Back in February, the month where many people end up abandoning their New Year’s resolutions, I made a point of reassessing mine.
I did this to examine my progress to date, in order to adjust course as necessary, and better plan for success.
The year now being half over, with the entire summer stretching out before me like an unmarked sheet of paper, now seems like an appropriate time to do another assessment to help inform how I spend my summer.
My resolutions for 2018 include the following:
1) Keep my critique group running efficiently and effectively
Assessment: This resolution continues to progress on track, as it was during February’s assessment.
The group is still providing weekly chapter critiques (even though we’re all skipping on submitting chapters here and there as we work on both pre- and post-feedback rewrites) and still meeting face-to-face whenever everyone has submitted enough chapters to allow for a fulsome discussion of everyone’s books.
2) Complete draft 6 of my WIP using the feedback from my critique group
Assessment: This one is currently in abeyance.
In February, I was working on Chapter 3 and continued going strong all the way to the end of chapter 11 (of 31).
However, at the same time, I hit a snag in draft 5, the draft I’m working on a chapter a week, which is what gets sent to my critique group. Chapters 17 and 18 were ineffective, so I completely rewrote them to resubmit to my group, in the process expanding this section of my second act by an additional five chapters.
All of this I still consider part of draft 5—or maybe that should properly be draft 5.2. Regardless of what I call it, this rewrite has left me no time for draft 6 at the moment.
Solution: This is not a problem in need of fixing per se. I only have one more brand new draft 5.2 chapter to write (Chapter 23), and as soon as I finish, I’ll go straight back to draft 6.
The only real complication is that adding five new chapters to my book has since made the word count about five chapters too long.
I’ve all along had a nagging suspicion that my first act is too long anyway, so now I definitely need to shorten it (hello draft 7).
3) Make a decision about going back to school
Assessment: Back in February, this resolution was holding, pending my acquiring the necessary tools to make the decision—that being the knowledge of whether or not I was accepted into my program of choice.
Turns out this decision has been made for me. I wasn’t accepted.
Notwithstanding, I do still get to mark this resolution as achieved, so there’s that.
4) Devise more of the plot of my next novel, as informed by more research into ancient Greece
Assessment: As in February, I’ve still not done very much with this resolution.
Back then, it was the dull introduction of a book on Greek mythology that was slowing me down. Now it’s my various concurrent drafts of rewrites on my WIP that are leaving me no time for any other writing-related pursuits.
At this point, this resolution is going to have to wait until much later in the year, which was one of the possible solutions I came up with in February. That said, I did make a small bit of progress based on my other possible solutions:
- I got past the mythology book’s boring introduction (without even having to skip it)
- I figured out a better time to read my critique group’s chapter submissions (i.e. not during my own writing and research time)
- I identified a Greek history podcast to listen to (although I haven’t yet started listening)
- I made the decision to consume any media that’s set in (or inspired by) Ancient Greece that I can find to help keep that time period top of mind
5) Achieve better balance in my life between working and not working
Assessment: I’d call this one mostly achieved. I feel like I’ve done almost all that I can realistically do.
I’ve eliminated a lot of unnecessary time commitments. I’ve reduced the amount of online content I subscribe to to reduce my time spent on the computer. I try to complete the bulk of my errands during the week so I can have more free time on the weekends.
But I’ve completely given up on my goal of getting eight hours of sleep a night.
I tried. Back in February, I was going to bed at 10:30pm instead of 11:30. But every morning without fail, I would wake up at 5:30am instead of 6:30.
I’ve since decided that if that hour isn’t going toward more sleep, it’s going to be a productive hour instead, and that seven-ish hours of sleep is all my ungrateful body is going to get.
6) Keep a list of noteworthy things that I accomplish throughout the year
Assessment: I have utterly failed at this one … just like I did the last three times I’ve tried to do it.
I didn’t even make it past March this time (in the past, I’ve at least managed to get as far as July).
I am just truly terrible at marking noteworthy accomplishments in my life, perhaps because my noteworthy events aren’t particularly large at all, nor frequent.
Possible solution: My continual failure at this task suggests my approach to it is all wrong—that I have to find some alternate way of achieving this goal.
Perhaps rather than monthly, I need to do a weekly or daily tally of my successes to make the practice more habitual. I’ve seen that there are journaling apps available, or else I could create some sort of template in my favourite note taking app.
How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?
(Image source #1, #2, and #3)
9 thoughts on “My Mid-Year 2018 Goals Reassessment (New Year’s Resolution Redux #2)”
You are awfully organized – and sticking with it. Good for you. You will get done enormous amounts of stuff, some of it planned.
