Wednesday, January 3, 2018

IWSG: Scheduling


Do you feel like you are living in the future? It occurs to me that  we are now living in  "the future" that so many movies were set that I watched as a kid. Or at least young person. Not 2018 necessarily, but we are entering the era. I'm thinking of the movie Soylent Green, the first post-apocalyptic story I was exposed to. It aired April 19, 1973, a futuristic crime mystery, and depicted life in New York City in 2022 where overpopulation and the Green House effect has led to overpopulation and starvation. I was eleven years old, and very likely saw this movie at the Drive In Theater.

Not that I'm eager to live in any of the post- or pre-apocalypse worlds that consumed my reading or viewing time in my younger years. Or any that I have written myself recently. I can't even imagine a STAR WARS type future though.

We have already passed the 2015 date of the still popular BACK TO THE FUTURE II setting. I don't know about you, but I'm highly disappointed that flying cars are not an every day purchase. Time, and the years, do not seem to be flying by for me; its more like its standing still. Technology seems to have reached the same point as Hollywood: consistently remaking the same merchandise, calling it "improved" without stepping too far away from developments within the last 20 years. Before we know it, it will be 2089 and no closer to colonization of planets within our solar system than we were at the 1990 release of TOTAL RECALL.

One of the more realistic events I'd like to see in my near future involves publication. Lots of it! To obtain that, of course, I need to write and submit more. There's a unique idea for January's Insecure Writers Support Group post. Right?!?

Not only is this my first post for 2018, but its also the first Wednesday of the month and time for the Insecure Writers Support Group. This month's question is appropriate for the New Year, and actually got me seriously thinking about my writing schedule as well as goals for 2018.

What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I've very good at making and keeping a work schedule. Its how I get paid. Scheduling writing time though, nah. I only disappoint myself when I fail. Now, if I had a literary agent, a publisher that has given me a deadline, then you bet I can write to their schedule.

For many years I've not put any pressure on myself to stick to any kind of writing or blogging schedule. I'm determined to change that in 2018. Not with "resolutions" but with goals, just as Michelle Wallace suggests in the Dec 2017 IWSG Newsletter:
So when you sit down to plan for next year, instead of making writing resolutions, why not create a few specific, attainable, and measurable goals?
I've thought long and hard (through many long, boring hours of driving) about some reasonable writing goals for myself for this year, and this is what I came up with:

 - write three new horror short stories to submit to random anthologies between August and December
 - FINISH, edit, and submit three of the incomplete short stories in My Documents
 - rewrite chapter 1 of my novel NOT HER MOTHER'S FATE
 - revise and submit query and synopsis for FATE
 - write and schedule six book review posts

And yes, reviewing the above list, I'm already feeling anxious about how I'm to accomplish all that. I do have a plan, a sort of writing schedule. Writing on the road is not easy for me; I mostly "camp in my car" and it uncomfortable to juggle a computer in the car or even at road stops (never know what the environment will be like). But I should be home every weekend, and at least one week (up to nine days) each month. Weekends are good for blog posts (and comments), and that solid week is excellent for actual writing - including revision.

The incentive to stick to this schedule - lax as it is? Well, I do love being published! And starting 2018 with a publication is an awesome ego boost.

My short story LAUGHING AT BUTTERFLIES, an Urban Fantasy, is scheduled to publish on January 8 in issue 744 of the ezine Bewildering Stories.

offers a home and an audience
to speculative writing.
All genres are welcome
in prose, poetry, drama and non-fiction.

Thank you all for stopping by today. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's 2018 goals and scheduling triumphs. This month the IWSG crew is announcing the winners of 2017 Anthology contest. Be sure to stop by Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanuagh and his co-horts: Tyrean Martinson, Ellen the Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Jennifer Lane and Rachna Chhabria.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

On the road, Internet is dicey at best.
Apple sure isn't going to make any great advancements anytime soon...

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats on your story being published! What a great way to start the year. I work like you and know the challenges of trying to stick to a writing schedule too, even when you are good at accomplishing goals. I can imagine it is even harder when you are on the road. I think setting smaller goals like you have is good. Happy New Year! Hope it's great.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Yay! for getting published. See? You're already starting the new year good. Whoo hoo!

Ellie Garratt said...

Congratulations on your short story publication, which a brilliant start to 2018!

Your blog post has certainly made me think. It does seem as if there have been no major developments recently, and few of those futuristic films or stories have come true. I want to travel in space already! Despite that, there are tiny, almost imperceptible changes happening. Something as simple as OLED TV and computer screens that mean I don't have to worry about triggering a migraine. A small thing for most people, but a life-changer for me.

Loving your schedule. It can't be easy fitting in writing into your daily routine, so making time is a bonus.

Jan Morrison said...

Yes! Good goals - don't forget carrot and stick when training that donkey that is our mind. You know the stick is our bad feeling when we don't do what we thought we would. But what about the carrot? Hope you had a party or something to celebrate being published. Did ya?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Resolutions are meant to be broken. Goals are more solid. You know what you want to do, now it's just a matter of figuring out how.

