Author Big Year: Winding down a long year

With 14 days to go, I can accurately round up this exhausting writing year. This Big Year actually commanded a number of daily strictures, to do with rising time, concentration focus, and organisational methods – these were honored in theory (they were at the top of my mind each and every day, but messy 2019 swamped them every now and then), but I won’t report on the detailed results (I did keep stats).

More vital were the overall writing hours per day. The Big Year demanded 6½ hours each day. How did I do? Only a bit over 5 hours a day, which represents a 20% shortfall. I also really, really wanted to focus on the nuclear book and targeted 4½ hours a day. Here I fell even more behind, clocking up only 3 daily hours.

So 2019 as a writing push, a Big Year of 6½/4½ hours each day, something that sounds routine (I mean, that’s just a morning, right?), proved to be beyond me.

I could and should call this Big Year a failure. It wasn’t and I’ll explain my reasoning in a later post, when I’ve thought it through a bit more fully. That said, I certainly can’t call 2019 a resounding success.

Indeed, since I began the Big Decade at age 60, I’ve included a massive writing push in each year: the 2016 Writing Big Year, the 2017 Writing Big Year, the 2018 1,000 [words] Big Year, and now the 2019 Author Big Year. They’ve had varying emphases and aims and methodologies, but they’ve placed writing at the center of my “let’s obsess daily” approach to living. Looking back now, all four writing Big Years have generated worthy results but none have been resounding successes, and only now can I discern why.\

Daily obsession does not work well with huge projects. It’s simply too difficult to guaranteed huge blocks of time every day. Life gets in the way. Setbacks quickly demoralise. Perhaps most significant is the realisation that big projects need a project management approach, not a simplistic daily “get up and do it” mechanism. Conclusion: I’ll not do a big-writing-project Big Year again, at least not for the next couple of years.

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