I’ve recently made a significant change to my life, going from full-time work to a part-time position that is both less stressful and which gives me more time to devote to more creative pursuits. While I think I’ve gotten good about managing my time over the last few months, I’m trying especially hard to keep my nose to the grindstone with regard to being both more creative and more productive with that creativity, given my newfound extra time. I therefore went and gave myself a few goals to hit by the end of this year.
- Do one of the following three things, every day:
- Write at least 500 words. That’s the bare minimum, not a finish-line goal for the day. Getting words written and looking/sounding passable for an audience is one way I’ve found to keep the creative juices flowing. It could take the form of blog posts (like this one), creative nonfiction (like my reviews on Superior Spider-Talk), or other creative works that don’t get immediately posted.
- Draw a one-page comic or illustration. Or part of a comic. You get the idea. I’m no great artist, but I wish I was. At least enough to want to occasionally try my hand at it. What I’ve found out about it is that it’s hard work, and you have to put a lot of effort in to get any good. If I can at least do this occasionally, maybe I’ll get marginally better over time.
- Make something handy or crafty. This is currently a just-in-case option that I don’t think I’ll be making much use of for the time being, but it falls under the umbrella of doing a craft, or building something decorative or of utility that takes time, energy, supplies, and some level of craftsmanship. Making a duct tape wallet, making a cutting board, or even playing a song on a musical instrument (of which I currently have no expertise in any instrument). So, yeah. Probably a ways off on this one.
- Finish the “bible” for the novel I’m working on by the end of this month.
I just started piecing together a comprehensive, up to date version of a bible I had created for a series of stories I’ve been thinking about for far too long. I’m intending it to have multiple arcs and parts, and figured I’d build up as much of that world as I can retain and put it somewhere I can access it later. It should contain characters, plot elements, themes, and setting notes that will hopefully allow me to keep things straight as I proceed. Once it’s done, I’ll start working in earnest on the first novel.
- Participate in 24-Hour Comics Day this year (October 1).
I tried this once a few years ago, and failed miserably. Not entirely shameful, when you consider that the goal is creating a 24-page comic in 24 hours. At this point, I’ve at least got an idea of what to expect, and hopefully can drum up some moral support and motivation by reaching out to others this year. I think at this point I’ll need to keep it to simple drawings of simple plots and themes. And I’ll need lots of caffeine.
- Participate in NaNoWriMo in November.
I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month twice, in 2012 and 2013. I failed in 2012, but managed to attain victory conditions by writing 50,000 words of a novel in 2013. I’m hoping and planning to replicate my triumph from three years ago, hopefully in the pursuit of this novel.
- Start pitching a draft of my novel to agents and/or publishers by year’s end.
By this point, if I’ve stayed on task, I should have at least a few chapters written and can start trying to shop this story out to potential venues for publication. I don’t know if I’ll go looking for an agent, try smaller publishers independently, or try to self-publish. I’m already starting to think about this, but the important thing is that I try to get my work out there.
Anyway, feel free to hold me to these goals by asking me how I’m doing with each of them. I don’t always manage to complete the daily goal (500 words or such), but I have gotten better at it lately. I’m hoping that by making these plans and sticking to them, I’ll start making some headway in carving out a more creative and fulfilling path for myself.