Review of 2016 Writing Goals

Meant to have this posted earlier, but life keeps getting in the way, as done sickness which I am just now recovering from. Anyway, let’s see how we did with those writing goals for 2016. Red text below goal indicates how I did.

Olague: My novel Olague is going to be my main writing focus for the year. I’d like to throw out something like “get half the book written” or even a third, but I know this is neither likely nor feasible with my current work and life schedule (of course, if the above thing happens that was hinted at that will change things a little). So I’m just going to say: get more writing done with Olague. Even if it’s just another chapter, at least something; though I hope it’ll be a lot more than one additional chapter.

So Olague did not become the main focus of the year, a little thing called Ostium did (see below). I did however get three hefty chapters done. And with the main work on Ostium looking to be completed in the next week or two, I am planning to return to this novel full force at that point.

Stories: I’ve got two short story ideas kicking around in the noggin that I jotted down a few notes for in case they disappear entirely from my head. I’d like to get those two stories written in some form this year.

The stories didn’t get written because of that little thing called Ostium again (see below), however I did get some ideas for new stories and fortunately jotted down what notes I had.

Submit Stories: Continue submitting stories for publication each month, including editing and getting the long story that was written in 2015 submitted to at least one publication by the end of the year.

I did do this and the high point of the year was I got an “Honorable Mention” for Writers of the Future, meaning I need to get back to submitting that story this year along with it’s “almost publication” tag.

Ostium: This is my podcast series I’m working on with a friend. The first episode script is written and ready and now it’s just a case of getting it recorded. For 2016, I’d like to get the first episode recorded and ready, and the scripts for the second and third episodes written.

So this project this year took off big time and ended up being the focus for the year. I ended up writing ten episodes and a bunch of mini episodes amounting to around 50,000 words, so that’s where all my work and energy went. We got a good chunk of the episodes recorded in the fall and winter and the last few in January. The first episode was released January and you can find out all about it on the Ostium website.

BONUS: So here’s a bonus goal, should I need something extra to work on. My novel White Horse is completed in first draft and has been waiting for some editing for a few years now, but I’ve never quite found the time to get around to it. I think the reason for this is because I felt it wasn’t quite right as the novel that it is. It’s taken me a while to figure out what this means and I think I finally have. I originally started the book as a novella, but then it grew into a novel. Now thinking on it for the last few years, while it was fun and interesting writing the whole book, I believe it still wants to be a novella, and needs to get edited down to that. So that can be the extra credit project for the year.

Hahah. Nope. Who knows when this will ever happen. But I always have it as a backup should I need something to work on.

Advertisements

Writing Goals for 2016

This year I’m expecting something to happen which will lessen my job work and give me more free time to do things like write. The problem is while I’m pretty sure this thing is going to happen in 2016, I have no idea when. So for now – and I know I say this every year I set my writing goals – I’m going to keep it short and sweet for goals with hopes of completing them all.

  1. Olague: My novel Olague is going to be my main writing focus for the year. I’d like to throw out something like “get half the book written” or even a third, but I know this is neither likely nor feasible with my current work and life schedule (of course, if the above thing happens that was hinted at that will change things a little). So I’m just going to say: get more writing done with Olague. Even if it’s just another chapter, at least something; though I hope it’ll be a lot more than one additional chapter.
  2. Stories: I’ve got two short story ideas kicking around in the noggin that I jotted down a few notes for in case they disappear entirely from my head. I’d like to get those two stories written in some form this year.
  3. Submit Stories: Continue submitting stories for publication each month, including editing and getting the long story that was written in 2015 submitted to at least one publication by the end of the year.
  4. Ostium: This is my podcast series I’m working on with a friend. The first episode script is written and ready and now it’s just a case of getting it recorded. For 2016, I’d like to get the first episode recorded and ready, and the scripts for the second and third episodes written.
  5. BONUS: So here’s a bonus goal, should I need something extra to work on. My novel White Horse is completed in first draft and has been waiting for some editing for a few years now, but I’ve never quite found the time to get around to it. I think the reason for this is because I felt it wasn’t quite right as the novel that it is. It’s taken me a while to figure out what this means and I think I finally have. I originally started the book as a novella, but then it grew into a novel. Now thinking on it for the last few years, while it was fun and interesting writing the whole book, I believe it still wants to be a novella, and needs to get edited down to that. So that can be the extra credit project for the year.

