“Can you come out on New Year’s Eve?” my friends asked me this year.
“No can do,” I replied. “I’m reviewing last year, doing a life-design worksheet, and setting my goals and intentions for 2015.”
“Oh that sounds much more reasonable,” said none of them.
“You run your life like a business,” one of my friends said. I’m taking it as a compliment.
Since I began seriously journaling in 2011, the new year has been a really important milestone for me to take stock of my achievements and shortcomings in the previous year and make a solid plan for how to make the next year rock.
This year, however, my plan wasn’t business oriented like usual. It wasn’t about launching that book I’d been meaning to write forever or learning a new language. This year I am going to do something I’ve been afraid to do since college and publish my short fiction.
This goal is long overdue, and I have my ego entirely to blame. It is painful to realize that I am a professional writer—albeit of nonfiction—and I still can’t write stories on par with my friends who write fiction regularly. After years of writing nonfiction, it comes easily to me. I easily write several articles per workday. Meanwhile, in fiction, every word is a struggle.
I am working on a collection of short stories I am tentatively calling Fan Fiction, based very loosely on my anime convention experiences. I am trying to write half of it this month. I am telling you this now because I want to stay accountable for my goal.
Are you also interested in writing more in 2015? If so, I’d like to share a few of my favorite writing resources with you. All but the third are free:
Pacemaker — Make it NaNoWriMo every month! Pacemaker lets you map out a target word count and holds you accountable to a schedule for achieving it. This is the tool I used to figure out how much I need to write per day to reach 10,000 words by January 1.
Stayfocusd — A Google Chrome app that blocks your timewaster sites for you. Mine is set to only let me access Tumblr, Facebook, and Reddit for 30 minutes per day. As somebody who works from home, this is also a cornerstone of my tenuous productivity!
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks — This book changed my writing for the better because it’s written in a no-nonsense nonfiction way that I really understand. Instead of advising you “go with the flow,” this book lays down real tools and techniques to improve your stories.
Google Drive — I never leave my Internet browser window anyway, might as well choose a word processor that can come with me. I use this for blog posts, journalism articles, and anything else that I care more about being convenient than secure.
Evernote — I don’t always have a notebook when I’m inspired, but I always have at least one mobile device. Evernote syncs on my phone, tablet, and laptop so I can write notes on one and read them later on another.
Sorry for being so quiet these last few post days on Otaku Journalist. Now you know what I’ve had on my mind.