Each January, I write down my goals for the coming year. I have personal goals and writing goals. Each goal tends to be broad, so I also break it down into more specific goals that, when attained, will lead to the broader goal’s accomplishment. One of my broad goals for 2013 is to improve my focus so I’m not so easily distracted. Since childhood, I’ve been curious about everything in the world, and especially people. Curiosity is a wonderful characteristic to have as a writer, but it also tends to enable a scattered focus.
I don’t want to stop being curious. Story and character ideas emerge out of curiosity’s itch and trying to satisfy it. Satisfying curiosity, however, devours time and energy. How do I channel my curiosity into a part of the day when I can indulge it without guilt?
This question brought two answers to mind. First, I need more time for my writing. Second, I need to be more loyal to my work day’s structure, i.e. my writing time in the morning. Two specific goals emerged: one, on work days, to get out of bed consistently at 6 a.m.; and two, on work days, block out the mornings for uninterrupted writing and nothing else. I know from past experience that when I block out the time and stick to it, I can get a lot done. These two goals will test my discipline and determination.
So far, I’ve not been able to even begin to work on these two goals. Why? Well, there’s nothing like a cold or the flu to derail everything. I caught a cold nearly two weeks ago, this year’s version of the creeping crud that hangs on, and on, and on. Then, one of my chronic illnesses decided to go on the rampage, and I was down for the count, as they say, dealing with both health issues. If I’m going to accomplish anything, I’ve learned, my body has to be a willing partner in the endeavor. If she’s not up to the tasks at hand, I usually cannot get anything done. I used to fight her, too. I’d push and push, and it usually just made me feel worse physically. So now, if I’m sick, my body takes first priority. I must be well to work. I must be well to focus.
This past Monday, I began to feel better despite the drippy nose and continuing cough, both of which I still have. But I was back on my feet. My focus this past week has been on the job search, and using my organizational skills to prepare for my new writing schedule. This coming Monday, I plan to roll out of bed at 6 a.m. and be at my desk before 8 a.m. to spend the morning working on the nonfiction book. Another goal I have for writing this year: to write when my imagination plays so I don’t lose so many good ideas (or lose the opportunity to test them out for viability).
What are your writing goals for 2013? (Stay healthy, dear readers!)