I like to start new projects at a specific date, namely the beginning of a quantifiable period of time. The first day of a week, of a month, of a year. I don’t know, I just think it’s more satisfying than starting halfway through (and to me it just doesn’t make sense to start at the end of a week or month, I just prefer to wait until the start of a new one), and that maybe it will somehow help me reach the end. The period of time mostly depends on the scale of the project (and my mood, if we’re being honest).
A blog is kind of a big deal. I wasn’t even planning on creating a blog this year. The blog was supposed to be the (possible) culmination of what I had planned for 2017: I’d spend 2017 writing, researching, and just preparing enough material (and myself) to create a blog at the beginning of 2018 and start publishing. And I say “possible” culmination because I was starting to get cold feet about the whole idea, although I was a full year away from it happening. I think my current situation says a thing or two about me.
The idea of creating a blog now and publishing my findings and writings during 2017 appeared when I was preparing my original plan. And, in a way, it makes sense: it’s now that I’m making my journey to becoming a better and published writer, and my journey is something that, I think, will interest other people. Maybe I’ll gather a following, some support, or I’ll be lost in immensity of WordPress blogs. Only time will tell.
And now, let’s go to the true focus of this post: how the blog will work and the plans for January.
At the beginning of each month, I’ll announce what I’m going to do. The format will be pretty much the one used in the January Map, based on Rachel Giesel’s Writing Workout (seriously, visit her site. She has really cool stuff and is one of my go-to writing sites). The exceptions will be during NaNo seasons (I do both CampNaNo and NaNoWrimo, my username is Sally Mary for both, if you’re interested in adding me), during which I will do planning during the month before, daily or weekly updates during the event, and, hopefully, editing during the month(s) after, and during periods when following it would be very difficult or just impossible (like busy class periods, or when I have to be away from home for extended periods of time, like during vacations). I dunno, that stuff is still pretty vague.
At the end of the month, I want to do a small reflection on the month before planning the following one. This way, I can know what I can do better, what I need to do next, and which direction I want to take next.
The Map–January 2017
Following the Writing Workout, I have picked 1 short story collection, 1 novel, 1 craft book, and a prompt collection:
Short Stories: Contos Outra Vez, Luísa Costa Gomes (I’ll write in English regardless of the language of the book I read. However, I’d eventually like to publish in Portuguese, either here or in a new blog)
Novel: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain (Portuguese translation)
Craft Book: A Field Guide To Your Imagination, Eva Deverell (from another of my go-to writing sites, and you’ll see me using her stuff a lot (always with links, of course). Eva is pretty awesome, you should visit her site.)
Prompt Collection: Creative Writing Now‘s Mailing List (been subscribed for ages. Embarassingly, I haven’t used it much, letting the prompts accumulate in a folder of my email)
The Writing Workout page also has an amount of chapters to read and stories to write, but I’m using those amounts as a bare minimum of what I should do each week. Since I have free time (only starting classes on the 13th of February), I’m going to try and do as much as I can so I can so I don’t remain on the same books for too long (and the short stories vary in length, so I’d end up doing more work in some weeks than in others, anyway). I’m also aiming for each short story I write to be at least 500 words long. I will be changing my prompt source every month, to keep things interesting.
I’ve also chosen a Craft Element to explore every week. My idea is researching a Craft Element various times, at first in general terms, later focusing on specific aspects. I’m always going to try and choose Craft Elements that are relevant to me at the moment:
Week 1: Story Form and Structure
Week 2: Show and Tell
Week 3: Description
Week 4: Setting
Week 5: Planning
I will write posts about the chapters of each book I read and publish the short stories. The research on the Craft Elements will probably be published in one big post at the end of each week.
And… that’s it, really! Here’s my plan for the blog and for January. Considering that I’m a student, I give myself the right to adapt this plan according to my responsibilities and needs, provided I meet the goals I’ve set for myself. Hopefully, I will succeed and manage to reach a new phase in my writing life!