M.H. Norris

It’s hard to believe that we’re already several weeks into 2019.

As some of you know, the last half of 2018 was hard on me both personally and professionally. I mentioned a couple of times that there were weeks were all I wrote was this column. My to-do list would continue to grow, and I would put it off, and now I’m reaping the consequences of my previous apathy.

It’s not a great feeling, feeling like you’ve dropped the ball and knowing it’s your own fault. And it doesn’t help you feel particularly inspired to become productive when you feel like you’re drowning.

Finally, I told myself that enough was enough. I’ve got deadlines coming and I’ve got to write again. I’ve got several short stories, books to edit, books to write, some projects I can’t talk about quite yet, and some things I want to do for fun.

Plus research. That’s going to have to be something I do an article on. I remember when I did the research for Notches and I spent a month straight studying serial killers and introducing myself to the police procedural genre. These days, I tend to write things that stay in my existing bubble of knowledge (though I do keep up to date on the latest forensic developments – always be sure to keep your knowledge current).

I’m challenging myself. Trying to reignite that love I had years ago. Enjoy the process of embracing my inner Ravenclaw and learning new things.

But with impending deadlines and my desire to push myself more in my writing this year, I’ve got to stay on task. I cannot let myself fall into the complacency of last year.

So Let’s Talk About the Schedule

I want to experiment with a writing schedule of sorts. I’ve got several projects that are due in the months to come and others where I need to begin the research.

There are seven days in the week. I figured that I can work on various projects on different days of the week. By designating that a specific day is this project’s day, I can allow myself to focus on that and not feel overwhelmed.

Then, as projects get done, I can give their days to other projects. Hopefully within a couple of months, I’ll only have a couple going because I’ve gotten caught up. That means I’ve got to push myself these first couple of months but maybe that’s what I need to get these creative juices flowing.

It’s weird for me. Making schedules, planning my outlines, and I realized that it’s different to how I wrote before. But that doesn’t make it bad. In fact, it’s probably a good thing that I embrace planning more but give myself room to pants things on occasion.

Maybe by writing about it here, it will hold me more accountable.

I’m so excited for what this year has in store for me as a writer and personally. Some of you know I recently got a new day job and moved several states away. I feel like it’s a year of new chapters for me.

Later this year, the first full-length All the Petty Myths will come out and I’ve got ideas for the next two (I hope to write both this year – at least rough drafts). I’m also writing my first RPG scenario for Laser Kittens (it’s something I’m rather excited about since it’s like nothing I’ve ever done before), and other things I can’t talk about quite yet.

But to get there, I’ve got to put in the work. And if that involves me making a schedule right now to make sure I get everything done in time for deadlines, than that’s what I’m going to do.