This writing thing has all been a bit random. I first gave it a try about 5 years ago, but just dipped in and out of it. I've also recently discovered that I write in the method known as "pantsing". So, I'm suffering not only by having no regular time set aside for writing, the other problem in using the pantsing method is that, when its combined with dipping in and out, you loose the thread of where you're going. Then, pretty much just as you get back into the groove, you have to go to work, or go out, or cook dinner ...
The steps I took in the early part of this year to get a writing habit going were (relatively) easy :
- I joined the 10-Minute Writer's Group on Facebook
- I started this blog
- I took part in the A-Z daily blogging challenge
But these things ran into my getting a new Life Coaching business off the ground and so it was easy to be distracted without structure. That's when I had to accept - if I didn't give writing priority, it'll never get done. So as priority means setting regular time aside, studying my craft ... yup, goal setting.
I hate goal setting because - for me - it has to be done in public, otherwise its so easy to treat them like New Year Resolutions. The last time I set a big public goal, it didn't go according to plan. It did lead me to setting up the Life Coaching business, but I had to get over my initial failure first and that was the hardest thing I've ever done. I still make my new goals public - but in a different way. Now I just quietly talk to people about my plans, then I follow through with them. It feels better, more natural, less attention-seeking, less drama-queeny. I'd made the big noise the first time as I felt it was necessary to avoid my sneaking out of the commitment. This time, I didn't feel in danger of sneaking. That doesn't mean I don't fear failure, rather I know I won't dodge it because of the fear that I might fail.
My goals for the next 12 months are:
1. To produce a workshop for my Life Coaching business which I'll then deliver to engineering doctorate students at an English University.
2. To write - until I can speak with relaxed fluency - my "talk(s)" about life coaching, which I will then deliver to a range of local groups in order to build up my business.
3. To write and post a blog for my coaching site every 2-4 weeks.
4. To write and post a blog for this site every week without fail, with an aim to build up to twice weekly.
5. To practice writing in differing formats - short-story, novella and novel.
6. To give time and thought to deciding what format most suits me.
7. To read the many books on the craft which I already have on my shelf - say one every two months.
8. To seek feedback on one of my WIPs from someone I trust to deliver constructive criticism.
9. To carry out an analysis of my time and to schedule regular writing slots.
10. To write, write, write ... in those scheduled slots and whenever I find myself with a spare few minutes.
To those of you who've already been writing 1,000 words every day and to those who are preparing for NaNoWriMo, I take my hat off to you. My own challenges are small in comparison but, be assured, they will take much out of me and be addressed with the same level of commitment and seriousness. I hope I will be able to step up to your level one day soon.