Review of 2014 Writing Goals

Since we’re working our way steadily through 2015 now, with January approaching its end, it’s time to look at my writing goals for 2014 and see how I did. And then next week I’ll be putting up my writing goals for 2015. The goals from last year are listed below with commentary in blue.

1. A new edit/copyedit of Kyra: The First Book of EnchantusThe book is currently on Amazon, but CreateSpace has opened up further distribution channels, and before I make my book available through these new channels, I want to do another run through and catch any typos, etc. And the good news is I’ve already gotten a start on this.

This goal was achieved relatively early on in the year, much to my delight, and the new revised edition, the second edition essentially, is up and available on Amazon and through further distribution channels.

2. Self-publish Erotica story. I have an erotica story I wrote that I want to get up on Amazon. It will be published under a pseudonym. At the moment I’m having a friend work on the cover.

This goal was also achieved in the first half of the year with a fantastic cover and it’s now up on Amazon and Smashwords. If you’re interested, shoot me an email at alex@bookbanter.net.

3. Edit “The Innkeeper’s Wife.” This is a short story I wrote last year, and I want to get it edited and finished through another draft or two and then start submitting it for publication.

This goal was completed and I was really happy with how the final edit turned out. I submitted it to the New Yorker, because you always have to start at the top – right? – and haven’t heard anything back, so will be submitting it to other publications through 2015.

4. Submit stories. Continue submitting stories for publication.

This I did do throughout the year and had one particular story get accepted which I will explain under goal #5. I also started a new story late in the year which I need to get back to soon.

5. Write stories. I’ve get a couple of story ideas up my sleeve that I’d like to get written down this year.

Early on in the year I’d submitted an old vampire story I wrote to an anthology seeking vampire stories, which was rejected, so I’d decided to write another vampire story to submit to the anthology, which I managed to get written and edited through a couple of drafts and submitted before the deadline. Then later on in the year I was delighted to hear that the story had been accepted for the anthology, These Vampires Still Don’t Sparkle, which was released in December and is now available in ebook and print and can be found here

6. Start the book. By “the book” I mean the novel idea that jumped into my head last year and wouldn’t let go. I need to do some more research and work on it, but I’d like to get that close to completion and hopefully get some start on the book, even if it’s just the first line or first page.

This goal was not achieved, however I wasn’t too hopeful that it would be and that is mainly because just as in 2013 I had a big change in my life with the birth of my son, I started a new job midway through 2014 working for the United States Post Office as a letter carrier. It took a lot of time and energy learning the job and once the holiday season hit I had to basically shut down my writing as I was often working 12-hour days. Nevertheless, I did get some further research and plotting and planning done, as well as creating my map for my made-up town and filling in a lot of details, so in a way the goal was a completed.

Overall, I think this might be my most successful year yet for setting reasonable goals for 2014 and pretty much achieving them all. I think the key was knowing how much I could set myself to actually achieve, and will need to apply the same rubric for my 2015 goals.

Writing Goals Achieved in 2012

As we now slough through the cold January of 2013, it’s time to look at how I did with my writings goals I set for myself around this time last year.  The original post can be found here.

GOAL #1: Hit Page 500 of Wyrd.  The goal for the manuscript I’m working on, Wyrd, this year is to hit page 500.  One might say this should be the end of the book with how it’s going, but I have a feeling I’m going to hear page 500 and have more story to tell, so we’ll just have to see.

Okay, while I didn’t hit page 500 of the Wyrd manuscript as I’d hoped, I did essentially achieve my writing goal of finishing Part Three of the book, which was a huge long chunk.  I’m now at on page 455 and am pretty confident I’ll be hitting and passing page 500 at some point in 2013.  You can find the Wyrd progress report post here.  Also as predicted, the manuscript is nowhere near complete, and probably isn’t even at half way.

GOAL #2: To be half ready with White HorseBy this I mean to have the manuscript half-edited, or either in a second or third draft, but at the halfway point of being completely edited.  I have a feeling I might get more done than this, but want to hedge my bets with the other projects I’m working on.  One thing I do know about this manuscript is that I’m going to change the name.

This did not happen.  I did get part way through a re-read, which I will continue with in 2013 and working through an edit, but with the number of goals I set up for myself for 2012, I feel I once again stretched myself too thin.  I also had some big changes in my life in 2012, including getting a new job and moving, which totally changes my planned writing schedule and makes it hard to create a new one.  But work will continue with White Horse in 2013.

