November 12, 2021 - Like a Bouncing Ball

Friday, November 12, 2021

That’s what my writing progress has been like. I seem to be alternating higher than average word count days with low word count days this month. That’s the chart from my NaNoWriMo profile page at the top. I’ve got to have more high word count days than my current average if I want to “win” NaNo.

Of course, for me, the challenge isn’t to win NaNoWriMo. No, what I want to do is finish the first draft of this book so I can release it no later than mid-January.

Can you believe we’re racing into 2022 already? I’m having a hard time comprehending that. But I’ve started to think about what my goals for the new year will be. I struggled to accomplish much this year, publishing only one full-length novel. I spent almost as much time on each of the two shorter works (a novella and a short story) as I did on that novel. It was a big change from last year, when I published the first four books in the Shipwreck Point series.

I want to make 2022 more like 2020 than 2021. I’d like to publish six books: three Rainbow Ranch mysteries and three Shipwreck Point novels. But I’m not at all confident that that’s possible. Four was hard enough! I’ll have to decide soon, but if I’m honest with myself, four novels (two in each series) is probably the most I can do.

So, I downloaded a Planning & Organization Workbook put together by another presenter at this week’s writers conference, Audrey Hughey. All of the really successful authors do planning like this, which not only includes stating large goals like how many books you’re going to publish, but putting together a detailed schedule for what you want to accomplish.

Elana Johnson uses spreadsheets. Her book, Writing and Marketing Systems, is awesome. I read it this past year. Elana is a superwoman. She publishes lots of books each year primarily under two pen names. She has a third pen name, but that one’s kind of dormant now.

I loved everything about what Elana does, but I can’t envision myself ever matching her level of productivity and energy. (Note: She writes romance, and even she admitted in her presentation at the conference that every book is the same book. That’s what romance readers expect. Mystery readers want a little more originality, although the plots are formulaic.)

Audrey’s style isn’t quite as intimidating. And her workbook started with defining what success means to you. That’s a challenge in itself. I wrote something like six pages in my journal this morning trying to define that for myself. After sleeping on it, I’ll write it up in the workbook tomorrow morning. And then I’ll proceed to the next exercise.

I also really, really want to buy her planner, which this year is called The 2022 Author’s Planner. It includes not only planning your writing and publication schedule, but your marketing tasks. It also has a section for tracking business income and expenses and story ideas and all kinds of other things. Now, I already do this, but they’re in different formats—Scrivener, Quicken, Things for Mac, and even a couple of spreadsheets—which means they’re scattered in various places on my computer. They idea of having one reference for everything author related is tempting. Although I’m not sure I’d keep the planner up to date, because I really need Quicken at tax time and I’m so reliant on Things to track tasks.

But I want that planner now! And the Frixion erasable pens she recommended to write in it with.

Can I tell you a secret? Writers tend to be stationery junkies. Like quilters have their fabric stash, writers have a stationery stash. We have boxes and shelves filled with notebooks, index cards, pens and pencils, sticky notes in various sizes and colors, and sometimes washi tape. One writer I follow on YouTube has dozens and dozens of planners. She does a video every month about setting up the planners (yes, that is plural) she’s going to use to track things. Seriously.

So I’m trying to decide if I actually need her planner (and the pens!) or not. I’ve put them on my Christmas wishlist, but what if they sell out? (That happened last year.) Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is real!

Okay, I’ve babbled on long enough today. I’ll let you know what I decide in another blog post.

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