So you may have noticed that it’s the New Year. </sarcasm>
Though I generally hate the vast majority of the recap-of-the-past-year and what-I’m-going-to-do-in-the-new-year posts, I too will reflect, albeit hopefully less obnoxiously, on all of this.
2015 was a kick ass writing year for me, perhaps the best on record. In 2016, I absolutely want to build on that momentum and continue with and accelerate my writing success.
So what does that look like for me?
More words. Because words make sentences, and sentences make paragraphs and paragraphs make articles, blog posts and books – all of which I want to produce more of this year. I spent the latter half of 2015 searching for a routine that was the most optimal for me. In nearly six months of experimenting with different wake-up times, bed times, and workflows, I finally found THE one last week.
Now that I’m settled and feel like I can accomplish all I want to while remaining balanced, it’s time to churn out those words. Some of those words will suck. Probably lots of them. Possible the majority of them. But the more of those words I commit to paper (OK fine, screens) then the better the odds are that I’ll produce at least some magnificent ones.
More bylines. I kind of abandoned my article and short story writing to really dig into tackling the art of writing a book. Short form writing was originally where my strength was, and I want to return to that this year. This means I will be writing and pitching more articles and short stories in the hopes of getting them published.
More books. So now that I’ve navigated my way through actually finishing a full-length novel – something that looked doubtful at times even when I was in the thick of it – I want to do more of them. Much more. I set a pretty ambitious production schedule for myself in 2016. Four books. Well, I’m kind of cheating since White Rabbit is already finished but from now and for the foreseeable future, my goal is to finish a book (and when I say finish I mean the first draft done) every quarter. Wish me luck!
But what about play?
All that said, I also don’t want to get caught up in work all the time. I worked non-stop lat year. 12 hours days. .16 hour days. And while that’s not a complaint because I genuinely love to work, I do recognize the need for a little more balance in my life. Especially because if I don’t take the time to actually live, I will swiftly run out of material and inspiration for my work.
So what does this look like for me?
Designated office hours. When your work is your life, it’s hard to know where one stops, and the other begins. I’ve fixed this (I think) by setting specific work times and sticking to hard stops when that time is up. Right now that’s something like 9 am to 1 pm and then again from 3 pm to 7 pm. Give or take an hour here and there. The point is, when the time comes around, I shut my MacBook and go do something else. I don’t say “oh I’ll just work another couple of hours.”
More culture and travel. The irony of having left my day job in the middle of last year is that I’ve done nothing fun with the extra time on my hands. I plan to change that. This year is about making a concerted effort to see more movies, plays, got to the museum, etc. Also, when I worked a day job, I took a week off every three months and went somewhere, even if it was just for a weekend. I plan to continue this tradition as long as I’m able.
Weekends off. I worked through the weekend more often than not in 2015. At first, I thought it was cool. “Ooh look at me. I’m such a hustler.” “I don’t take days off. *scoffs*” “#teamnosleep”.
Man listen. I’m 35 years old, and I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t burn that midnight oil the way I did when I was 21. I need to give my body and brain time off.
I’m 35 years old, and I’ve accepted the fact that I can’t burn that midnight oil the way I did when I was 21. I need to give my body and brain time off.
When I finally wrapped my head around this concept and actually implemented it, my work got better and, even more prolific. Go figure.
The point to all this? Balance is key. And all in all, I’m pretty excited to see what 2016 will bring.