Publishing,  Writing

2020 Q2 Writing Overview

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Q2 being April, May, and June or all but about two weeks of the time my industry has been shut down (so far) by the pandemic and all but about a week since my job was classified as unnecessary. As a result, my production levels have been far higher than they would have been if I were still out of the house or dealing with work stuff for 60 hours per week.

Setting that aside, it’s been a good quarter. A very good quarter. Lots of boxes checked, lots of words forged, lots of words polished. On a raw wordcount basis, I averaged almost 1700 words per day and did not miss a single day of production. A few of those days had very small word counts as my primary work those days was tweaking a final draft, but the numbers didn’t break into 4 digits consistently until I started drafting again.

I did a big post on 2020’s goals early in the year and I’m going to try to measure Q2 against those a bit, noting where I’ve adjusted things.

First, on the writing side:

  1. Plot novel. Basic goal = 3, Stretch = +2, Super Stretch = +2. Q2 = 2, bringing us to 2 for 2020 so far.
  2. Draft novel. Basic goal = 0. Stretch = 1, Super Stretch = +1. Q2 = 0, bringing us to 0 for 2020 so far. So right on track.
  3. Short Stories. Basic goal = 12, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q2 = 5, bringing us to 5 for 2020 so far. I didn’t actually start drafting until deep into May. Two of these are fairly long novellas.
  4. Flash Stories. Basic goal = 12, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q2 = 2, bringing us to 2 for 2020 so far.
  5. Non-fiction book. Stretch = 1. Q2 = 0, bringing us to 0 for 2020 so far.
  6. Blog posts. Basic goal = 100, Stretch = +25, Super Stretch = +25. Q2 = 64, bringing us to 85 for 2020 so far.
  7. ST Audio Script editing. Basic goal = 8. Q2 = 0, and I’ve actually dropped this goal, moving straight into converting these to prose. I don’t expect to ever produce these, though they remain a wonderful idea in my mind.
  8. Novel editing. Basic goal = 2, Stretch = +1, Super Stretch = +1. Q2 = 2.5, bringing us to 3.0 for 2020 so far. I’m looking at this on an editing-pass basis. Post-drafting needs 4 different kinds of editing passes, so I’m counting any post-drafting pass on any novel-length story as 0.25 and taking a total.
  9. Story Editing. Basic goal = 12, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q2 = 6, bringing us to 6 for 2020 so far.
  10. Fanfic novel editing. Basic goal = 1. Q2 = 1, bringing us to 1 for 2020 so far.

Next, Publishing:

  1. Agent/Publisher Hunt, Novel. Basic goal = 1. Q2 = 0, and, as I talked about a couple of weeks ago, I’ve suspended this goal indefinitely. I’m more and more convinced that pursuing traditional publishing at novel length isn’t worth the time and effort for anyone who hasn’t already made it big there.
  2. Story Submissions. Basic goal = 50, Stretch = +10, Super Stretch = +15. Q2 = 0, bringing us to 0 for 2020 so far. This was always intended as a goal for the latter half of 2020, so that I haven’t made any progress here yet doesn’t worry me. If I’m still putting a zero here on the 1st of October, that’s a different matter.
  3. Poetry collection. Basic goal = 1, Super Stretch = +1. Q2 = 1, bringing us to 1 for 2020 so far.
  4. Indie Novel. Basic goal = 2, Stretch = +1, Super Stretch = 1. Q2 = 1, bringing us to 1 for 2020 so far.
  5. Indie Collection. Basic goal = 1. Q2 = 1, bringing us to 1 for 2020 so far.
  6. Indie short. Basic goal = 6, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q2 = 6, bringing us to 6 for 2020 so far.
  7. Fan Fiction stories. Basic goal = 4. Q2 = 1, bringing us to 3 for 2020 so far.
  8. Fan Fiction Novel. Basic goal = 1. Q2 = 0, bringing us to 0 for 2020 so far.
  9. Fan Fiction Collection. Basic goal = 1.

And, for the first time, I’m going to touch on some of the marketing goals. Most of the ones I’m willing to reveal revolve around consistency of posting to my chosen platforms (which I’m still open to revision on). The blog technically belongs in this category, too. I count the words as I draft like with everything else, but a blog post isn’t considered complete until it actually posts. Considering my performance on the blog since I’ve been off, Facebook and Twitter goals have been really easy to hit.

  1. Facebook. Basic goal = 3x/week, Stretch = 4x/week, Super Stretch = Daily. Q2 = Daily on average. I get a little interaction on Facebook, but I’m only just getting to the point now where I point it out to people who aren’t already there.
  2. Twitter. Basic goal = 3x/week, Stretch = 5x/week, Super Stretch = Daily. Q2 = Averaging Daily. I suck at Twitter in the last few years. It says so in my Twitter bio. I’m not really there to be interactive at this point. Blog posts and serials get announced here, and I’ll spend a few minutes here and there making sure things are clean, but not a lot more. The way Twitter works these days, I’m not sure it’s a useful platform for the author who’s early in their career other than as a presence.
  3. Instagram. Basic goal = 2x/week, Stretch = 3x/week. Q2 = 2x/week, but just barely. Instagram is different. Instagram is harder. Instagram is showing there’s a life beyond your writing, that you’re not just a writer but a human being. In my case, we’re mostly talking about pets and the occasional household project, with the odd book cover thrown in.
  4. Youtube. Basic goal = 1x/month, Super Stretch = every two weeks. Q2 = 4 posts in three months. Not exactly regular, this is an experiment for me. I think, because of the shutdown, live performances and readings are becoming more common, but I also think unless you’re super-well known, those need to be short. My experiments are two-fold in this vein: a video podcast to stay under ten minutes (The WAL) and short, intense poetry readings that will have a hard barrier of two minutes. Lots more to come here.

As a small bonus, I’ll reveal one of the secret goals. There will, very shortly, be a monthly newsletter. This is currently deep in design phase, but apparently is a “must have” for an author. I consider this an experiment, too, but it will be a longer term one.

Q3 will probably bring a very different normal world at some point, and I probably won’t have quite so much time on the far side of whatever that normal happens to be. But until then, I’m going to press ahead as hard as I can.

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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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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