GOAL #3: Begin work on second Four Horsemen book.  White Horse is the first book in a four-book series involving four separate and distinct post-apocalyptic worlds.  This goal is to get started on the second book, whether it’s with research, outlining, or writing out the first couple of pages, but to get it started in some way.

Er . . . yeah, see above for this.  I could say I started a very little bit on this with thinking about it in my mind, and a few things have started to take shape, but nothing really concrete yet.  It’s possible towards the end of 2013 I may start working on this in some capacity, but we will just have to wait and see.  I once again know a big life change coming in 2013, so I’m going to be a lot more lenient with my 2013 writing goals.

GOAL #4: Write 2-4 short stories. Since this worked well for last year’s goal, I’m setting it again for this year.

I got one full short story written this year, and it ended up being a pretty long one – was over the length of two regular short stories, so that should count!  I also have a couple of ideas in my head still wanting to get on the screen, so maybe in 2013.

GOAL #5: Self-publish two short story collections.  This is already in process, I have the cover and layout set for the first collection, called Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers, and hope to self-publish it on Smashwords later this month.  The second collection, In That Quiet Earth, I plan to self-publish  in March or April.

This got done and both short story collections were self-published over the course of the year and widely read.  They can be downloaded for free through Smashwords: Unquiet Slumbers for the Sleepers and In That Quiet Earth.

GOAL #6: Self-Publish Kyra: The First Book of EnchantusMy young adult fantasy book that I’m currently in the process of getting ready for self-publishing.  I don’t plan to get this self-published until the summer, say June or July.

This also happened, and was very happy with how the process went, and it was a very educational one.  Kyra: The First Book of Enchantus can be purchased in both ebook and print edition.

GOAL #7: Start work on the the second book of Enchantus.  Depending on how things go with self-publishing Kyra, but if things take off and it sells well and there is demand for the sequel, then I plan to start work on it in some way, whether it’s outlining and/or writing.  I would really like to do this and am excited to see what story would come out of it.

With the slow moving process of self-publishing Kyra and it’s not hitting any real sort of goal in sales, yet!, this is on indefinite hiatus until that changes.  But I will continue to promote and push Kyra through 2013.

GOAL #8: Give Nothing is an Accident a home. By this I mean, by the end of the year, Nothing is an Accident will need to be either available to readers in some way, or in the process of reaching that goal.  I’m still querying it to agents, and the next step will be looking into small presses, and the final step would be to self-publish which, if it becomes necessary, would probably be happening in fall, like September or October.

I had some great responses from agents through the year for this manuscript, and one very close acceptance.  I had planned to self-publish Nothing is an Accident in the fall, then in the summer of 2013, but now it is in a “to be determined” state as I think about and figure what I want to do with it.

And there you have it.  Not a bad year looking back in what I wanted to achieve, what I actually got done vs. what I didn’t, but then if there’s one thing I’ve learned with setting myself these writing goals at the beginning of each year it’s that I pretty much don’t complete them all by the end of December, but I do achieve the ones I really wanted to and cared about.

Next week we will have my writing goals for 2013.

Wyrd Progress Update I

I know, I know. It’s never going to get old: when you see Wyrd, you automatically think “weird,” even though it’s Old English for fate and the name of my novel. It’s okay, I do it every time too. And “Wyrd Update” is even better, I know.

Managed to get the prologue done today. 1225 words, just over 5 pages. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but it was an accomplishment for me, as the prologue involved setting the story and involved constant reference to notes and research, which is why it was heavy going. Plus I’m pretty sure I’m going to eventually edit it down to three pages or less, even though I liked everything I kind of said, I just know it’s going to need to be a lot shorter and tighter, and it’ll get there, eventually, after a number of edits.

And tomorrow, I’ll begin with Chapter One. As I did with the second rewrite of Nothing is an Accident, I’ve made up a spreadsheet with dates and numbers of words written and number of pages written. This serves a number of purposes: 1) it boosts my ego a little to see that I’ve actually put something on the page, or more like a lot of somethings strung together to form sentences and paragraphs; 2) it helps me keep track of how I’m doing and for these updates and just in general; 3) I keep track of how much I’m writing each day and each week. I’ve laid it out through the end of February and at the moment I’m sticking to my own made up goal that I borrowed from James Rollins. On my days off I need to do 4-6 pages; on the days I’m working at least 2 pages.

We’ll see how that goes and how much I stay on goal. But I’m going to be tough on myself to get the writing and the work done. And try not to give myself too many excuses when I get little or no writing done.

WORDS: 1255

PAGES: 5