Later this month, I plan on announcing my publishing plans for 2014. I don't normally do that, but then I don't normally have the time to dedicate to writing from the offset.
Last January was an anomaly. I was lucky to get home early almost every night while on teaching placement. This gave me time to make tea in the comfort of my own home, work at my own desk and at my own pace, and free myself from the distractions that arise from the wonderful people I call my friends. (I would want to talk to them all the time - it's just easier to blame them for being so distracting than it is to accept that it's actually just my own fault. This doesn't count as a confession because it's in brackets. Obviously.)
With all of that in mind, I was able to write a book in the evenings, after I had my lessons planned for the next day. That book would become Planning Before Writing. I did not know when I started writing it that I would be able to publish it in March.
This December, I've already begun planning my publishing schedule. There are a couple of things I need to work on doing, still, and a couple of books that - when I announce the schedule - will be untitled, but overall I have a plan of what I'll be doing next year. This is unheard of for me.
What's changed? I'm not in college. I don't have exams to dread in May. I don't have essays due in throughout the year. I don't have teaching placement in January. Unless things change drastically for me, I'm looking at working only three and a half days a week on average - two in the bookshop, the remainder of the time minding my niece.
Effectively, my time is freed up completely at the time of the year when I'm most able to focus: January. It's been a need to develop that for the past few years, and last year I had the added bonus of creating a New Year's Resolution that would keep me writing consistently for a long time.
But let's just be clear on something: I didn't stick to it this year. There are days that I didn't write anything. By the time I'd written a poem every day for two months and blogged every day for that amount of time, too, I just ran out of things to say. Okay, not entirely true. I actually just hit a slump one week, and it took a while to get the ball rolling again. I'm still not entirely sure what happened, there.
What's different this time around is that I'm not just planning on writing every day. I'm not giving myself a big list of options to work from. I'm focusing entirely on one project at a time. It'll make more sense, soon, but effectively I'm giving myself assignments like I'd have in college, and using my time to create whatever book or article it is that I'm supposed to do.
This is my self-made work. It's all things I'm passionate about, things I've been wanting to do for a long time, now, and just never got around to doing. I'm approaching 2014 with a clear plan in mind, and I'm going to make sure that I actually stick to it. It's not just a hobby any more. This is work. This is business.