Yolanda Renée said...

My computer shut down in the middle of my last comment! Damn, technology and open Wifi! :)

Congratulations on placing LAUGHING AT BUTTERFLIES! Great way to start the New Year, even if I do say so myself! Yay!

Happy 2018!

Wishing you all success with your goals!

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

Good luck with all of your publishing and writing goals. As for living in the future? Eh...the future for me was always Star Trek. I looked at a Star Trek movie yesterday and just thought...wouldn't it be nice if we could move into a society where scarcity was a non-issue? Where people would have all of their needs, i.e., housing, food, etc. taken care of so that all of humanity could come together to explore space? I know, I know, it's a utopia. But it's what the future has always been for me. I think reality is that the future is going to be more what we saw in Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049, a dysfunctional dystopia where scarcity is now at extremes, people are miserable, and life is very hard except for the rich.

Megan Morgan said...

I often feel like we're living in the future too, even without flying cars. When you look at cities like Dubai and Tokyo, they look like the futuristic cities from science fiction movies!

Good luck in you endeavors this year!

IWSG post: Taking Chances

Chrys Fey said...

That is really funny. There are many films and books set in 2020 for the future, and they are far more hi-tech than we are now. What happened? lol

Attainable goals are key. We have to set smaller goals, one we know we will accomplish.

Best of luck to you!

Pat Hatt said...

Yep, movies sure got it wrong. Glad there is no flying cars though, too many idiots.

Getting paid makes it easy to keep a schedule haha

Olga Godim said...

"I'm highly disappointed that flying cars are not an every day purchase." - yes, me too. :))
I don't go with writing schedules or goals for the same reason as you: I don't want to feel guilty if I flunk. But maybe I should set goals and try to stick to them, just like you.
Congrats on your upcoming publication.

Juneta Key said...

Congrats on being published. Happy 2018! Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Denise Covey said...

Hi Donna. Congrats on the publication of LAUGHING AT BUTTERFLIES! Awesome. Your 'schedule' looks hopeful. I'll cheer you along! HNY!

Eden "Kymele" Mabee said...

I've often thought of how we're living in the future of the past (of course, all the recent political talk about 1984 and The Handmaid's Tale certainly have added their share to my musings). I think the real reason we don't have flying cars is the traffic issue. ;-)

I don't know if it would help you at all, but I tend to write well on my phone (I have a Samsung which has a great handwriting recognition system, though Windows also does, if you can convince your tablet PC to access it you're doing well). Have you considered dictating your stories into your phone with an app like the Dragon Dictation app or something similar?

Just a thought.

dolorah said...

Alex: for a while I thought Apple was going to take over the industry.

Natalie: small steps, definitely

Stacy: woo hoo!!

Ellie: we need more medical advancements.

Jan: yep, mini party in the motel room. Not sure the downstairs tenants liked my happy dance though, lol.

Diane: ugh, the how is the problem

Hi Yolanda :)

Mike: I'm all for Utopia, as long as its for everyone.

Megan: I know, Tokyo is really freaky looking.

Hi Chrys: thanks for the inspiration

Patt: I imagine flying idiots are worse than idiot drivers of today.

Thanks Olga

Juneta: good luck in 2018

Dx: Feel free to prod me any time :)

Eden: I always thought the lack of flying cars is about still making money off gasoline. Think of how many dictatorships would fall without the oil trade! Dictating into a phone would still require translation later. I might try it sometime.

C.D. Gallant-King said...

I keep thinking that next year - 2019 - sounds really futuristic. It's all downhill after that. And there's been lots of technological progress in the last 20 years (miniaturization of computers, proliferation of the internet, incredible advances in medicine and physics), just not in the direction we were expecting. No flying cars (which is honestly a good thing, considering how average people drive) and no manned flights anywhere interesting in space (though we have sent robots farther than ever before).

Congrats on your story coming out next week!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Donna, I wish flying cars were a reality, I could do with one in Bangalore, the traffic here sucks. Good luck with all your writing goals for 2018. Hope you get those short stories written and published this year.

Rachna Chhabria
Co-host IWSG
Rachna's Scriptorium

Botanist said...

Glad to hear someone else prefers goals to resolutions. Happy New Year Donna and I hope you reach your goals.

JeffO said...

Congrats on publication! It is a good feeling. And those sound like achievable goals to me. Good for you!

Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats on your publication!

And, yeah, we haven't progressed nearly as quickly in some things as people used to think we would. But we've advanced in other ways they never dreamed of.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Yeah. Where are the flying cars? I like your plans and wish you the best at sticking to them. I have some plans and 4 days into the new year, I'm sticking.

Tamara Narayan said...

Congrats on the publication and making your goals. I would like to continue querying one novel while I work on the first draft of another.

