Happy New Year! I know it’s weird to still say that more than halfway through the month, but because of vacation and illness I got a late start to the new year. Then we had a holiday yesterday so today really feels like the first official day of this year to me. Which is great, because I’m excited about this year and ready for it to start.
Even with a delay though, the year is already off to a good start. I spent the first week of the new year with my family in Florida reading by the pool and having breakfast on the patio every morning, which was a great way to prep for an exciting year. I also signed a contract for a new short story that will be published in March and I got a potentially exciting email that I hope to be able to share more about soon.
I’m not just waiting around for good news though. I have an ambitious agenda for this year professionally and that’s where the topic of this newsletter comes in. I’ve always been the sort who knows the value of planning and organization in theory but has trouble executing it in reality. This likely had a lot to do with my undiagnosed, though heavily suspected, ADHD. Now that I’ve found the right meds for that, I’m finding my head is clear enough to start adopting the processes I need to make sure I get everything done I need to in a timely manner.
The most obvious of these is using a planner and the calendar and reminders app on my phone. I’ve always used the calendar on my phone to keep track of where I need to be and when using notifications to keep my on track. This has made a huge difference and being able to combine it with Siri voice controls has been a godsend to my brain. But I also find that once a week copying down my reminders and appointments into a paper planner calms me and really imprints the appointments on my brain. I started using a Passion Planner last year and really enjoyed it. I hope to make full use of it this year. It has a lot of goal tracking and reflections features that I find very helpful. I’m even using stickers in my planner!
For the actual writing work that I need to do, I am finally ready to admit that I’m an outliner from here on out. I’ve resisted it for years, thinking that doing any kind of advance work would ruin my creativity or put me in a box or whatever. That turns out to be nonsense (for me at least) and after wasting almost a decade on a book that went nowhere, I’m finding the more advance work I do on a project the more creative I become because I’m not always worrying in the back of my mind whether or not this project will fall apart in the middle or at the end like all of my other have. I’m also journaling more and moving it completely digital.
I’m using Day One to keep a daily fact journal that’s just a bullet list of the main points of my day. Where I went, what I did, what I read or watched. That sort of stuff. I’m also keeping a more traditional journal every few days with longer and deeper entries that help me work through personal issues and professional issues as well as letting me work out story and structural problems in my writing. I used to keep these by hand, by handwriting has started to take a toll on my wrists and I find the digital journal is easier to read months later and is less stress on my wrists.
I hope the new year finds you as excited about your life and your work as I am, and I hope you find your own way to organize your thoughts and your life to make the most of both.