And just like that, we’re in a new year.
I’m kind of at a crossroads this year, as I’ve alluded to in previous posts. Writing a book takes up so much time, and there are so many projects in the wings that I would like to be working on. Just off the top of my head I can think of three or four books that I have partially outlined and begun research on. Only one of those will get written this year, if I’m lucky. I don’t have any specific contractual obligations to guide me as to which one I should pick.
Last year I wrote two novellas and rewrote part of a novel. You can estimate that I probably wrote about 60-75 thousand words in that process, not counting my blog time, etc. That is barely a book. Really in speculative fiction I need about 90,000 words to make a book, at least. So you can see, easily, that writing a book is a minimum of a one year commitment. That’s assuming I work on nothing else, which is not how writing works. There’s still editing and submissions and everything else.
So, with all that said, I wanted to be very intentional about my goals this year.
1. Focus on my edits and submissions
I have written a lot of stuff, and some of it is very good, and some of it I have self-published. But I have realized after five years as a self-published author that my writing speed and my lifestyle mean that I’m probably better suited to being a traditionally published author, or at least a mix of the two. I can’t keep writing things and not putting them out there, not trying to move towards that eventual goal. So while I will be writing new work this year, my number one goal will be to improve some of my existing stories and submit them to agents and publishers and magazines. Accordingly, I want to accrue fifty rejections or an acceptance by the end of the year. That’s a little under one per week, so I’m going to have to work hard.
2. Give myself permission to work on something new
There is nothing more frustrating than having to pick from amongst these ideas clamoring in my head. I want the time to do them all. I want to be able to write you so many books, so many worlds. But I only have so much time – a few hours of the week that I snatch greedily for my work. That’s all I have.
So this year I am going to pick the story that’s been shouting the loudest, and go for it. I’m not going to think about the market or if I can sell it. I’m just going to do it. I’m going to write the story I hope I can get out before I die, every time. After that, we’ll see. So my goal is to have a new project picked out soon. Once that happens, I hope to write 30,000 words on it before the end of the year.
3. Continue my Patreon
For self-publishing projects, I have my Patreon, and I plan to keep that up. It’s been a somewhat stable source of income, unlike most of my other work, and I would like to see it grow. Unfortunately, there’s little I can do to control the growth of pledges besides talking about my Patreon, so the goal here is to talk about my Patreon projects regularly. This means at least once a week there should be something up on Twitter or Instagram about Patreon. I’m already doing some of this, so the goal will be to keep it up.
This year already feels like a trust-fall exercise. Accordingly, I’m going to reassess these goals a few months in and see how I feel. If things feel comfortable, or the right kind of scary, I’ll leave things where they are. But if I feel like I need more definition, I’ll address it then. You may see me in April totally redefining everything here. I give myself permission to do that, if that’s what is needed.
I want to keep making lovely stories for you, but I also want to write for myself. And that means I have some hard choices I need to make about where I see myself. Thanks in advance for supporting me in this process.