I received as a present two small blank volumes, and picked the one with the pretty pink cover as my Victory Journal. I stop and record when I finish a scene, or a particular set of difficult writing tasks, do a double fist pump (apparently, the physical action is actually good for you) and yell Yay!, even though I feel silly doing it. Nobody is watching.
You have to – otherwise writing tasks slip into an erratic stream, and you are actually also recording what the heck you were doing. You will thank yourself when you are old. Memory lane needs markers. Go ahead. Live a bit. There is probably research showing that you will stick longer at tasks if they give you a reward, and just reading about your progress in a pretty notebook is positive reinforcement.
Or find a friend and send emails labeled ‘update.’
Sleep, well, there you have me beat all over the place. I’m not regular, hate going to sleep, and need a lot more. Watch your long term health, and take an extra bit when you start to get ragged so you don’t run at a deficit – and enjoy your extra hour.
I need to do something better to keep track of my successes. It’s getting embarrassing the number of times I’ve tried and failed to achieve this. I blame my fairly ascetic, military upbringing. That’s some tough training I’m up against, trying to make space for acknowledgement and reward. The best option for me, I think, is to focus more on building a habit of recording achievements according to some regular interval of time, rather than as they happen, which is usually quite sporadic. In other words, I need to play to my strengths in this, of which discipline is probably my greatest one of all.
What are you going to do when you’re successful? Play it down?
Why would you want to do well if you haven’t trained yourself to handle it? You’ve put massive amounts of work into your writing; I can tell from the posts.
I still have much work to do, but I’m very happy with the results of the work so far (while constantly on the lookout to make sure the standards don’t accidentally drop), because I KNOW what I have.
It took me a long time to get there.
I’m a bit worried about you!
The military is a GROUP effort; writing is most certainly not.
When are you planning on letting your fiction out?
Can anyone in your writing group serve as an accountant, spending a few minutes with you after or before each meeting writing down what you are forced to tell that you’ve done?
Random thoughts from someone who’s read your posts about your process for a while now.
You are kind to worry about me but I assure you it’s not necessary. I’m actually fairly decent about keeping track of writing milestones. I blog about them here, plus I keep an (admittedly not so active anymore) writing journal in Word to note down things like each new 100 pages drafted or each new draft completed. I know my writing it getting better; I’m very tuned into that.
It’s more so my non-writing life achievements that I tend not to acknowledge. Days are busy and time flies by. At the end of the year, I’m often hard-pressed to remember what else I accomplished that wasn’t writing-related (one thing I did celebrate this year is that I got a new job).
I am the person that I am. I can try to fight against that (and continue losing) or I can find a way to use what I’ve got to reach the desired end.
You do pose an interesting question about what I’ll do when successful. I will definitely celebrate publication – that will probably be the grandest party I’ve ever thrown in my life. But the day after, I can easily see myself heading right back to the grind of writing my next book. Discipline and consistency are my constant companions.
As for when I’ll be letting my fiction out, I have a plan for that as well. I’m going to start querying early next year at the latest.
I didn’t celebrate publication – I went right back to finishing the print version.
It’s hard to celebrate unique events: having your first book in your hands isn’t remembered by those who have published many, and isn’t understood by those who don’t have that aspiration.
I’ll have to go look for my journal – which is packed somewhere – to see what I actually did, assuming I recorded it.
Hope you get what you’re looking for.
If I didn’t celebrate properly, I owe myself some ice cream.
I’ve had the opposite problem. Too much time and not enough to do. Yesterday I solved this problem by writing a list of tasks. I achieved several out of 5 tasks which included preparing invoices for my students, singing practice, walking the dogs, and going to the gym. I didn’t manage to do 2 other tasks but will do them today. It’s taken me years to achieve this listicle writing (I have done them many, many times before but I’m not very good at staying on task). Depression and a sense of futility will do that to one!
Sometimes it’s nice to have time and space to just be instead of always rushing around and doing. We often get used to being busy, to the point of feeling like we’re just coasting or taking up space when we’re not. Life shouldn’t be a constant race to the next thing. I think we could all do with a better balance between achieving things and saving them for another day like you did.
*I also looked at my New Years resolutions a month ago and laughed! Not much achieved there, I’m afraid!
The way New Year’s Resolutions are framed inherently sets most people up for failure. All the hoopla goes into setting the resolution but almost none in the formation of a concrete plan for achieving it. This is the first year I’ve done quarterly check-ins like this in hopes of boosting my success rate. The best way to achieve any big goal, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is by degrees, a little bit each day.
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