Wednesday 20 December 2023: Planning

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

I didn’t quite stop work on Monday night at the end of the working day. Instead, I took two notebooks into the living room and jotted a few things down while the poet had his hour or so in the music chair. I wanted to create a proper, structured outline for the first fallen angel story, but I can’t seem to settle between typing the first draft or handwriting the first draft.

So I ended up noodling and doodling for a bit without actually finishing anything. I’m itching to write something, but I just can’t seem to get going.

We finally got around to decorating the tree, which was nice. The living room now looks nice and cosy and it seems to welcome us into a warm hug.

It’s that time of year when I start to look forward and plan what I’d like to achieve in the coming year. I don’t really make new year’s resolutions, but I do try to set myself goals. I also try to stop doing things as well, things that don’t seem to move me forward on anything. Such as:

  • I’ve already stopped doing the competitions again. As a side hustle, this hasn’t really netted me anything for two years or more. I’d be better off playing games I get paid for or completing surveys I get paid for. For more than two years, the competitions have been a dead faff.
  • I’ve already stopped taking part in the weekly writing hour on X (formerly Twitter). It was nice to mix with other writers ‘around the water cooler’, so to speak, but the topics we’re encouraged to discuss are often repeated from as little as 2 weeks earlier.
  • I’ve already stopped visiting X on a several-times-a-day basis. There are days now that I don’t even go on at all. BlueSky has replaced X for me, and it’s so much more relevant and not simply a feed filled with buy-my-book ads.
  • I’ll probably knock the book reviews on the head. Too many authors are far too precious about their work now and have no interest whatsoever in honest or constructive reviews or wanting to write what their readers enjoy reading. If I don’t give them 5 stars it seems I’m being spiteful. Or it’s sour grapes because they have a publishing deal and I don’t. (Honey, the way traditional publishing is going now, I don’t even WANT one of those.) And one author apparently recorded a scathing TikTok video about a reviewer who gave her four stars and said the book was otherwise really quite good, she just didn’t find the ending very interesting. Life’s far too short for that kind of negativity, so I’ll be removing it from my life, I think.

So I suppose that rather than new year’s resolutions, I’ll be making new year’s unresolutions.

There are also things I’d like to do in the coming year:

  • I’d like to learn shorthand (already mentioned)
  • I’d like to brush up on my typing (already mentioned)
  • I’d like to run a kickstarter (although for that I appreciate I need to finish something first)
  • I’d like to finish more

And above all else, I’d like to start running my writing business more like a writing business, which means:

  • getting up earlier
  • preparing a business plan
  • hitting deadlines more often
  • writing more

But I won’t be casting them in stone or turning them into resolutions. Apart from these being things I’d like to do, they’re also things I really ought to be doing as a matter of course.

There’s a science fiction writing class starting on 8 January that I’m only studying-along-with because I paid for a lifetime study-along bundle on Teachable and I want to get some of my money’s worth before they decide to pull the entire program. I’m not really interested in writing sci-fi. I don’t read it. And I rarely watch it. So I’m not sure it’s a great fit.

But I would like to do more learning. I would like to step out of my comfort zone, try something I might never have considered otherwise. And I may surprise myself. But I’m not loving the idea and I was a bit cross and disappointed when one of the workshops was pulled without explanation in November, one I *was* looking forward to attending. So I shall see.

By the ‘bit in the middle’, between Christmas and New Year, I’ve usually made my mind up about what I’d like to concentrate on or work towards in the new year. So watch out for a post then. In the meantime…

I made a heap big mistake yesterday by opening up my emails before starting work. I wanted to see if the author whose book I returned on Friday had come back to me so I knew how the day might pan out. But there was nothing from him. So I fired off an email to the client, who replied quite quickly.

There was a podcast notification from The Creative Penn that piqued my interest, so I listened to it over breakfast and while I fed the dog and the garden birds. It made me go and look at Joanna Penn’s books, and I decided there were several I’d quite like. If that was her intention, to get listeners to go and buy her books, then bravo that woman! It worked.

However, I knew I wanted about eight of them. I already have one, but that one made nine. And Penn has two or three bundles. I was interested in the business books as well as how to write non-fiction and how to write a novel (me and my writers’ guides, eh?). But some of the books were duplicated across the bundles.

So I worked out which of the bundles was the best value and bought that, even though the book I already have was in there too (but no great loss, it’s a free book and it didn’t cost me anything the first time around), and then I bought the two how-to-write books as standalones. Then I asked if the poet or his mum would like to make them part of my Christmas box… (well, they have both been asking).

Buying them that way saved a lot more money than they would have cost if I’d bought them from either Google Play Books or Amazon Kindle, and I bought them direct from the author, so more money goes in her pockets. Plus, I get the books in whatever form I like and, once saved and/or converted, no one is going to take them off me again.

And now I have one of my favourite past-times ahead of me: working my way through a pile of business-for-writers and how-to-write books.

I also identified a pile of (existing, not new) notebooks I want to allocate to specific writing projects, such as one for the short stories, one for the novella, and so on. I need to scratch that writing itch and I really, really want to get back into writing by hand first. I feel my work was of a far higher quality than those I compose direct to screen.

I still have a lot of work to do and a lot of decisions to make and as my head was starting to feel a bit woolly, I called it a day and retired to the reading chair in the living room.

4 thoughts on “Wednesday 20 December 2023: Planning

  1. I listened to Joanna’s latest podcast as well yesterday, then I went down a rabbit hole of checking out some I had missed. She has talked about AI for quite a while. She often has interesting guests on too x

    1. Yes, it was the AI part that grabbed me, actually. She put a whole new slant on the topic that made me realise how it might work for us. It certainly made me think. x

  2. Busy day, but the fun kind of busy. I love how-to writing books. When I bring some more back up from storage in spring, it will be like Christmas, re-reading them!

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