2014: The experiment

I’m actually a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because I’m a serial procrastinator. I spend most of my life saying that I will start things tomorrow, or on Monday, or on the 1st of the month. But while that sounds like a good excuse to put things off forever, I do actually tend to stick to the promises I make myself. So long as I give myself something specific to do or achieve, within a limited timeframe, I’m generally pretty good.

Which is lucky for me, given my default state could really be described as “bone idle”. I am fundamentally lazy. I actually enjoy doing nothing, much to the bewilderment of my wife. I suppose this means I’m both motivated and lazy, which is an odd combination.

All of which is to say: I’m going to try better in 2014. Which means I need to:

1. Work harder

A lot of people tell me I’m quite productive, but that’s not really the case. No doubt I write more than others, but not nearly as much as some. None of which is actually a problem – writing is not a contest or a race, and everyone finds their natural pace. However, I’m not happy with mine, so I need to step it up.

There is also a good reason for this – I spent most of 2013 editing two novels at once, and in 2014 I have three novels to write from scratch and one to edit for submission. There are also a couple of unannounced projects which I’m hoping will get the green light, but which – obviously – mean more work. 2014 will undoubtedly be my busiest year yet, so I need to get on with it.

To whit: 2,000 words a day, minimum. Which has been my daily target forever, but I’ve slipped in 2013. 2,000 words a day is actually easy, and when I have nothing else that requires my attention on a given day I can hit 3,000, even 4,000.

2. Blog every day

This is tangential, but a useful exercise for myself. I’m not a blogger. This isn’t even really a blog, more a place I post news, reviews, etc. Other writers are much better at this than I am – Chuck Wendig, John Scalzi, to name just two – and I have no intent of trying to match their output, in volume or quality.

But as a way to get myself writing something – anything – first thing in the morning, when I least feel like it, I think will be a good thing. I have no idea what I’m going to talk about, but with a bit of luck I might fall into a rhythm. Some of it will be about books and writing. Some of it won’t be. I think the key is to not worry about it and just type.

Both of which lead to:

3. Use time effectively

Spend less time trapped on the internet. Spend more time reading and watching stuff (you know I still haven’t got through all of Batman: The Animated Series? Seriously). Spent more time enjoying friends and family and cool things.

I think that covers it. And it all starts… tomorrow.

 

  • Scot C. Morgan

    That’s a good list. Succinct. Prioritized nicely for a writer. Realistic. I’m working on my list today. I’ve a few hours still to nail it down. I’m combining mine with my production schedule, so it’ll run a bit longer. Really it’s the clarity of purpose I get from thinking up the list that is most valuable for me. Have a great 2014!

  • Don Pedicini Jr

    I really enjoy everything you have written so far and can’t wait for the new ones to be available. You have alot on your plate for 2014 but you can do it. Best of health and happiness and success to you in 2014.

  • Cavan Scott

    Yup, I’m with you on number 3. Need to cut down on Facebook and Twitter time to free up more writing time.

    At the moment, my daily word count is between 4000 – 5000 depending on what I’m working on, but I spend a hell of a lot of time faffing about online which needs to stop.

    And in other news I have tidied my desk. Just about ready for getting back to it tomorrow then!

  • Good luck!

  • Hey, thanks. Same to you!

  • Nothing like a tidy desk! I’m impressed with your word count too! My record is about 6,800 words in a single day, but that left me a gibbering wreck afterwards. When I get to the end of a book, I will put in two or three 5,000-word days as the momentum carries me along, but I think 3,000 is a realistic average for me. I’ve set my minimum at 2,000 to avoid disappointment!

  • Cavan Scott

    The word count has been a neccessity recently as I’ve been juggling a load of projects. And I know what you mean about disappointment.

    I’ve promised myself that I’m going to write a 500 words a day on another project to keep it ticking along on top of my other work. Not sure if I’m going to manage it, but will have a go!

  • I’ve been tempted to do that myself – Neil Gaiman said that he wrote Coraline as an accidental project by writing a couple of hundred words a day while he was writing his main project. In a year, he had an extra book he hadn’t planned on writing. So it’s certainly an idea. Hmm… maybe I can try that too!

  • Cavan Scott

    I’ll let you know how I get on!