The Write Life: A Contemplative January
I started this month as many other writers did: considering my goals for the year. The past few years I’ve been in flux as I establish my editorial business, build my Patreon campaign, and write, write, (revise), write with the goal of traditional publishing. Many of the goals I set at the start of previous years have morphed or been entirely discarded because I was too ambitious, didn’t see the steps I needed to take between the start and the end, or life had other plans. (Last year fell into that latter category.)
While I still have a few big picture goals for the year—such as a word count goal (200K) and some habit goals (write 250 words or for 1 hour every day)—I’ve decided to focus on more short-term goals this year. Which is why I now present to you: The Semi-Monthly Writer’s Five.
What is The Semi-Monthly Writer’s Five? It’s five things I should be able to do in about a month that will contribute to my long-term writing goals. I will be centering these goals around the verbs “read,” “write,” “research,” “release,” and “relax.” (Did I stretch to make these all R-sounds? Yes.)
What that means is each month I will make sure to:
Read a specific book.
Write a specific story.
Research a specific topic (which often will actually be reading a different book).
Release a piece of writing (whether that’s sending for queries, submissions, or feedback).
Relax. No, like, seriously, this is self-care time.
Absolutely none of these goals will be metric based because too often I phone in performance on metric-based goals. Can I write every day? Hell yeah. Can I write something productive every day? *innocent whistling and avoiding eye contact* I need goals that will force me to finish a thing, hence, the Writer’s Five.
When I finish all five things, I set five new goals and I get a cookie. (I mean, the cookie may sometimes be cheesecake or a brownie or a shiny sticker, but you get the idea.)
January/February Writer’s Five:
- Read: Read Murder, Magic, & What We Wore and Call Down the Hawk
I started the month with two books in progress and aimed to finish both. One, because I started it last July and I should actually finish it, and the other because it’s due back to the library.
- Write: Revise the Bodyswap Grim Reaper story
The first draft is done, but I need to go back through to make the story cohesive, deepen the POV, and clarify the motivations of the characters. (I also need to pick which ending I want.)
- Research: Read The Invention of Murder
I’ve been working my way through this dense nonfiction book, but I doubt I’ll finish before it’s due back to the library. This may return to the Writer’s Five later this year. Current goal: read 250 pages.
- Release: Send the Bodyswap Grim Reaper story to critique partners
This goal is obviously contingent on me successfully completing the Write goal, but I can start lining up readers.
- Relax: Take a walk
Even though I now have other exercise equipment, an occasional walk feels like the thing to reconnect me to the surrounding world.
Want to join me in the Writer’s Five? Leave a comment below with the five things you’ll be doing this month-ish. Try to list something you’ll read, write, research, release, and do to relax.
For full access to The Write Life, sign up on Patreon for $1 or more per month. You’ll also receive a personalized thank you in a future edition of The Write Life.