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New Year, New Goals, and New Insecurities

So far, 2023 has started off well. I spent the first thinking about what I wanted to accomplish this year on several different levels. The process actually matches up with this month's IWSG question, so let's get right to it.

January 4 question - Do you have a word of the year? Is there one word that sums up what you need to work on or change in the coming year? For instance, in 2021 my word of the year was Finish. I was determined to finished my first draft by the end of the year. In 2022, my word of the year is Ease. I want to get my process, systems, finances, and routines where life flows with ease and less chaos. What is your word for 2023? Why?

I had already been thinking about what my 2023 theme word would be before I saw this question. So, I'm ready.

In order to work with more focus and intent, I've created another schedule dividing writing time from family, church responsibilities, and other things that might pull at me. But the real test will be if I can honor and protect my own boundaries. Only I can say, "Sorry, this is my writing time. I'll get back to you when I'm done." Or better yet, not answer the phone at all.

To help, I've put up some old post-it notes to help me remember why focus and working with intent is so important. Here are a few of them. (sorry, I don't remember where I gathered these thoughts over the years. Some are definitely from Essentialism by Greg McKeown)

So what will I focus on in 2023?

I have some pretty lofty author goals this year. This means there will be lots of room for insecurity to claim me during the process. However, if I can stick to my plan, I think I'll head off half of the insecurities.

You see, I experience two types of insecurity most of the time.

  1. Fear that I won't meet deadlines (Sticking to a plan will kill this one!)

  2. I'm not good enough and my writing isn't either

I think keeping my schedule can help with the second one simply because the more I write on a consistent basis, the easier and better the writing becomes. After ten years of writing, I can look at that first novel and see a huge difference between it and the last one I wrote. Time and practice equals experience, and experience brings about better writing.

Here is what I'll do in 2023:

  • Finish the revision and edits of Demon Rising in January for its February release

  • Draft Catch Me If I Fall at the February writer's retreat

  • Finish the draft of Birth of a Dragon in March/April

  • Revise Catch Me If I Fall in April/May and send it to beta readers

  • Start the rewrite of Hand of Atua into a three-book series in June (new titles: Rebel Prince, The Refugee, and Atua's Hand)

  • Finalize all Catch Me files before July 1st

  • July will see the early release of Catch Me to Kickstarter pledges. Everyone else will get it in August with the official release. This is also the month to decide if Birth of a Dragon will release in 2023 or 2024.

  • Start the draft of Memories of Summer in August and continue working on the Hand of Atua rewrite as well.

  • September through December will be a bit less structured. What story is speaking the loudest out of those in progress? Work on that with full intent before moving to the next. The end goal is to have the four sci-fi books drafted by the end of the year and the 2024 Season of Sugar Creek finished as well.

If I'm writing Monday through Saturday from 8 AM to 11 AM, these goals are completely possible. Five of the seven books mentioned already have 20K-30K words written or more. If I average 3000 words a day, I can finish all of them and start revisions.

When you look at it that way, it doesn't sound so horrible. I simply have to honor that three-hour block.

Wish me luck!

What are your goals for this year?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the January 4 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Debs Carey, Kim Lajevardi, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, and T. Powell Coltrin!

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