Bimonthly Goals: January to February

Happy New Year! I know it’s been a month since my last post, but a lot of things happened over the Christmas break that threw me for a loop: deaths in the family, academic delays, and even a stomach bug that nearly ruined the first few days of 2017 for me. And I’m not out of the woods yet; as of this writing, my academic career remains in a state of suspended animation because of the delays in the release of my exam results. Don’t even get me started with my renewed interest in current events, either. 
In spite of all of this, I’ve decided that I’m going to put down some goals for myself. It’s not a terribly original idea–Jenna Moreci and Kristen Martin (among other authors) have been making themselves accountable on YouTube for their writing goals–but I figured that if I’m going to do something different for this year, then I might as well put something down in writing where everyone else can see it. 
1. Finish my #romanceclass2017 manuscript. If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I’ve been posting word counts for a new #romanceclass manuscript that I’m hoping to finish by the end of February. This time, the stakes are pretty high, and everything is contingent on me having a polished manuscript that’s ready for review by the deadline. What makes this especially difficult is not just the demands on my time–which are different from the ones I went through during NaNoWriMo–but the various tangents that this manuscript has taken from the original outline. But I’m honing my instincts as I go, so I’m hoping to get back on the horse as soon as I can.
1.5. Write at least 500 words a day. This is more of a long-term goal for the year, and it’s easier said than done–there are a lot of spots on my spreadsheet where I’ve written 0 words for the day. But this is a workable goal for me; a scene can take me at least 500-800 words to type over the span of an hour, and if that’s all I can spare for the day, then I’ll take what I can get. That said, I’m planning some writing marathons for this weekend, so I’m hoping I can get my daily word count fixed before school starts again. 

2. Finalize the print edition for Crushingly Close. After much soul-searching, I’ve decided that I’m going to do an indie run for this book, mostly because I want this book out as soon as possible and I can’t let everyone wait a moment longer for this to be published traditionally. Do I still want to see this in bookstores? Yes, possibly, but at this point I think the timing is just right for me to get this new book out while I still can. If all goes well, I can have this out by the #romanceclass event at Ayala Museum on February 11–but either way, if I can do this within two months, then I’ll be all set. 
3. Read at least 3-4 books. So many new books are coming out, but most of my reading at this point is related to filling up the well that’s been taken up by #romanceclass–which means that there are a few reads that are falling by the wayside. (Sorry, Cormoran Strike.) I’ve already gotten started on Beard Science by Penny Reid (love the banter and the small-town setting), which I’m following up with Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand (heard many good things about this), but everything after that (apart from my brother’s new book and the new Charlotte Stein that I’ve pre-ordered) is up in the air. At least I’ll be able to hold off on more purchases until March. 
4. Post one new blog entry every week. It might not always be every Monday like I tried to do in October and November, but I want to make sure that I keep in touch with you at least once a week to let you know what I’ve been up to lately. So far what I have planned for this blog is to start talking about the writing process again, since I’ve been inspired by the series of blog posts that I did during NaNoWriMo. You’ll probably hear more about me doing writerly stuff with things like Scrivener, beta readers, and optimum caffeine intake (more on this later)–but it’ll be fun, I promise. 
5. Monitor caffeine intake. I have a love-hate relationship with caffeine. I can’t live with it (lest I end up crawling the walls) but I can’t write without it (see also: my word-count spreadsheets) which means I have to pick and choose my battles. You’ll hear more about it in another blog post, but for now I want to let you know that I’m choosing to live with it, and the consequences that may come out as a result. 
6. Use all of my planners. I have a pocket planner for quick appointments and a daily diary for my prayer time (more of a personal goal than a writing goal). This leaves me with an extra planner that I’ll have to use for my medium-to-long term planning. I don’t have a system in place this year (unlike last year when I experimented with bullet journaling) but I miss taking time every weekend to look at what I need to do for the week. Here’s hoping I can get more things done this way. 
Let’s see how this new system goes for us! Here’s to a productive 2017. 

Love, Stella

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Stella Torres

is the author of the adult contemporary romances Save the Cake, Crushingly Close, and Nine Years Away, as well as the short story “Be Creative” in the anthology Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Vol. 1.

In her previous life, she has worked in public relations, taught English as a second language, and even attended graduate school (twice!). She has lived in Indonesia, Honolulu, and Quezon City before moving back to her hometown of Los Banos, a few hours’ drive (with traffic) from the heart of Manila.

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