Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable
Posts tagged planning
2018 - New Adventures, More Good Stuff


On this day last year, I wrote a post about my goals for 2017. It wasn't a resolution post, because resolutions are about what you want to change, and I wanted to focus on keeping up the things that were working in my life. A lot has changed on its own since then, but the good stuff remains, broadly, the same. So here's how I did and what I'm going to do about it this year.

Write More

Last Year

Well that certainly worked out. Last year I wrote half a first draft for a paranormal romance while I was querying. It got back-burnered when publishing offers for The Pick Up came in, and also because it turns out I need to learn some world building techniques, but I was more than halfway through when I shelved it. I'll come back to it someday. After that, I wrote and polished the full draft of The Hang Up and I have to say I'm super proud of it.

This Year

Just keep swimming, right? I'm starting the Set Up. It's due in July, but I'm hoping to get it done earlier. After that? Who knows? So many little plot bunnies in my head. I even picked up a new one this weekend about a marriage that ends in an IKEA. So I'm just going to keep on writing until the plot bunnies are all out.

Work More

Last Year

Oh boy did I work. I survived a merger, hired a new team member, managed ten people and struggled to meet the needs and expectations of several hundred. Then I took on a second job by signing on to write three books for Riptide. So yeah. I worked.

This Year

Those of you who follow me on Medium will also know that I quit my job late last year. On the surface of it, the timing looks like I did it so I could write full time, but the reasoning is more complicated than that. I'm going to take some time to figure out what the next best professional step for me will be. This is not retirement. I'm 36 and there are bills to pay so I'm still going to have to work this year. I'm just going to do it on my terms. What that looks like, on this second day of the year, is largely TBD.

Relax More

Last Year

Well I did my best. We traveled. I went to GRL and met some awesome people. I did a few writers weekends. I spent an unexpected week at my parents'. I also took on the aforementioned second job via book writing which is, actually, relaxing for me, but did add some extra pressure to my life at the same time.

This Year

Well, without that 40-hour a week commitment of my office job, there is the potential to relax more. I keep hearing that I'm going to fill my time so fast I'll wonder how I ever managed to fit a job in there. I'm okay with that as long as, for the most part, I fill it with things that are satisfying. I loved my co-workers, but I used to expend a lot of energy being 'on' at my job. If I can expend that same energy towards really satisfying work this year, I will probably find my mental health is all the better for it.

Hang Out More

Last Year

I tried. Really. I stage managed a play and went to some writers meet ups, and spent more time with family. But the short story is I'm a solid introvert and I like my alone time. Plus I had a book to write so, you know, hermit.

This Year

When Jay and I started talking about me leaving my job, the second thing he said was "I'm worried you'll never leave the house." He knows me so well. We should have an over/under on how many days I can hang out in this house before I start to get cabin fever. My money is on 12. This year, I'm going to have to actively look for opportunities to connect with people in person. If you're in the GTA and need a writerly coffee date, I'm your girl!!

So that's the plan for 2018. I'm sure I'll find I'm wrong about at least 50% of this. This time last year, I could not have imagined I'd be working on the third instalment of a 3-book contract and that I'd have left the corporate world in my rearview mirror. Undoubtedly, 2018 will have all sorts of unforeseen twists in it that will derail this plan by March. I'll keep you posted.

How about you? What good stuff are you going to try to hang on to this year?


Writing on an Iron Stomach (10 Days to 20k, Day 5)

IMG_1597 In sixth grade, my mom came as a volunteer to my school and taught everyone in my class how to touch type. I have no idea if this is a skill still taught these days. It smacks of secretarial pools, but I gotta say it's been invaluable in my lifetime. It means I wrote papers at school faster than my classmates, and it's meant turning out reports on time at work, even when the crunch is on.

More importantly, it means I can type in a moving vehicle without puking my guts out, because I can look around, even as my brain and my fingers are generating stories.

Key skill. If you're a writer on the go, learn it. If you're one of those people who gets motion sick just thinking about this idea, I am very sorry. I don't know how I would cope.

I said a couple days ago I would talk about my planner. I meant to do it yesterday, but I was covered in family, so there wasn't really time for me to do it properly. I did mention yesterday that I've been part of Shaunta Grimes' Ninja Writers community for a little over a year and a half. Shaunta's tools have been invaluable to me, and one of the things she swears by is an Erin Condren LifePlanner. I try to keep my life organized on my phone, but as I stared down the barrel of finishing two books in the next twelve months, I knew I was going to need something to keep all my thoughts and ideas together.

I looked at the LifePlanners, but I admit they're pricey, especially once you work in the exchange rate to my Canadian dollar and the cost of shipping. But, lo and behold, I was at my local bookstore a couple weeks ago, and didn't they have knock off LifePlanners with all the pages I needed!

img_1567.jpgReader, I bought one. I thought the cover was appropriate as I launch my baby writing career.

The inside goes from August 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018. I doubt everything will be written, edited, and published by then, but I'll be well on my way. Each month gets a calendar-at-a-glance page where I keep track of daily word counts, important dates (publisher deadlines, conferences, days I know I'll get no writing done), and then there are note pages for each day where I can make notes to my future drafting self and editing self on things I need to remember. Sometimes they're little things like what colour are Sebastien's eyes????,  and other times they're more weighty questions like what the hell is the point of this scene???? Either way, they're good to have in one place.

How do you keep yourself organized?

We spent about six hours in the car today. I hit over 4,000 words. I'm starting to think I should have set a higher goal. 10 days to 30k? Can we do it?

10 Days to 20k Summary Day: 5 Words Written Today: 4,049 Total Words Written: 14,798 Words Left: 5,202 Percent Complete: 74%