As a mom, I'm not anxious to see flying cars any time soon. We have enough trouble with cars on the ground as it is.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Congrats on the publication of your story! It certainly is hard to write while traveling, but sounds like you have a solid plan in place for when you're back off the road at home.

All the best for the New Year - Ellen

Jemi Fraser said...

I'd love a flying car too!
Congrats on the story being pubbed - that's awesome!!
Good luck with your goals - I'm taking Michelle's advice too. Setting goals is smarter for my wacky life too.

Carol Kilgore said...

Congratulations on your story! Wishing you all good luck on achieving your goals. I finally got my writing goals in place but as yet still do not have a schedule for accomplishing them. Just keep moving forward and don't become discouraged.

Cherie Reich said...

I'm still upset we don't yet have flying cars. I could get to work so much faster if I had one. *sighs*

Best of luck with your goals! Happy New Year!

Gwen Gardner said...

I find it hard to write on the road too. I'm wondering if Dragon would work? Or dictate into a recorder and transcribe later?

Congratulations on your upcoming publication!

And the best of luck on your 2018 goals :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - congratulations on being so determined. Well done too on getting your short story published ... and now I'm sure things will progress this year ... good luck and enjoy 2018 - cheers Hilary

Laurel Garver said...

Congrats on the short story publication. Here's to goals that excite you. I think work goals are easier to keep because there's built in accountability--and painful consequences for not keeping them. Maybe finding a way to create that for your writing goals would help?

Wishing you a wonderful 2018!

klahanie said...

Hi Donna,

That's awesome news about your short story being published as of January 8.

We are mostly in the future. Oh, I blame in on the Jetson's for giving us false expectations of us having flying cars.

Here's to 2018 being a fantastic, inspiring time for you, my kind friend.

Gary 😀

Christine Rains said...

Congrats on the story! I'm good at meeting deadlines when they're given to me too. Yet I'm trying to be nicer to myself this year. Hopefully I can do it! Have a fabulous 2018! :)

Nicki Elson said...

You've sot the goals and you've identified the time frame to accomplish them - sounds like a winning plan. Break it all into baby steps, and you'll get 'er done.

Congrats on the story publication!!

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Happy New Year, Dolorah, and congrats on your published story!

I can only imagine how difficult it is to write on the road. No wonder you find it challenging to stick to a regular schedule. Here's hoping you discover what works best for you this year.

dolorah said...

CD: lets hope it is 'uphill' from here :)

Rachna: Teleportation might even be easier, lol

Bot: you too

JeffO: thank you

Donna: I am constantly amazed

Susan: good for you for sticking

Tamara: how would we equip them with teen-driver technology?

Cynic: Won't be bored at home

Jemi: good luck to you too

Carol: got the hard part done!!

Cherie: thanks

Gwen: I spend my driving time listening to audio books

Hilary: good luck in your new digs

Laurel: yep, built-in accountability helps

Gary: lol, I want the Jetson's maid!!

Christine: hang in there

Nicki: baby steps for the win

JH: thanks

Nick Wilford said...

Congrats! Definitely a great start to the new year. Hope it keeps up in a similar vein and you get all your goals done - they sound doable.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I remember watching Soylent Green (I think I butchered the spelling!). So gross. That was a plot twist that stuck with me for a lifetime.

Good luck hitting your goals for 2018.

Cathy Kennedy said...


The best of luck to you in 2018 to reach your goals to publication. I no longer think about being a book author. It's too taxing. I think whenever I get the bug for creative writing that it'll be all in fun to share with my blog readers. I thought about how we're now living in the future of so many past movies and I'm for one glad there are no flying cars because can imagine the crazy drives we have in something like this?

Anywho, if you're interested, no pressure, my mid-month BoTB is up and toward the bottom of this post. Have a good week and I'll see ya around the cyberblock!

Arlee Bird said...

I've been thinking about Soylent Green lately after having gotten into a discussion with my family about what we would want done with our bodies after we die. The concept of Soylent Green is kind of disgusting but it's also kind of an ultimate form of recycling. Hope it never comes to that, but the author of that story provided some fodder for deep thinking about future things.

I really need to get a better laptop. My recent near month-long vacation was very unproductive as far as doing writing or blogging things. I had wi-fi in all the places I stayed, but it took too long to load things onto my computer and I got very little done.

All the best to you in the coming year.

Tossing It Out

dolorah said...

Thanks Nick

Elizabeth: yeah, it stuck with me too

Cathy: yeah, I'm one of those drivers that I'm glad there are no flying cars. Unless there is an automated system, lol.

Arlee: my family argues with me that cremation is not an issue for them. Since I will be dead and they don't agree with the practice, they will do what they want. I just don't want my body coming to life in the Zombie apocalyps. They do not understand.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I can't imagine trying to fit in writing while on the road all week. Good luck in reaching those goals this year!

Misha Gericke said...

Sounds like you set some good goals and that you're taking a level-headed approach to achieving them. Best of luck!