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?