February Accountability Roundup, or: Bring it, March!

February, oh, February, where did you go? While I definitely got quite a bit of editing in, overall I only added about 10,000 words to this draft. This is what happens when all the conferences and writing events happen in a month. castle-you-should-be-writing

On a happier note, I also had some major break-throughs, which should make work in March much more streamlined and effective. Either way, I have some serious deadlines to crack in March, including:

  • Finishing these revisions by 3/31
  • Finishing my master's coursework for this semester by 3/20
  • Help planning a writing conference (and giving two workshops for said conference)

So, basically, this will be me in March: cat-deadline-is-coming-animated-gif

I may be a bit of a masochist, but I actually work better under pressure, mainly because I'll be utterly out of excuses to dither or to become wholly absorbed in the crush of self-doubt. Here are some other things that work for me when things get crazy:

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  • Coffee. Lots of it. Obviously.

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  • Obsessive planning. To-do lists are my friend and my bullet journal my trusty side-kick. Checking off things is incredibly satisfying.

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  • Scrivener word count targets. Also, I'm going to start using this spreadsheet to tally up my daily work.

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  • Noise-canceling headphones. It also serves as my signal that I'm working, so my wife, whom I'm sharing an office with, will let me be (fortunately, she's great about that.)

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  • Getting up early. Yeah, 5 a.m. is cruel, but I feel so energized when writing is the first thing I do in the morning. So, instead of giving up something for Lent, I'll instead commit to those early morning hours and deal.

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Bonus: Spring break! I'll actually be off for 10 days at the end of March. This will be my "dead week" of edits. So, yeah, March. Bring it!

Anyway, that's my list, what's yours? Tell me all your secrets to getting stuff done, because I definitely need them.

On that note, cheers and happy writing!

Monthly Accountability Roundup: What I Wrote and Read in January 2017

Okay, I haven't been doing these for a few months and I don't know about you, but I always am SO much better at staying accountable to my own goals whenever I publicly share them with someone. So here I am, back at monthly accountability posts due to go live the last day of each month, so I can briefly recap what I read and wrote this month. I'm also still doing my calendar, complete with color-coded magnets. I've changed up the way I use my green magnets though to account for either 500 words written or one hour edited to better keep track of time spent editing. In my bullet journal I log both hours edited and words added each day to help keep track.

Before I launch into what I did get done in January, here is a quick overview of my goals I set for myself for the first half of the year:

  • Finish up this revision of my Bi Agent Carter book by 3/31
  • Draft a sequel/side project by 6/30
  • Write pitches and plot out two new ideas

That said, here's how January went down:

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Writing:

  • Goal: Add at least 20k in edits/revisions to MENTAL NOTE
  • Words added: 21,145

Since I'm switching between counting hours edited and words added for each day, I can't really average things out, but looking at my calendar shows that January definitely had a bit of a slow start, but once I got back into the swing of things (and had my house and writing nook back to myself after my house guest left!) everything really started to take off. This draft of MN is currently sitting at 44k and I am hoping to add about 25k to this through February, bringing it right around 70k.

Also, I have started using weekly writing goals to set weekly goals that I keep track of with #WeeklyWritingGoals. This method is based on the Agile Project Management approach and really helps to make up for those days where writing just has to take a backseat. By setting a weekly goal, it's okay to miss a day--as long as you figure out a way to catch up at the end of the week. Anyway, my goal for this week is to add 10k to this novel and I am about 2.5k into it, so here's to that.

Reading:

I love signing up for the Goodreads Reading Challenge every new year. Usually I like to shoot for 100 books a year, but given that I made it to 135 in 2016, I decided to shoot for the lofty goal of 150 books read in 2017. January definitely was a good month for reading. Between binge-reading some m/m romance and participating in #DiverseAThon, I managed to read 20 books altogether. Here's a list of what I read:

  • Ms. Marvel Vol. 6: Civil War II - G. Willow Wilson
  • No. 6 The Manga Vol. 1 - Atsuko Asano
  • Widdershins - Jordan L. Hawk
  • Threshold - Jordan L. Hawk
  • Stormhaven - Jordan L. Hawk
  • Moon over Soho - Ben Aaronovitch
  • Necropolis - Jordan L. Hawk
  • Bloodline - Jordan L. Hawk
  • No. 6 The Manga Vol. 2 - Atsuko Asano
  • Hoarfrost - Jordan L. Hawk
  • Maelstrom - Jordan L. Hawk
  • Whispers Under Ground - Ben Aaronovitch
  • Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk - Danielle Krysa
  • The Summer Palace - C. S. Pacat
  • Hunter of Demons - Jordan L. Hawk
  • Fallow - Jordan L. Hawk
  • History Is All You Left Me - Adam Silvera
  • When the Moon Was Ours - Anna-Marie McLemore
  • Of Fire and Stars - Audrey Coulthurst
  • The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula K. Le Guin

So, yes, lots of reading. I hope to keep it up, because reading begets writing for me and I love to be in the zone like this. Unfortunately it often means far too little sleep, but who needs sleep anyway.

So, anyway, here goes to writing and editing 25k in February and reading just as many books!

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What are your goals for this year? For next month? Let me know in the comments!

Cheers and happy writing (and reading)!

Alex