It’s that time of year — January — when the pages of life are once again fresh and new just waiting to be written upon. Many people use this turning of the calendar year to look back on what they have done and forward to what they hope to accomplish. Some make resolutions, while others, like me, make plans.
January is the time of year when I like to consider what I want to accomplish within the next year; however, planning is not an activity that is unique to January for me. In fact, I make writing plans on a monthly and weekly basis.
On my wall, above my desk, I have three small monthly calendars on and under which I list my writing/editing projects that are to happen in each month. As a month concludes, I remove the old month and add in a new month, shifting everything over. Next to that, I have what I call my “big rocks” chart.
Have you ever heard the illustration using a jar and rocks, pebbles, and sand? Well, if you do not fill the jar with the big rocks first, you will not be able to get them in after the sand and/or pebbles have been placed in the jar. The big rocks on my chart are five categories that I believe to be vital to running my author business. (The items listed under each heading are smaller items that build the category.)
I will list my five big rock categories below with a few notes about what I hope to accomplish in 2017.
- Admin: (“boring” bits of business — keeping and organizing receipts, paying bills, keeping track of memberships, and the like)
- This year, my goal for this category is to do a better job organizing my receipts each month instead of waiting to do it in January.
Recharge (books, art, music, movies, anything that refills the creative well)
- My goal this year is to not ignore this or treat it as frivolous as I am wont to do at times.
- Audience: (social media, forums, my blog, Austen Authors, my newsletter — places where I can interact with people who might read my books; this area also involves creating pretty graphics to share)
- I have one thing planned for this category, but I will explain that below.
- Learning: (learning about writing and business, researching, reading genre books and Jane Austen Novels)
- You may wonder why I put genre books here rather than under recharge. Well, they actually cross categories, but when I read for this category, I study the book, attempting to understand what it is about a particular book that has captured my attention. There are books that I read this last year upwards of five times just looking at the way action moved forward quickly, how description made me feel like I was there, and how the author made me love the characters. This is not just pleasure reading — although it is indeed pleasurable!
I do a very similar thing when reading Jane Austen’s novels. I take my time and pause to think about why a character might be the way he or she is or what was happening during that casually mentioned period of time that happened between scenes. I also ask questions like what if the events happened differently?
- I plan to read Sense and Sensibility this year. Yes, I have only slotted one book for the year. I may end up reading more, but this is the one I wish to spend time with over the year.
- I was curious about which Jane Austen Novels others might be reading this year and posted a poll on Austen Author’s Facebook Group. I was happy to see so many people planning to read Miss Auten’s novels! Below are the results.
47 people plan to read Pride and Prejudice this year
28 people will be reading Persuasion
13 people will be reading Sense and Sensibility like me
9 people will be reading Northanger Abbey
9 people will be reading Mansfield Park (One of my very favourites and one that I am certain to not be able to resist reading at least in part this year — even if it is not planned)
8 people plan to take on Emma in 2017
7 people will be enjoying the scheming of Lady Susan
1 person will be reading Juvenalia
and 1 person will be reading Sanditon
- Product Production: (all the fun stuff involved with making a book ready for publication)
- My 2017 goal is to publish six to eight books.
- I am also planning to take a step into some new writing areas. I hope to eventually write at least one Austenesque story (of whatever length) for each of Jane Austen’s novels. I would also like to put together another Teatime Tales collection of short stories, but this time, I would like them to be Austen-inspired original fairy tales (in other words, not fairy tale retellings but my own creations using standard fairy tale elements). A sample original fairy tale that I wrote a couple years ago can be found on the Writer’s Block Forum.
These two things kind of terrify me (as most new things do at first), and I would really like some help. So this brings me to the audience thing that I mentioned earlier.
- First, I am going to ask a couple of questions below that I would love to have answered in the comments. Second, I have created a private Facebook group called Leenie’s Sweeties. It is for those who are fans of my books and would like to help promote them. But it is also a place where I plan to have discussions regarding the creation of these new Austenesque and fairy tale stories. If you would like to be part of this group, click the graphic below to be taken to the group page.
Now for those questions I mentioned. Pick a Jane Austen book with which you are familiar (maybe it is one you read last year or one you are planning to reread this year). Next, consider the following questions and write an answer to one or both in the comment thread.
- If this story element was missing from a story that claimed to be an Austenesque adaptation of the Jane Austen novel you are thinking about, you would cry foul and chuck the book into the “just a regular story” pile. In other words, what particular story element is essential for a story to claim Austenesque status? When responding, please indicate the Jane Austen novel upon which your answer is based.
- If asked to choose a character from the Jane Austen novel you are thinking about to star in a fairy tale, which character would you pick and what would you think his/her story line should be? (For example: what do they need to learn, what do they need to be happy, how are they deserving of true love, etc.) You may choose more than one character if you wish, but again, please indicate the novel upon which your answer is based.
Would you like to possibly earn a reward for your answer(s)? Then make sure you use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for your chance to win one of two JT Originals Austen Men in Film Plus Two calendars (for making plans and finding inspiration).
Contest is open internationally and closes at 11:59 PM EST on January 20, 2016.
Entries MUST be submitted through Rafflecopter.