It’s become a very common practice across social media these days to post pictures of fruity granola and gym membership cards with the phrase “New Year, New Me” splashed across them in a snappy, 21st Century update on the New Year’s Resolution. Whilst I’ve never been one to engage with such things before (granola hurts my teeth and I can walk in the mountains for free), I must admit that this year the sentiment has had more resonance than it usually would, especially when it comes to my working dynamic for the weeks and months ahead. The tail end of 2018 was very much about new writing for me, and ensuring that I had first drafts of both my feature and novel ready for the next stage of their development. With that achieved, it leaves me in a new phase of work that just so happens to coincide with the start of a New Year as well, and whilst I may not be ready to fully commit to saying “New Year, New Me”, perhaps I am ready to embrace a “New Year, New Approach” mantra instead.
2019 is barely a couple of weeks old, and yet it has already started in a rather promising fashion. I had a very useful and informative development meeting last week that has since opened up a number of new avenues for me to explore, both with the projects I was working on already and new ones that are being dug out of the archives. Whilst this an incredibly exciting development, it will require me to divert more writing time into the research of these new options and the proposals that will accompany them.
Then there is the issue of the editing itself, and how that fits within the system I established for writing last year. Quantitative targets work for first drafts because they’re all about getting words on paper; the more words you put down, the closer you get to the end. Redrafts are not so cut and dry, as its not necessarily about reaching the end but about enhancing the quality of the story that gets you to that end (if indeed that end even stays the same). Sometimes that means adding a bit more depth to scenes, others it means ripping out vast chunks of exposition that make you question what you were thinking of at the time you wrote it and whether you are actually still fit to call yourself a writer in the first place! It’s one of my favourite parts of being a writer (adding depth and enhancing what is there, not questioning my life choices…) but it is often hard to say when you are making definitive progress and when you could be doing more. Hours spent at the desk could be one way to monitor it, but since I have a pretty set writing routine anyway my gut instinct tells me setting such targets would quickly get stale and repetitive.
For now, I think weekly targets are no longer useful to keep things moving along in the way they were when I first started the Writing Journal. Monthly targets may be more realistic, as they can perhaps be that much broader and therefore more qualitative in nature. I may find that this is not a useful approach either, but then I never knew for sure that the weekly targets were going to help until I started this experiment in the first place. A large part of writing, or indeed any creative endeavour, is trial and error which is what this blog continues to be. A New Approach, in a New Year, for a New……………Direction.
This month’s targets:
- Submit first draft of my latest feature to my producer.
- Research funding proposals.
- Revisit my sitcom scripts, ready for wider submission.