, sometimes adding tens of thousands of words to my projects. As I’m trying to make Riana nicer, I find that most of the editing I’m doing to make that happen is actually cutting things out. I still want Riana to be a bit mean, a bit ruthless, and definitely at least a little sarcastic. But as I read my last draft, I realized she was so sarcastic a lot of people probably wouldn’t like her. So I’ve been cutting back on her snarkiness-taking out witty one liners and even deleting whole arguments. I’m not trying to make her a saint-I’m just trying to make her a little bit nicer.
And of course the best possible scenario is that I’ll manage to make the new scenes for the subplot show Riana’s compassion. That will be a neat trick because it’s a political subplot and Riana’s not very friendly with politicians that aren’t her king, but if I can find a way to do it, I will.
How is your editing going? Do you find yourself adding more or cutting more when you edit?