Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Writing Blueprint

I have never been a fan of New Years resolutions and last year my solution was to make New Years wishes. In my post, New Beginnings, I referred to Emily Starr, a character in the books Emily of New Moon, Emily Climbs, and Emily's Quest, by L.M. Montgomery. In the Montgomery's books Emily is a writer and she often writes letters from her present self to her future self. I contemplated doing the same with my New Years wishes. My thought was to write a letter to myself containing my hopes for the coming year in and asking questions about where I am now and if the things I've wished have happened. The idea being to open this small time–capsule New Years Eve and consider its contents.

Now, as I sit here, I'm attempting to imagine what I would have said and how I would feel upon reading such a missive from my younger self; I wish I'd actually written the letter. What I did do last March was start a wish book which helped me resolve several things in my life. However, I have no desire to read it.

Looking back I recall the types of things I mentally wished for and see I didn't manage to accomplish everything. Somethings in my life have turned out drastically different than I would have imagined and others have worked out better that I would have thought. But I'm happy with what I've done. I've managed to rearrange my schedule to get more writing time, I've grown as a person, I've found a balance which works for me in my creative work and I've currently have 8 submissions out that I'm waiting to hear back on.

In thinking of this I have looked at the coming year as a whole and decided on what some reasonable expectations would be. Now, everyone knows for a wish to come true one must keep it a secret so these plans are not wishes, nor are they resolutions. Resolutions are like chores one doesn't want to do but knows one should and I have no wish to hang that stone around my neck.

Instead my thoughts for this next year take the form of a writing blueprint; an elaborate plan containing all the specific information needed for the construction and completion of a my desired writing project – down to the margins, formatting and type of font required. The following is my blueprint for the next year. It is a continuation of the work I began in October and, when completed, will provide the foundation necessary to ensure I have a growing number of finished pieces to submit to various markets which will hopefully result in publication.

1) First Draft of new story (A Queer Fairytale)
2) Changing Tides (minor revisions and polish and send out) 
3) First Art related article (reproof and send out)
Jan 15th (total = 10)
4) The Wall and Wishes and Dreams (add missing pieces, revise, polish)
5) Memory Files (revisions and polishing)
6) Still, I stand (minor revisions, polish and send out)
Feb 15th (total = 11)
7) Reread The Wall, Wishes and Dreams and Memory Files, put on final polish and send out. Reproof, polish and send out any of the 8 stories currently submitted places, as needed.
(total = 14)
6) Mobri's Dragon (revise)
7) A Queer Fairytale (revise and edit)
8) Write first line story
March 30
9) Continue working on Times Heart and The Trade Off. 
10) Revise first line story and finish the "winding stair" story – find a title for it.
11) Polish and send out first line story, Mobri's Dragon and A Queer Fairytale
June 1st (total = 17)
12) SUMMER BREAK – Break from writing and begin 10 hour days at work and play with fabric, inks, drawing and other visual art type projects, hike, kayak and relax and gather ideas.
13) September 01 take a brief breather. 
14) Assess goals, decide on where I am and where I want to be and revise blueprint as needed. Continue working on pieces to send out and the novels, Times Heart and The Trade Off.

All stories will be constructed in Times New Roman font. Drafts will be stored in individual files marked with the stories title. All submissions will follow the submission guidelines specific to the place they are being submitted. Numbers for items in circulation will be recorded with date of submission, title of story, place submitted and expected response time. The totals specified in the plan take into account those stories currently in the submission pools (starting status = 8). 

Of course, this is just a surface picture of the entire blueprint I'm working from. Like the sketch of a finished house without the nitty gritty plans for each floor. I haven't included blogging, writing excercises, correspondence, research, and the possibility of other new work arising within the course of the year. I have simply worked with the stories currently finished or underway. And the deadlines, as in any project, may be shifted as lifes crises arrise. But, if I follow the plan I should end up with the minimum end result – a growing collection of completed, polished work and increasing options.

And as I ponder resolutions, wishes and plans I'm struck with the realization that they largely reflect the things which are important in some way, changes and progress towards a goal that matters and I wonder if everyone wrote theirs down what they would all look like.

Photos: Above right taken at dusk in Haines Junction 2009 Easter weekend. Above left taken in 2005 at a small forestry day use/ trail head camp just before Stewart BC.

No comments:

Post a Comment