Planning 2021 (Part 2)

Each year I assemble my writing goals with full conviction that they will change. I’ve never yet been proven wrong in this particular point. This year, I already have my proof, written in ink in my bullet journal.

But let me not get ahead of myself.

I have a few broad categories of goals for writing: novel, blog, book coaching, newsletter, and the bonus category of reading.

READING is an easy one. I really don’t set reading goals. I typically have a few books in mind that I’d like to read. By the time I get through those, I have more in mind. I also keep a list in my library account, so anytime I’m not sure what to check out, I have plenty of options. 

One thing I do with my books, though, is to take notes on them. So I set up a page in my bullet journal to keep track of what I’ve read, and check off taking notes and adding to Goodreads.

BLOG goals should be set, but aren’t yet. I’m just proud to have kept my blog going for six months! I do intend to spend some time thinking about what I want for the blog, so that’s on one of my lists somewhere. For now, I’m excited about my new planner. After researching blog planning spreads (Blossoms and Bullet Journals had an article I found particularly helpful), I put together my own. On the left there’s an open column to list ideas. On the right is a six month calendar where I’ve circled posting dates in pencil. Once I actually post, I ink it in.

In the center is my checklist. Next to each title space are columns for each phase of putting a post together. I’m hoping that having this checklist will encourage me to do some of the work ahead of time. It also reminds me how much work goes into each post, so I don’t underestimate the time I need to allocate.

BOOK COACHING required a tracker that would entice me back. In 2020 I started taking the Author Accelerator Book Coach Training class. It’s a self-paced online class, and for the first half of the year I made steady progress. I got through about half the lessons. Then I hit a wall, and did a total of three lessons for the rest of the year. I would like to finish the course in 2021. This Book Coach Training Tracker is meant to keep track of my progress.

Book Coaching is something that I’m curious about. The course has already helped me with my novel. Learning how to coach others along their writing journeys has taught me some things about my own. So my lack of studiousness has nothing to do with the material. In reflecting on 2020, I realized that I stopped doing lessons around the time that I started my blog. Too many things on my plate it seems. I will be re-evaluating my schedules so I can find a way to better prioritize book coach training and blogging and writing.

NEWSLETTER is a new category for me. At this point it’s more of a reminder than anything else. I’m hoping to start a newsletter this year, so I’ll be taking steps towards this goal, including making more detailed plans at a later date.

NOVEL goals bring me back to how I know my goals will change before I even set them. My big goal for the year is to get copies of my manuscript out to beta readers. My secret dream goal is to query agents this year. But I’m quaking in my boots as I make this public, because it’s not the first year I’ve tried to do this.

But, as I said before, I’ve come to accept that goals can change. It’s a good thing too. I made a list of the steps I think I’ll need to take to get my manuscript ready for readers. First step: draft new scenes 16, 19, 22, 23, 24. These are scenes that did not appear in my first draft, but are needed according to the revised outline. I already wrote eight new scenes at the end of 2020, but let’s talk about #19. By the time I got to this scene the story had grown and shifted from the outline. To write 19, I spent time this week working out exactly what happens leading up to it. 19 morphed, and began to feel more and more familiar. Very much like Scene 19 in my first draft. Yay, scene done. I re-labeled it as an existing scene to be edited later. 

There was only one problem: scenes 17 and 18 had to be thrown out, and new ones written. One step forward, two steps back.

And that’s just the first item on my list of Writing Goals. 

Luckily I discovered a way to deal with this last year. My Writing Plans spread (on the right) has empty boxes, one for each month, allowing me to fill in and adjust my month-to-month plans as I go.

Do you have writing or other creative goals for 2021?

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