January always makes me think of reviewing the past year and setting new goals for the next year. If you don’t take your goals seriously, this can be a worthless exercise. To make your goals more meaningful and realistic, it helps to schedule them out on your calendar with a due date and a plan for accomplishing them.
For example, I want to finish my novel and publish it on October 1, 2023. So I look at how many chapters I estimate need to be written (12). Then when would these need to finished by in order to publish it? How much time for rewrites and proof reading? (Aug, Sept 1). Its already past the middle of January, so I have 6.5 months to finish writing it. This gives me a realistic plan for accomplishing my goal.
If that’s the only goal I have for the year, I’m lucky, but it isn’t. Most of us have other obligations. I have to add to this any other goals such as financial, home repair, gardening, etc., working a fulltime job, the whole time keeping in mind what is realistic.
Procrastination is the enemy and can eat away your time. The one thing we cannot recover. Keeping your eyes on the prize and all you have to gain, remaining optimistic about life and your work, can help. Do what is most important to you first to avoid running into unavoidable conflicts later in the day. Telling yourself you can’t go to bed or watch TV or call it quits for the day until you have finished this top priority task can also help.
Me, personally? Where do I stand? How seriously do I take my own advice? First of all, it isn’t my own advice but advice that I have gleaned from many others. I am like everyone else and struggle to get my work done. I take on too many projects. Anyone who knows me will tell you that. But I have an optimistic state of mind and that is a big advantage. My writing means a lot to me, so I will force myself to commit. I have still been getting my house back to normal following Christmas, but I’m also diving into the realm of historical mystery and the world of Abraham Lincoln and a much lesser-known man, Elijah P. Lovejoy, and how their lives might have intertwined.
But they didn’t. In true life, Lincoln knew of Lovejoy but did not know him personally. Most of the world became acquainted with Lovejoy only after his murder. He was an actual person who lived and died. Word of his murder inflamed the country and caused several important men and women to stand up and become leaders themselves, yet today he is mostly unknown again. This is why I decided to write about him. I chose Lincoln as my protagonist because I admired him, how he pulled himself up from poverty and battled severe depression to make his life count for something. Follow along and I will introduce other characters as well and their roles in history and ultimately our lives today.