Writing projects update : How my annual plan failed

Back in May 2021, I told you about how it was to manage several WIP (Work-In-Progress) at the same time, as an indie author (link to the article -> here). I had just published my very first book (a collection of poems) in February, and so based on what I had done from January to April 2021, I thought it would be nice to do an annual plan, to set monthly goals for my writing projects. This was all cute and pretty, (see the actual thing below haha) but the thing is… It completely failed.

Of course, I could have just put it away and never talk about it again. But well, I like to try things and see what works best, so let’s try and understand why it failed. And see if maybe, if done a different way, it might be helpful and/or actually work.

Why it didn’t work :

  • I made this plan based on what I had done between January and April 2021. But I had a lot of free time then, which completely vanished in May when I started working as a translator, with my main client. I was also in a fantastic mood, hyped by the release of my book, Talking To The Moon. So yes, it was a bit naive to think that I could keep going like this throughout the year.
  • It’s difficult to plan ahead like this because well, life happens, and what happens in my life directly affects my writing. I couldn’t plan ahead the death of my uncle in June, couldn’t plan the slump I fell into during the summer. I couldn’t predict my favorite great aunt’s death in October, or the days where my mental health was so bad I could only focus on surviving the day. I couldn’t predict how busy with translating work I was going to be sometimes, or how I would decide on a whim to make book boxes and a new hardcover edition (illustrated !) for Talking To The Moon. There are a million of variables in your life, which makes planning over a year a difficult task to accomplish.
  • Lack of consistency. I admit it, I was not consistent enough. I’ve never been the kind of writer to write every day, but that could have actually helped me achieve my goals. This kind of deep rooted habit, this iron will… I clearly didn’t have it last year haha. I did try NaNoWriMo in November, and I was pretty happy to reach 40k words during that month. It was the first time I was really trying to write every day, and it was quite draining actually, but I did it. Actually I still wrote more than 120k words over the year, just… not in a consistent way haha. There were periods where I was very active, and periods of time where I wrote almost nothing.

So what do I do now ?

I try to understand myself better, day after day. I switched to weekly to-do list (general lists, not just for my writing, but I include some writing goals, like for example writing a blog post every week) and I think I’m doing better with this. Since last January I also started making a writing log in my bullet journal, see the pic below.

It’s a simple way to keep track of how much I write, and what I write, without the pressure of having goals to reach. I know I will have to set new goals soon because I want to release the second volume of the Purple Sky series in the coming months, but for now, I’m trying to take it slow.

For now I’m focusing on finishing my fanfiction, since I’m posting a new chapter every week. I have one chapter and the epilogue left to write, and I’m around 75k words for now so… I think once I’m done with it, it should be around 80k words. Since I want to turn this fanfiction into a novel, I’m very happy to have this kind of first draft almost finished.

As for my other projects, the volume 2 of the Purple Sky series should be finished soon, I think I have enough poems in my ‘database’, I just need to select the ones that are going to be in the collection. I’m also working on the book cover with an illustrator, I can’t wait to see how it’s going to look.

I’m still struggling with my short stories collection haha. I think short stories are not my thing, I can’t seem to focus on them long enough. Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s contemporary stories, I don’t know. Maybe the real world doesn’t inspire me much these days, other than for poems.

Aaaand since NaNoWriMo, I have a new project. It all started with a book cover I saw on a designer’s FB group. I fell in love, bought it right away, but I didn’t have any story that matched with this cover. It was right before the start of NaNoWriMo, so I just went for it haha. Now I have 40k words in this story, story that I love very much. It’s going to be a fantasy novel, more YA than NA, I think.

On the side I’m also trying to gather my old French poems, to make a tiny collection of them. I’m afraid they’re all a bit too sad, but well. I’d like to publish shorter poetry collections in between my Purple Sky volumes, I have a few ideas of themes already, so we’ll see.

What about you ? Have you ever tried to plan your writing over a year ? Did it work for you, did you reach your goals ? I’d love to hear about how you guys organize your projects ~

I hope you all have a lovely day. See you next Wednesday !

Marie.

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