The dreaded planning fallacy has cast a pall over my writing.
I wrote in this blog last year about how my focus has shifted to working on an epic fantasy series, called the Wandering Knife. I had a grand plan for the next twelve months.
My grand plan was simple. Write the first three novels in the series by mid-2020. Sure, writing three fantasy novels in a year was ambitious. But ambitious people are the ones who make stuff happen, right?
Things were going great for a while. I had four months of leave from my day job, and was planning to focus entirely on writing.
But of course, life intervened. I sold a house, bought a new house, and moved. I took two holidays. I relaxed and enjoyed myself probably a bit too often. Oh, and the coronavirus happened. When I returned to my job, I had to shift to working from home which added about 30% to my workload.
Suffice it to say, I didn’t write three novels in a year.
I’d fallen victim to the planning fallacy. My predictions about how long my novels would take to write suffered from an optimism bias. In fact, I would call it a wildly optimistic bias. I fell short of my prediction of how much I could accomplish to the tune of two whole novels.
But what have I accomplished in the last year?
Well, the prequel novella of the Wandering Knife series is done. Again, this has taken longer than expected. Much longer! The first draft of this story was actually written in one day. However, it’s taken me months to polish it to the point where I’m happy with it, and where it ties in neatly with the series. This novella will only be available to subscribers to this website. Stay tuned!
And the best news is that the first novel of the series, Red Harvest Moon, is very close. Touch wood. I need to take another couple of passes to make sure everything is tickety-boo. But my new plan is that it will be published in about three months. Give or take.
The Wandering Knife series is almost underway. It’s almost ready to go. The creative part of my mind is thinking a lot about the shape of book 2, and beyond.
So how can I overcome the planning fallacy in the future? I’m really not sure. I deliberately chose ambitious goals, and although I’ve fallen short, I’ve at least got one novel close to release. I shouldn’t feel too bad about myself. In fact, having a novel ready to unleash after months of radio silence is actually a pretty good feeling.
I just need to get on with it.
See also: The Wandering Knife series announcement.