Publishing,  Writing

The Various Writing and Publishing Goals for 2020

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I’ve realized I haven’t put all of these in one place, even though I’ve worked them out in some detail. Okay, a lot of detail. A lot of thought has gone into these, so it could be a long post. Could be, right.

I put out some basic writing goals in January, noting that it was my intention to not do a lot of drafting until at least the second half of the year, but I’m not sure why I didn’t put a lot of detail into that post. Last year, there were several posts planned. Multiple posts, really, hitting the stretch and super-stretch goals as they became relevant. But last year turned out to be weird in a variety of ways, and I only ever did one of those, merging a bunch of smaller ones together. What I’m planning this time is to lay everything out at once and then do an update at the end of each quarter.

The overall build of things comes out to four levels in three categories.

Levels:

  1. Basic Goals
  2. Stretch Goals
  3. Super-Stretch Goals
  4. Secret Goals

Categories:

  1. Writing – I’ve previously suggested that most of these are going to be editing-based for the year. Originally the first half of the year, but I’ve got a huge backlog of things that I really need to either polish or trunk.
  2. Publishing – having dipped a toe into the indie thing last year, the idea was to ramp this up in 2020 and also to expand efforts in the traditional publishing area this, something I’ve neglected in favour of production for the past couple of years.
  3. Marketing – I’m actually not going to include these here. I may talk about them separately at some point, but these are mostly background things until I hit certain production benchmarks.

On to the goals themselves.

From the Writing Side of things

The Basic Goals:

  1. Plot Novel: 3. I have a lot of novel-length stories I still want to write. I’d like at least three of these to get to the stage where I could start drafting them if I were ready. The basic plan is for these to be: Strewn Across the Stars (the sequel to something I’m intending to shop to publishers and agents), My Cousin Hans (an historical novel, mostly set in World War II), and Kami Falling (also a sequel)
  2. Short Stories: 12. Draft an average of one short story per month. Mostly, I want these to fall into the 3-5k word range, but there’s nothing saying these can’t slide into Novelette territory. A Novella might have to get counted differently if one of those happens.
  3. Flash Stories: 12. Flash definition in my mind is a story told in 1000 words or less, again averaging one of these per month.
  4. Blog Posts: 100. This brings me to an average of 2 posts per week for the year. Right now, 2020 is running at an average of 2.4 posts per week for me. A lot of that average is attributable to the last two months.
  5. ST Audio Scripts Editing: 8. Once upon a time, actually more than once, I had dreams of doing a Star Trek fan audio production. Life events have conspired repeatedly to push me away from that, and Paramount isn’t too keen on fan productions these days. The first two 8-episode “seasons” have already undergone conversion into novels, but the third season has eight episodes that are the equivalent of a first draft. These will probably also get turned into stories, but need some work to smooth out first.
  6. Edit Novel: 2. The original idea here was to take something that’s been finished drafting and get it to final draft status, but I’m actually trying to rotate drafts through several projects, moving from one to another after each draft. I’m not sure how I’ll count this at the end of the year. My instinct is that once something is drafted, it needs four passes to reach “final” product for me (Revision Notes, Fix What’s Broken, Make It Pretty, Read It Aloud), so 8 non-first drafts of whatever kind would meet the numbers here. Still debating if that’s reasonable.
  7. Edit Stories: 12. Taking some of the stories I have drafted and polishing them to the point where they’re fit for human consumption.
  8. Edit FanFic Novel: 1. A Matter of Honour, of course. It’s the only one that really fits this category at the moment.

The Stretch Goals

  1. Plot Novel: 2 more. Which should maybe be 3 since the next thing I want to work out the plotting and outlining for is actually the second Warforge trilogy, but I set the numbers on these long before I started projecting what projects I might like to take on in what order.
  2. Draft Novel: 1. This is something that will only start once I’ve got all the Basic goals taken care of. I have several things to pick from, but my best bet will probably be something that I’ve already made a small start on, and I’ve got three choices even there.
  3. Short Stories: 3 more.
  4. Flash Stories: 3 more.
  5. Draft Non-Fiction Book: 1. I’ve had in mind something talking about the classic BBC Radio Comedy sketch show, I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again for a couple of year now. I feel like I want to move this a lot closer to the top of the list.
  6. Blog Posts: 25 more.
  7. Edit Novel: 1 more. See my note above on the numbers.
  8. Edit Stories: 3 more.

