You’ve Got To Have a Plan (I guess…)

New Year, New Me?

As most people do, when 2015 started winding down and the New Year began rearing its ugly (or welcome, depending on your outlook) head, I started ticking off the ways in which it would be a better year than last. 

  • I’ll eat better!
  • I’ll work out more!
  • I’ll watch less TV and be more productive!
  • I’ll stop procrastinating!
  • I’ll stop complaining!
  • I’ll completely overhaul my life and be the picture perfect combination of productivity, positivity and happiness.

And of course, don’t forget the ever-present, constantly repeating, as though set to a record with a deep scratch and bouncing needle,  “I will write more.”

That one always looked something like, “I will get up an hour earlier, write 1,000 words every day, plot my novel before I start it, prepare character outlines and finish my novel before the end of the year.”

Yea, uh huh.

I’ve made these claims in the past. All of them. And I make the writing one probably every damn day (as I am sure most writers out there do). And, in the last year, I’ve made solid attempts. I started the 500 words a day writing challenge started by Jeff Goins. I participated in NanoWriMo. I am part of a writing group. But, like I said in my last post, I am definitely not acting like a writer. By all accounts, it should not be hard for me to write. A lot. It should not be hard to get into a routine and stick with it.

Except for the fact that IT IS.

Too Big, Too Fast

And it’s hard because of the way I approach it. I do the same thing many of us do; I make big, BIG plans and set myself up for failure.

I get frustrated when, in the second week, I don’t meet my 1,000-word daily goal, feel as though I’ve fallen behind, and give up.

And now, here we are, just a bit into 2016, and the record is broken again. But, this year, I have a plan. This year, I have a lot of people around me who know how to be productive and who have given me the tools I need to actually do what I say I’m going to do.

I know how weak that sounds. “This year will be different,” said every person that signed up for a gym membership on January 1st and quit by February. “This is THE year!”

But, at least one of the times you say it has to be true, right?

So, why will it be different for me? Well, I can’t say for certain it will but I know one of the most important aspects of making a change is a positive attitude. So, instead of wondering if I can do it, I am stating, I can do it. I can make changes. I can make strides towards becoming the person and the writer I want to be. And I will. Even if they are baby steps, or baby strides taken with trepidation, I will take them.  

“If you want your life to be different, you have to be willing to do something different first!”- Kevin Bracy

So, what’s the first thing you do when you are trying to do something you’ve never been able to accomplish before? Do something different than you’ve ever done before.

The Plan (Sort of)

I’m typically a panster. I just write. I don’t think about plot. I write what wants to come out and worry about what it will turn into later. I don’t really plan. So, this year, I’m planning.

First, I bought books. Lots of books. I found a store called Half Price Books and went a little crazy. I bought so many books on writing that you’d think I was a college kid taking my first Creative Writing class. I’m not. But, I’m trying something new. I used to think that if you were a writer, you just wrote. You used your God-given talent and just plowed through the writing process until you produced publish-worthy content. Clearly, that isn’t working for me.

So, reading more is part of my plan. But, not just more but also what I’ve been reading (I typically stick with fiction throw in a writing book here and there). Now, I’m expanding my horizons.

I am currently reading:

  • Write. 10 Days to Overcome Writer’s Block. Period. (I like the sound of this!)
  • Gone With the Wind (And I am absolutely loving it and finding a new interest in the Civil War)
  • The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) (I am determined to become more of a morning person!)

I know, that seems like a lot. And I’ve never been a read more than one book at a time kind of person. But, they are all different. They all have different purposes and effect me differently. I’m also taking notes on them, which is something I’ve never done before.

I also have lists. I have lists of things I want to accomplish every day. Small things. I want to take steps in the right direction, not completely overhaul my life. I don’t want to set myself up for failure. As I get in the habit of achieving these things every day, I’ll expand my efforts, add more tasks and get braver.

I am attempting the writing challenge again. The one I failed last time. Yes, I said it. I failed it. Even though I seemed super confident I would get through it. But, that’s ok. That’s something else I’ve never been good at; going back to something and trying again. I’ve been known to give things up. So, I’ll try again. And maybe this time will be different. But, maybe I’ll fail again. But hey, I already have 500 more words than I would have had I not started again. Oh wait, 800 and counting! Boom.

So, it may not be a step-by-step plan, but it’s a plan nonetheless.

Let’s Review:

In order write more and achieve more in the next year, I will:

  • Have a positive attitude
  • Do things differently
  • Read more (get interactive, take notes and read different types of books)
  • Accomplish a small set of tasks everyday
  • Write 500 words every day for 31 days (and hopefully beyond)

I know, it’s not super specific. I’m still a panster at heart, but it’s more than I’ve given myself in past years. So, we’ll see. Who knows what will happen, but I have a feeling I’m on the right track.

So, what’s one thing you are doing differently this year as you attempt to meet your goals? Leave it in the comments or find me online and tell me! Facebook

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