How to Keep Your Writing Resolutions & Goals by Augustina Van Hoven
It’s a new year and many of us are setting down our writing goals and resolutions. Everyone is thinking about finishing an old manuscript, beginning a new series or simply setting down the number of books and novellas we want to write this year. However, unless we also lay out a plan to achieve these goals and implement it, all we have is a wish list.
The key to achieving any goal is putting together an executable plan. My process starts with a calendar. The type of calendar is a personal choice. I like to use a day planner that gives me a monthly view. When get my calendar, the first thing to do is mark all the special days in my life, such as birthdays, anniversaries, conferences, vacations, and special events. If I know that we are planning to go camping over Memorial Day or Labor Day, I mark that too. This gives me a good idea of how many writing days I have to work with to meet my goal.
The next step is planning out how many books and novellas I need to write during the year. This is determined by my contracts and any new series I plan to start. This year I have four books to write which works out to one per quarter. Each book requires time to develop the story, put together my character sheets, and write an outline of the plot.
The key to a story is well developed characters. My character sheets are very detailed and include things about each character such as their name, birthday, physical features, and personality traits. I get the personality traits from Linda Goodman’s SUN SIGNS. I look up my characters birthday and apply the traits for their astrology sign. For the physical features, I cast an actor or actress in the part and make any adjustments necessary such as eye color or hair color. I also create their back story, what has happened in their past to make them into the person they are today. Most of the back story will not appear in the book but I need to know it. The better I know my characters, the easier it is to write how they will react to the situations that my story plot will put them through. This helps the story stay on track and I have less rewrites or edits to do at the end.
I have found from experience that I can write much faster if I have a good roadmap of where I am going, for me this is an outline divided into chapters. I do my out lines on a spreadsheet which allows me to see the whole layout of the story. Each chapter has a few lines about what my characters are trying to achieve, where they are going and what needs to happen when they get there. This method allows me to do writing sprints with greater word count.
At this point I look at my calendar and my stories and do some simple math to determine how many days I have to work on each book and what the word count needs to be each day in order to stay on schedule. Don’t forget to put in a few extra days in case of illness. It’s hard to meet a three thousand word a day deadline when you have the flu.
The only thing left to do at this point is make the time commitment required to get the job done. I work a full-time day job so my writing time is in the evenings. I set aside a two hour time block and make sure my family knows that I am unavailable during this time. I’m fortunate that my children are all grown, but it is hard to explain to my pets that mommy needs some alone time.
Setting up my goals and writing plan this way allows me to make my deadlines. Are you planning a way to achieve your goals?
Augustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats. She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy. When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months, crochet and knit on her knitting machines.
About Proving Love is Strange
A DISTANT PAST
In 1882, Rose Van Buren loved the wrong man and paid for it with her life. Now, more than a century later, the angel Gabriel has granted her another shot at living. In exchange, she must convince a smart, handsome, up-and-coming lawyer to set aside his lofty ambitions.
A FUTURE PRESENT
Stephen Winship is headed straight for the governor’s chair. He has a brilliant career, solid allies, and a seemingly perfect girlfriend. But night after night he finds himself dreaming of a heavenly beauty, a luminous but long-dead girl. Like some altered Ghost of Christmas Past, she shows him her own tragic tale in order to “save him.” And he’s beginning to see Rose is risking her heart as much as baring her soul. Yet falling for her will cost him everything—and open him up to a happiness he never imagined.
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