The Super-Stretch Goals

  1. Plot Novel: 2 more.
  2. Draft Novel: 1 more. Should probably also be picked from the short list of things I’ve suspended to get a lot of editing done.
  3. Short Stories 3 more.
  4. Flash Stories: 3 more.
  5. Blog Posts: 25 more, which would bring me to my current goal of 3 per week, a goal I’ve been meeting or exceeding for nearly two months now.
  6. Edit Novel: 1 more
  7. Edit Stories: 3 more.

There are a couple of Secret Goals as well, but if I told you what they were, they wouldn’t be secret. I’ll shout loud when they happen, though.

On the Publishing Side

Here’s where things get a little more complicated.

The Basic Goals:

  1. Agent/Publisher Hunt: 1. I’ve gone back to this as a real goal, and have chosen Ancient Runes (a Science Fiction story, in spite of the title) as the target book, though I have two others I think might fit into this category too, depending on results.
  2. Story Submissions: 50. I’ve been slack here the last several years, heavily focused on novel-length stuff. But I still love short fiction, and I’m not the only one. Time to step it up.
  3. Poetry Collection: 1. I’ve been promising myself this one for a couple of years, but at last have it put together. It’s a small collection of many of my favourites of the haiku I’ve written over the last number of years. It’s actually more or less ready, I’m just not happy with the cover image I’ve taken and that needs to be right before I put together the publishing file.
  4. Indie Novel: 2. The target here was to get the second and third books of my Superhero trilogy up and out. Book Two (Hero’s Life) has already made it into the wild. Book Three (Fallen Heroes) still needs significant editing, but I’m confident it will happen in the fall.
  5. Indie Collection: 1. In progress. The Undead stories are fully edited, but I want something very specific for cover art here and haven’t figured out how to get it yet.
  6. Indie Short: 6. This was originally meant to be one every other month for the year. With the spare time I’ve got now, and picking the stories carefully, I’m at 4, about to be 5, and likely 6 by the first week of June. I could go faster here, but I need to work things out correctly. These will be longer stories, from barely Short Story (6 or 7,000 words) through novella (less than 40,000 words, often called a short novel these days). Meaty stuff that, according to my understanding, people love to read but markets have a hard time wanting to buy. How much great longer fiction have we missed out on over the decades before the indie route was viable?
  7. Fan Fiction Stories release: 4. The number was chosen because there were 4 stories left in my TOS set. I have more planned, but need to catch up first.
  8. Fan Fiction novel release: 1. Again, A Matter of Honour. Likely fairly late in the year.
  9. Indie Collection – FanFic: 1. And this is going to collect my TOS shorter stories to date, of which there are seven totally a little over 65,000 words, so a good size for an entry collection. Not saying there won’t be more in the future, because there likely will.

The Stretch Goals

  1. Story Submissions: 10 more. If it’s going well, my intent is to push the envelope.
  2. Indie Novel: 1 more. And with the current availability for editing time, this is looking possible.
  3. Indie Short: 3 more. I set this number in the first week of January, long before I had any idea that the shutdown was coming, so I’m not changing the goals, but I think this one is going to be fairly easy to hit.

The Super-Stretch Goals

  1. Story Submissions: 15 more. Which would bring the total to 75 for the year.
  2. Poetry Collection: 1 more. This one of non-haiku work, of which I have quite a bit.
  3. Indie Novel: 1 more. Can it be done? A fourth novel released by me this year? Only time will tell.
  4. Indie Short: 3 more, making the total for the year 12. Which is also seeming reasonable.

Again, there are secret goals here, too, but I’ll keep them secret for now. There are also a couple of secret goals that are neither writing nor publishing, but still related. I’m no more than two months from one of those.

A Final Word

Looking back at 1700 words of goals, I wonder if I should have broken things up over multiple posts. I also wonder if I overthink things a bit, but I’m also very much a planner and get a lot of joy from working things out in advance when I can.

And, of course, since I’m not responsible to anyone other than me for these goals at this point, I can make them fairly fluid and modify them as make sense. Or add to them. Or subtract from them.

Stay safe and be well, everyone. I’ve got to get back to editing.

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Learning from his children how to follow his dreams again, Lance has long since allowed his writing to slip over the border into obsession, and typically has too many projects in progress. Dividing his time between traditional and independent publishing, he still finds time for spirited discussions with the technology around him,

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