Making goals for the coming year is relatively easy, achieving them is somewhat harder. But before we launch into the new year with hopes and expectations we’d do well to look at the past year. What we need is a little crazy eyes – one eye looking forward and one eye looking back. (Of course with only one eye looking back, your perspective would be wrong… but don’t read too much into the title – I mostly wanted an excuse to use the below photo…)
How did I go at achieving last year’s goals? What things can I celebrate and what should serve as cautions for the future?
Mistakes will happen while we’re still breathing. There is normally a cost with mistakes, but there can also be benefits.
A mistake is made worse if we fail to learn from it; otherwise we can call it an unpleasant learning experience.
While I did complete my goal of a first draft of Vengeance Will Come I did so about five or six months after when I had hoped. Is the timeline a failure in itself? I don’t think so. My original target was over-ambitious; I failed to consider the weaknesses in my plot which would require additional time to remedy. The story is now a far better product for the extra investment. (Like so many things in life quality is worth waiting for).
I had similar problems with other writing projects and timelines. I am however proud of the amount of effort and time that I have put into writing this year. No one can legitimately say that I haven’t been disciplined.
So from this I learn:
- Try to identify plot flaws before they become a problem; it will cost less time to fix the earlier they are found. ‘Measure twice, cut once’ is an adage worth living by.
- Set writing deadlines (aka milestones). When deadlines blow out, reschedule them. Be aware of external commitments and factor them in (e.g. assume very little writing will occur around Christmas, despite what you may think). The more deadlines set, the more accurate estimates will become.
- Technique discipline. Try to write through an entire first draft without going back to rewrite sections. This will save a lot of time.
My blog is my platform for talking to other authors and hopefully in time engaging with readers. I’ve done OK but I need to be more consistent in posting and put more thought into targeting.
If all you are interested in is writing, this is the end of the blog post.
If you are curious in personal matters, please continue…
Health is a very important thing for all living beings. Dead ones: not so much. Make health a priority.
I haven’t cared for my health as much as I had hoped for at the beginning of the year. Writing by its very nature can mean long hours sitting, which is exactly what I do at work…not a healthy lifestyle. My one saving grace that has saved me from a ‘C’ is that I did finally undertake some tests which I had been avoiding for years (and which came out all good).
- Discipline with taking time to being active. Accept that this means sometimes exercise over writing, but it will keep me living (and writing) for longer. Don’t let weather be an excuse.
- Master food. It’s called restraint, and I should have a double helping of that!
I am blessed to have an amazing wife and an amazing marriage to go along with it.
If I look at my wider family there is still work that I need to do. I don’t always act the way that I wish I would. If it takes a village to raise a child, I think I am sometimes absent… I’d like to be a better Uncle and a better brother.
There have been some highlights and some not-so-great points. Again, I feel that I didn’t take full advantage of the possibilities of the year. There were some great times, but how much better could it have been? Was there too much of me, and not enough of Jesus?