Last night I managed to get to the 50,000 word target of my fourth year of NaNoWriMo. Huzzah! I was so pleased to have been able to get it done, two days early, and with only a couple of thousand words worth of story to go. I’m going to wrap it up today and tomorrow and then put it away for a little while to stew.
I’ve had some conversations in the last little while about my plan for the future. The only problem is I don’t really have a well thought out and detailed plan. What I want is a job that I like well enough, that’s part-time so that I can do my creative stuff on the side, and possibly one day I’ll get a job where I can use my writing skills, but maybe not. That’s the plan.
At the moment I have a job placement which is three days per week doing Human Resources. It’s a refreshing change from the basic office admin job placements I’ve been doing recently so I’m really enjoying getting stuck in. It’s only until the end of the year though, and then I’ll be back to looking for ongoing work.
So here’s the new plan. Starting from now I’m going to work one day per week on my writing. Now that NaNoWriMo is finished for the year I really need to start doing something with my older manuscripts. The one I wrote last year, in particular, needs a whole bunch of structural edits and additional sections.
I’m going to do what I’ve heard other professional authors do, for example Dawn French and Fiona McIntosh, that is set myself a proper 9am to 5pm day of work for my writing. In the morning I will spend my time researching writing opportunities, applying for jobs, finding writing competitions, magazines and periodicals and blogs that are taking submissions and do that. This will be my time to work on this blog. I will also look into networking possibilities in the industry and short courses in writing that I might like to do.
In the afternoon I’m just going to write (and rewrite). I’m going to start with the manuscript from last year’s NaNoWriMo, which needs some big stuff done to it, and spend a couple of hours a week just going through it and fixing it. Editing has never been my strong suit, I’ve always be much more interested in coming up with new material, but I must spend the time revising and reworking. Maybe I’ll set myself a deadline of the end of January to have it done and I can start sending it to publishers.
Some of you may have noticed that that only adds up to four days work. You’re right, and the other day I’m going to keep for my band. We meet once a week usually, and rehearse for 4 or 5 hours. That takes up most of one day of the weekend. I will spend some of the time on the other weekday practicing and the rest of the day getting the chores and life admin stuff done that I would have done on the weekend. We’re also going to start looking for performance opportunities in the new year so I’ll schedule those in too.
My aim in this is to get myself into a routine. I’m not studying anymore and I hope to have a solid, ongoing job by early next year. It’s time to get serious about the business of creating and make sure that going back to uni was not just a frivolous escape from being at work.