January Updates and Goals for the New Year

+J.M.J.+

Hey guys! I haven’t been the best about keeping up with my goal of posting twice a month, but I’m hoping with the fresh energy from the new year (and a bit of good old fashioned stubbornness) I can get the ball rolling again. Here’s a quick update from the winter holidays, goals for January, and my goals for the new year in general!

LIFE UPDATES

The holidays were SO fun this year! We had a smiley, giggly 3-month-old to show off to our friends and relatives. He loves the Christmas lights and really enjoyed interacting with so many different people, but he seems glad to be home and resting now. Let me tell you, I am , too!
We’re trying to work toward getting him on a good napping schedule, because for a couple weeks there, daytime naps were a definite struggle. He seems to be doing a lot better today— let’s hope it’s not a fluke! I wrap his legs and torso in a small velcro swaddle, and that seems to help, along with just making sure he’s changed, fed, and good and tired when I lay him down.
The plus-side to him taking better naps is that he’s better rested, which means a happier, more content baby. And a content baby means more stuff gets done around the house and with my writing!
We also had my sister up for the week after Christmas, which was a lot of fun! She loved playing with the baby, and we even had a sister day and went for coffee and craft shopping.
I’m so glad all our holiday travel went well, especially since it was our first time driving so much with a small baby. It helps that the car soothes him. But we’re both ready to be home and back into a regular routine for a while!

WRITING UPDATES
December started out good with writing 100 words each day, but it didn’t take too long for me to fall off the bandwagon. The holidays have a tendency of derailing literally everything productive about my life. Still, the end of the month provided a good time for reflection, goal-setting, and gathering up my energy and willpower to make the start of 2018 a good one.

This month so far, I’ve managed to write over my 100-word goal each day, even if only by a few words. I’m part of a group called 365 Writing Club, which has a spreadsheet you can enter your word count goals into. If you do well on meeting your goals and staying consistent, you get rewarded with virtual badges. And the other members of the group are so supportive. I’m hoping to not fall off the updating bandwagon this year and be more involved with that group.

Most of my word count is going toward the second book in my epic fantasy series The Mending, which is called “Sun of Truth.” I’m really excited about the outline after coming back to it for the first time in almost a year. So I’m literally just picking whatever scene I feel like writing each day and working on that. I do try to finish a scene once I start it. I also tend to go in chronological order, so hopefully it won’t need too much cleaning up once it’s time to edit.

JANUARY GOALS

Work up to writing 100 words a day strictly on “Sun.”
While anything counts right now toward my 100 words per day quota, I’d like to spend those words on “Sun of Truth” as much as possible. 100 words per day of drafting takes like, maybe, 10 minutes if I just sit down and do it. There’s no reason I can’t commit to a couple paragraphs each day, plus whatever other writing—like journaling and blogging—that may need doing.
Devote more time to writing, and less time to distractions
I’ve noticed a lot of time freeing itself up when I just stick to my guns, look at what’s in my planner, and spend all my energy trying to do those things. It’s not a hard concept in theory. It’s just that Yahtzee with friends and watching Plan with Me videos on YouTube are so much more appealing than sitting and writing out my thoughts on where my books are going or thinking about my marketing strategy. Still, those things are part of achieving my dream of quitting transcription entirely and just writing to make my small part of the bacon.

Do stuff that matters with my time.
I’ve been caught in this really unproductive pattern of time wasting. Sure, when my baby was born, I needed to just rest for a few weeks and not worry about anything other than learning how to be a mom. But now that we’re falling into more of a pattern, I really need to refocus and remember where I was going with all of my writing plans.

NEW YEAR GOALS

Have a book ready for publication by the end of the year.
I say “have a book ready” because in all likelihood, we probably won’t have the funds to publish by the end of this year. I will be starting a sinking fund for this purpose. But with the prospect of moving and an ever-increasing budget for our little one, getting a book edited, polished, and ready to go is about all I can reasonably expect to be able to do this year.
Write 100 words EVERY DAY in 2018.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I’m trying to build the habit of writing every day, and if I only have to commit to this small amount, the hope is that I’ll start writing more and more.
Keep up with beta reading
I keep taking on beta reading tasks and then never finishing them. Instead of wasting time, I can pull out my Kindle when I have a bit of free time and finish my ever-growing TBR pile.
Cut out distractions ruthlessly
This one is gonna be hard, cause let’s face it, some of those distractions are things we cherish. For me, it’s getting caught up in watching videos on YouTube or playing games on my phone. While I will allow myself YouTube binges every once in a while, I think in the course of an ordinary work day, I shouldn’t allow myself any wiggle room to become distracted. When I sit down to feed my baby, if I feel the urge to give in to those distractions, my plan is to grab my Kindle instead. At least then I can get caught up on reading.

Ready for the New Year

As 2018 begins, I’m starting off on the right foot, and I’m pretty optimistic about what the year will hold. Life is unpredictable, though, so I’m allowing myself a lot of grace. I can’t make excuses for just any little thing, but if and when life happens, I’m not going to beat myself up. I’m just going to pick myself up and keep going at the earliest opportunity.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you next time!

What are your 2018 goals for your writing? How will life impact those goals? How do you plan to meet the challenges ahead? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat!

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