As of yesterday, we are halfway through the first month of 2011.
Despite my Genesis win last year, 2010 did not produce much writing on my part. But Genesis was such a confidence builder, that despite various hardships, I decided to go into 2011 with a different mindset about creativity and my writing. They involved two things: 1) Being rested, not ragged, in 2011 and 2) Planting butt in chair and being responsible to myself for word count results (ie. production of manuscript(s)
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I committed to participating in ACFW's NovelTrack-Writing in January, April, July and October of this year, and that I wanted to commit to 50,000 words each of those 4 months. The in-between months I would use for research and editing.
I am so very thankful and pleased to say that, while it took me till almost midnight last night, I am on target with 25,000 words (halfway to target) for the January goal of 50,000 words. Thank you, Lord!
It has been such a joy to write consistently every day (well, almost every day, my goal is writing 6 days a week). Such joy in fact, that I am modifying my 2011 plan. My original plan for 2011 involved doing the actual writing in January, April, July, and October then spend the off months on research and editing.
Obviously I still need to make time for research and editing, but my focus this year is the production of first draft manuscripts (I'd like two, and if I'm really fortunate, I'd like to start on a novella collection I have in mind). And I have also decided to set small word count goals for those other 8 months of the year---something small and manageable, say between 350-500 words a day.
The key to succeeding with my writing goals this year is adhering to what I have code named "Rested, Not Ragged." Last year I stayed exhausted. I over-committed myself in many areas and toward year's end, my zeal to spend time with the Lord had grown lukewarm. That's when I knew things had to change. Being "busy" serving doesn't equate to a close walk with the Lord or even an obedient walk with the Lord.
But I struggled. All those things I was doing I felt were very important. I still do. But I had to cut out all my church obligations except two. If you've ever wrestled with yourself, wondering if a decision you make is prompted by God or your own pep-talk to yourself, you'll understand how difficult it has been to cut back---wondering if I'm doing the right thing or the wrong thing (not to mention that people constantly approaching you and asking you to do this and that doesn't go away).
But thus far in the new year, I have felt a sense of peace I haven't had in ages. I'm not driving myself nuts trying to do ten million things, I'm stopping to smell the roses, to use the old cliche, and I'm getting a little more rest then I did last year. And all of that is absolutely essential to feeding my creativity this year. I need to be rested, I need to go do fun things to refill the creative well.
If I can do that consistently, 2011 should be a great creative year. I hope it will be for you, too.