The start of a great year

I have a confession to make. One of my quirks is that I prefer even numbers to odd numbers so I’m excited for 2018. Not only that, it is the Chinese Year of the Dog, an auspicious year for those of us born in the Year of the Tiger (roar).

I started this year much the way I ended last year, making steady progress toward my writing goals, chipping away at the mountain one flake at a time. Years ago when I got my rear in gear and re-committed myself to trying to achieve my writing goal I focused on the idea of taking it “one day at a time” as the self-help groups say. Writing 70 or 80 thousand words seems like a daunting goal, but writing a few hundred words every day, or for a set time, is doable. If I accumulated a small amount of words day by day before long I would have a pile and then a heap. I made that resolution a few years ago and haven’t wavered.

At the last RWA there was a panel called “Writing a Million Words in a Year.” Wowza! A million words! That’s crazy talk. I went, and quickly realized that if I had done the math ahead of time using the Claire Davon School of Doing Things 24 Hours at a Time that a million words in a year translates to 3,000 words a day. Granted, for someone with a full-time job (raises hand) and other commitments 3,000 words a day can seem like a lot. But isn’t that better than A MILLION WORDS? Write a million words-right now. Yikes! Write 3,000 words-right now. Yeah, I can do that. Repeat again tomorrow.

I’m fortunate in that I’m an early riser and self-motivated and the early AM writing and editing works for me. But there’s no wrong way of going about achieving your goals except not to pursue them. Trust me, I did several years of sitting around thinking about how I was going to get back to writing-tomorrow-before I finally started working toward that goal. There’s endless debate about how to get to where you’re going, but just like driving, there are many roads you can take to reach your end destination. Mine happens to work for me, but 4:30 AM is not for everyone. Others write at night. Others write with friends. Or music. It’s whatever works. I see polls and debates over whether it is “right” to be a pantser or a plotter. The answer is yes. Yes to whatever gets you to where you need to be. I’m a panster of the “I have no idea where this story is going but I’ll know when it gets there.” That often causes, um, the necessity for rewrites. But it also allows me to meet a goal every day without self-doubt or recrimination. The rewrites can come later, but there is something to work with.

I’m excited for this year. Even numbered year, woo hoo! My goal this year is to keep working on myself, in writing, in my day job and in my physical self. There is always work to be done but as long as I am striving toward betterment there is no failure. What about you?

Leave a Comment