Beyond Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s the end of Camp NaNo, and you probably have a first draft – or almost a completed first draft – on your hands. Congratulations! But now what? Well, if you’re not finished, completing it is your first step.

If you’re already finished and want to dive into revisions – because who doesn’t love rewriting? – this post is for you. I was looking for ways to jump into revisions in an organized way. [I’m an editor, and I’m constantly trying to learn new ways to edit on a large scale.] Handling plots, subplots, and layers can be complicated and confusing to keep track of, so I read about different authors’ self-editing methods.

By far, this one is the method I could follow. The post is long but detailed. It leaves very little room for questions or confusion. I highly recommend checking it out to help you organize your revisions to prepare to write your second draft.

 

Advertisements

Bullet journal, minimalism, and my to-do list.

I use the bullet journal [bujo] system of organizing, well, my life. Except if you happen to have a preconceived notion of what a bujo is and how it should be used, I probably defy those thoughts. There are as many ways to use a bujo as there are people who use it, and there really aren’t “right” ways or “wrong” ways. Just what works for someone and what doesn’t. What I learned early on in my bujo journey was that the traditional way didn’t work for me, so I had to forge my own path, which was largely determined by trial and error. I also had guidance from several YouTubers and bloggers.

Since I started this system in December, not only have I gone through a full journal [I have lots of collections], I’ve also adapted the monthly, weekly, and daily spreads numerous times. I’ve actually nailed down a weekly spread that works for me, but I’m still tweaking those dailies – and I truly do need daily spreads to keep me focused.

 

weekly bujo spread.jpg

My weekly spread template. I switch out habits as needed too.

 

I’ve been toying around with the idea of minimalism and what it means to me and my life. I know I’m not one of those people who can just walk in a room and toss out 90% of the stuff in there without having a panic attack [seriously, I get really attached to meaningless stuff] and I probably couldn’t just pack up my life and my children’s lives and live in a tiny home the size of a mouse hole [see the comment about being overly attached to stuff], but I can introduce some concepts of minimalism in my life and see where that leads me.

What I’ve been reading about is the power of doing one thing at a time, which is a form of mental minimalism. Having that intense focus on a singular task makes it more likely for that task to be completed. So I’m adopting it! There’s also the idea that we were born to do one thing, but I feel so caged in thinking I’m here only to do that one thing and nothing else. [Actually, there’s a word for people like us: multipotentialite!] I have so many things I’m juggling: being a parent, homeschool teacher/blogger, indie author, freelance editor, writing coach, spiritual advisor, co-editor of a magazine, and a co-editor of dozens of anthologies. It’s a lot to take in, especially knowing I only have twenty-four hours in a day to do things, and my kids take up most of the daylight hours. In reality, I truly only have time to do one thing a day, and if I’m intentional with that one thing I can make a lot of progress with it.

So, how exactly does this translate to my bullet journal and to-do list? 

Before, I used to just make a running list of things I needed to get done during the week, and I’d pick and choose what I’d do that day when it came to making the daily spread. I’d have tasks like “write 2,000 words” mashed between “finish that damn load of laundry” and “buy some butter FFS,” and while having clean clothes and butter helps, it doesn’t exactly get me further ahead with my goals. [Let’s be honest: I walk around home in pajamas all day, and I wear the same two outfits religiously.]

Now, I’m tweaking the daily spread to include those little tasks [like paying bills and house chores], but to separate that really important stuff [like finish editing a client’s manuscript] in what I call “focus tasks.” Each week, I can have one focus topic: writing, editing, coaching, blogging, reading, homeschooling. While I can do more than just one, I’ll be devoting most of my week’s time to the chosen one. Each day, I can have up to three focus tasks, and one of those tasks has to be contributing to the focus topic. If all three tasks relate to the focus topic, that’s even better.

For example, this coming week’s focus topic is editing. I have a few projects I’m juggling and another manuscript will hit my desk in a few weeks, so I’m trying to get a handle on what I do have right now. While I’ll be able to do other stuff besides editing, because I’m not a red pen machine [how awesome would that be?!], my main focus is on editing tasks.

For example, Monday’s focus tasks are: copy edit 40 pages of Manuscript 1, write 500 words, finish reading Grave Measures and review. 

This is a heavy day of stuff for me, but as long as I finish the edits it’s a successful day. Focus tasks don’t have to be so time-intensive and they can include anything to do with my main projects, which can be planning a novel/series, doing research for a novel, researching aspects of indie publishing, updating a blog, reading and reviewing books, Patreon work [which I haven’t launched yet], networking with authors/readers/publishers, etc. The goal is to make progress in an area of my life.

Do you use a bullet journal? How do you track your goals?

Look back and moving forward.

Look back and moving forward.

As I look back over the past year, there were a lot of changes: a new addition in our family, the death of a beloved pet, moving to a new state, finding the courage to publish, quitting my job in the beginning of the year only to start a job during the final days of the year, and collaborating with a friend to build a literary press. There were some other really great stuff in the mix, too, and 2016 proved, despite all the negativity and death, to be a good year for me overall.

Looking forward, I’m continuing to ride that wave of success in several aspects of my life. I’m focusing on writing and publishing; editing, homeschooling, and spiritual side projects; raising my kidlets; and reading good literature. I have an idea percolating in the back of my mind, but I’m being realistic about it, trying to figure out the best way to implement it, so it’s a long-term goal. I’m also exploring furthering my education and, hopefully, enrolling in a new Master’s program in education.

My words for 2017, because I am a logophile [lover of words – and logs, for that matter], are LIBERATION and COURAGE and CREATE. 

In terms of concrete goals, because self-help blogs tout the power of SMART goals, I’m working toward:

  • Writing 1,000 words a day minimum. [I’m aiming for one million words this year, though I will be happy with 365K.]
  • Reading 70 books.
  • Reading 1 book a day each to the kids.
  • Earn $10K from editing.
  • Earn $5K from spiritual store.
  • Publish 8 homeschooling resources.
  • Publish 3 collaborative anthologies.

 

In January, I’m starting strong, if only because I know my energy levels are highest during the beginning and end of the year.

  • Write 31,000 words [in the form of 5 short stories and 1 novella]
  • Read and review 5 books.
  • Read 62 books to the kids [31 to each]
  • Launch editing website.
  • Launch spiritual store and blog.
  • Launch homeschooling blog and website.
  • Create 1 homeschooling resource.
  • Edit 2 novels for clients.

 

Updated posts will come every other week to allow for adjustments and victory dances. 🙂 In the meantime, I’ll post about my current WIPs and reads.

What are some of your goals for the new year? Do you break it down for each month, three months, six months, or is it a free-for-all?