Wide photo of a heavily wooded lake in northern Wisconsin.

Re-Embracing an Artist’s Discipline

I spent the last few days without internet or phone service, with nothing to do but play in the water with my family, read (on the bench swing or while sitting on a chair plopped in two feet of water), write, and think. While it was a little frustrating to not drop into my usual habits of spending time online, it was super productive and helped me develop my career plan for the next twelve months.

As both a freelancer and an indie writer, I need to be responsible for driving both of my careers. Neither will progress without my direct action. Having a plan is really helpful for focusing my efforts in a useful direction. Without a plan, most careers merely tread water and many eventually flounder. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a formal structured business plan, but it definitely needs to be more defined than “write some stuff and get published” or “get new clients.” How much detail you include really depends on what your career needs at this moment, and what works best for you. We aren’t all wired the same. I’m goal-oriented and very fond of lists, so my plan is a table with lists of the activities or goals I need to complete each month; freelancing is in one column and fiction writing is in the other.

Giant moss native and endemic to North America.

While preparing for and attending Diversicon back in July, I did some research on gaining traction and becoming successful as an indie writer. My primary focus in this regard is stepping up my game. I used to be very disciplined about my writing goals, but that fell away when I was burned out from a crappy work environment. The chaos of going through a career change prevented me from establishing a routine. I’ve been working on returning to my old level of discipline with original world and fanfic challenges. My work life has stabilized and my kids go back to school in September, so I’m ready and excited to step up my fiction writing.

Golden patterns of sunlight reflected onto the sandy bottom of a lake.

In the next few weeks I’ll be plotting out the two sequels I have planned for Something Familiar. I’ll also be picking up regular writing sprints to get the creativity flowing and generate some stories that I can ideally share here and on Curious Fictions. When the kids return to school, I’ll be focusing on writing the first one with a fast track plan for publication before the end of the year. It’s well within my abilities, and I’m eager to make this happen.

Buckle up; we’re going for a ride!

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Author of adult and young adult speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, dark fiction)

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