When you talk about plans it feels pretty good. You set goals, feel accomplished because you cared enough to set them, bask in the glow of being so motivated. Go long enough without any direction and pointing in one seems like a triumph. It can be easy to forget that you still have to take a step every day you have the strength for it. In the right direction or wrong, it doesn’t matter.
That’s why it’s a good idea to check in every once and a while, to keep yourself honest and see if the direction you picked is leading where you hoped. In November, I set some pretty broad and difficult goals for myself for 2012. Some of those deadlines are coming up. One has already passed. How have I been doing? What should I expect of myself for the rest of the year?
The first goal for the year was to self-publish Broken Magic if it wasn’t accepted by an agent or publisher by March 2012. Technically that deadline has passed, though all I was asking of myself was to decide to self-publish. I never set a date when it should release. This was probably smart of me, because I haven’t a clue how to go about self-publishing and I’m figuring it out as I go. The important thing is I’ve decided to self-publish and I’ve put my money where my big mouth is. I payed the first installment to my cover illustrator and signed the work agreement. If all goes well, I should have cover art by July. Tentatively, I hope to have Broken Magic out by the end of summer. Let’s pretend that’s in September, but that could change.
My second novel was the scariest of the goals. Sure, I’ve been here before. After all, I’ve got a finished novel to self-publish. That novel took me nearly two years to complete and was at least 20,000 words shorter than what I’ve planned for my second. Could I really finish a first draft of a novel by the end of June?
I’ll never know. The first half of this year was mired in brain problems I wasn’t expecting, and I lost both February and March to working through them. I won’t pretend I haven’t beat myself up about this a little bit. I know better, and in the end I’m fine with the time that I lost, but there have been moments where I wanted to kick myself for leaning on an excuse. I say this not because it’s true (my mood chart from March is all the justification I need). I say it to be honest. It’s hard to fumble a goal and you’re going to kick yourself for it, logic be damned. Just try to turn the kicks back into walking forward as soon as you can.
That said, this week I hit a huge milestone. My second novel is officially the longest thing I’ve written since 2006 when I completed the first draft of Broken Magic. Over half of that was written in the last month, which means I’m back on track at the pace I hoped to hit in winter. Better yet, I’m probably a quarter of the way through the first draft. I’m going to miss my June deadline, but if I keep my head down I might not miss it by much. Right now, a first draft in August is possible. I’m not going to promise it, but I’m pushing for it nonetheless.
Finally, Rachel and I have been working on a webseries concept. The goal was to have it written to film this summer. Again: brain problems derailed the train. The schedule has been pushed a bit, just as the second novel’s was. We’re hoping to finish the scripts in July; read, cast and rewrite through fall; and film by winter. Fingers crossed, we could still be done by 2013.
Of course, with all things, you can’t predict change. I didn’t expect to be seeing a therapist or starting medication less than six months from when I set my goals. Goals aren’t always about being met exactly. They’re about being strived for. The best laid schemes and whatnot. The only way to fail is to quit pushing forward. If one of my outstanding query letters comes back tomorrow with something other than rejection, the goal for Broken Magic changes. The intent of the goal, though, is met.
A self-published first novel, a first draft of the second and scripts for a webseries. That’s my summer. I’d say I was crazy, but why bother? That’s already been professionally established.