Tuesday, January 21, 2020

How I'm Planning for My Best Writing Year Ever

The first thing I had to do to make 2020 my best writing year ever was to attend my last few physical therapy appointments and diligently do the follow-up exercises needed to fully recover from my November 11th knee replacement surgery.

So far, so good.

For the first couple of months, I spent most of my down time reading. I knocked off nearly twenty novels, mostly thrillers, and a couple of nonfiction books as well. That felt pretty good, especially when combined with cups of dark roast coffee or hot chocolate.

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However, the lollygagging had to come to an end because I have big writing plans for 2020. All my priority writing To Dos involve finishing my unfinished projects.
 
That’s why my guiding word for 2020 is FINISH!

Because I’m a veteran procrastinator, I often seek inspiration from others to get down to work and do what I said I was going to do. Most often, I read blog posts for encouragement and for new ideas on how to approach work.

I have my favorites:

Zen Habits. I recommend the January 17th post titled You Absolutely Can Tackle the Big Things You’ve Been Avoiding.

Writing and Wellness Blog. January 6, 2020 post is How to Think Differently About Your New Year’s Writing Goals.

You’ll find more here at the Blood-Red Pencil. Shonell Bacon’s post from 2016 is helpful. 3 Steps to Reinvigorating Your Writing.

Consider dipping into the original Depth Year post on Raptitude (as well as the Depth Year group on Facebook). There’s a lot of wisdom in the advice to resist the shiny new project when we could go deeper into the work we’ve already started.

My process begins with a compilation of the short stories and novels in various stages of completion. From there, I’ll select one at a time and write down every task that needs to be done, then stick with it until it’s ready for submission or self-publishing.

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My first project is a short story that I wish to submit to mystery magazines. I’m in the editing phase, during which I review my critique group comments and make necessary changes. I will not move on to the next project until I FINISH this one and have sent the story to the first magazine on my list.



Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Colorado Book Awards. This novel is also now available in a large print edition. Her short story, “Good Work for a Girl,” appears in the Five Star Anthology, The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories: Pioneering Women of the West released in November 2019.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy (aka Doggity), and brown tabby Katie (aka Kitty Cat).

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was recently interviewed for the Colorado Sun’s SunLit feature that you can find at the Colorado Sun website.

12 comments :

  1. I could have written your blog post, Pat. Mine will be similar, if I can stop procrastinating and write it. Glad you're recovering from your knee surgery. I could have written that too, only a few years ago. Buon recovery.

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    1. Thanks, Polly! That procrastination habit is a hard one to break, but I'm determined.

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  2. Thanks for the shout-out, Pat! So glad to hear you're on the mend and going after it in 2020. Can't wait to see all your new publications!

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    1. You're very welcome, Colleen. You're blog is my go-to source for inspiration.

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  3. A sure sign of procrastination is making lists of lists. May you avoid that pitfall, with a kick from your refurbished knee.

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    1. Ha...you know what I was just doing? Looking at a very long To Do List I started last year. I think you're right.

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  4. Glad your knee is healing well, Pat. Your plan sounds doable to me. Good luck! Have a wonderful, productive year.

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    1. Thanks, Jan! Hopefully I'll overcome my tendency to jump from one project to another and just FINISH! something...or lots of things.

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  5. Finish. That should be my mantra too.

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  6. "Finish" isn't a very big word, but it exerts a lot of power. My downfall has been failing to translate those six letters into completed projects. Lack of time, lack of energy, lack of focus---whichever one or whatever combination of them---they seem to join hands with life getting in the way to derail the WIP. Thanks for the encouragement get it together and finish what I've started. Great post, Pat! Now take care of that knee. Recovery may seem slow, but sounds like it's headed in the right direction.

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  7. Great post! Good luck, Pat! Thanks for sharing the links to your favorite inspirational articles too. I really enjoyed the one from Zen Habits. I couldn't get the link to Shonell Bacon's post on here to open for some reason though (the blog is saying the post doesn't exist!).

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  8. Thanks so much for the links to those articles, Pat.Very helpful. And I love, love, love your word FINISH. I think many of us need to tape that to our monitors. :-)

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice.