Our second child’s due date is October 17, 2016. There are many baby-related things we need to do before that date: pick a name; find and clean all of the baby toys in the attic; convert my office to the baby’s room (which is the only part I’m feeling sad about). But those aren’t the only things I want to accomplish by that date. My other goals have nothing to do with the baby at all, but with writing (of course).
After October 17 (or thereabouts), much will be uncertain. Will the baby sleep enough for me to sleep AND to write? How long will it take him/her to get on a day/night schedule? How will we all adjust to a two-child household? My productivity will be dependent on those factors for awhile. I hope I’ll be able to do more than I expect; I wrote almost two-thirds of the first draft of Waist in the first three months after my son was born. But I can’t count on that time.
And so I’ve created three writing goals that I’d like to accomplish by October 17, 2016.
- Finish draft 1 of Blizzard, my current historical novel. I’m currently about 25,000 words into an approximate 100,000-word draft, so that gives me about 4.5 months to write 75,000 words. Since I’ll be on summer vacation for a lot of that time, it feels possible. I’m trying to focus less on word count with this draft, though, because I found that I actually write more if I commit to finishing a certain number of scenes per week as opposed to meeting a word quota. The word quota method seems to be more effective when I’m re-writing or editing future drafts. (A lot of trial-and-error led to that discovery.)
- Launch my new website/nonfiction project and publish the first 50 posts, plus start a weekly newsletter and create bonus material. I’ve already done a lot of prep work on this project and have written several posts that are ready to go after launch, so this isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. I’m just waiting for the website to be ready.
- Write a full outline and start character development for my YA novel. I’m really excited about this one, and it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’m not foolish enough to think I can draft it alongside my first draft of Blizzard, but if I get the prep work done, I can write a draft while taking a break from Blizzard in the fall.
I’m grateful that I’m finally at the point in my pregnancy where I can set goals and feel confident that I can meet them (or at least make a very good effort). For many weeks this winter and early spring, my writing life was pretty bleak; I didn’t have the energy to generate new ideas and could barely keep pace on my WiP. Now I feel some of my stamina and my stores of creativity returning, and I’m ready to pursue more goals again.
Have you ever had a life event influence your writing deadlines? What did you do to accommodate those life changes into your writing routine?