Tag: Plan

The New Plan

The New Plan

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So I used a vacation week to try to kick start my writing again. That was after a little bit of reading things I left in progress to focus on the primary career for almost 6 months.

Okay, twelve months.

Fine, it’s been almost 2 years since I got any major writing done.

There have been brief periods of productivity, but they never seem to last very long. A couple of weeks, maybe a month or so at a stretch. Maybe this time I can hold the focus for a while longer. It’s unlikely I’ll get back to the peak writing volume I managed by dictating during my long commutes in 2014 and 2015, but I have a lot of stories I want to tell, and, not to look too closely at the technological curve, it’s not lost on me that I may be as much as half done, or even a little more.

Because of the way my brain works, there needs to be a plan. Actually, by preference, there needs to be several plans: writing, publishing, marketing.

The basic writing plan, with short and long projects, editing goals, plotting, and so on, is the big one. It has daily word count goals for book length projects, short fiction projects, and non-fiction projects

The publishing plan will involve both long and short projects via e-book channels through Amazon and possibly Kobo markets, Watt Pad, potentially Smashwords, and an e-book store hosted on my own website, plus hard copies built through Create Space. It will also involve a submission plan for short work, and an agent or publisher hunt for at least one longer work per year.

Marketing will involve social media, blog posts, contests, giveaways, price leaders once I have enough work in the wild, and probably other things I haven’t thought of yet.

In the tradition of Peter Urs Bender (who first introduced me to the concept), all of these will be SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time Bound. Of immediate note is that the social networking part of things will have nothing to do with the number of followers, but rather the number of posts per day, week, etc. That’s something I can control the quantity and quality of.

I’m essentially building these plans on five timelines: the rest of 2018, one year, three year, five-year, and ten year. At this stage, my builds contain the remainder of 2018, and then 2019 with detailed monthly goals and specific projects picked, though with some wiggle room and I can always re-forecast at will. Each of the longer term plans builds in specific projects (long, short, non-fiction) for 80% of the annual word count goal. The remaining 20% gives me space for overflow (because my expectations of what the final word count will be on something are often 10-15% short of what reality turns out to be) and to work on things that have occurred to me in between. Yes, that actually does mean that I have enough novel ideas to carry me through to the end of 2028 on that scale without adding any new ones, which seems unlikely.

There’s a similar plan on the publishing side. Although, the plan for the remainder of 2018 is essentially to learn about how things work again: formatting lessons, self-publishing concepts, physical layouts, potential sources for cover art, and so on. This is reading and experimentation for actually diving in next year. For 2019, I have several novel length projects I have elected to self publish, and one I have elected to attempt to either find an agent for more find a standard small press publisher for. There are also a handful of Novella and novelettes projects I feel are worth publishing as standalone’s, and some Star Trek fanfiction I wouldn’t mind other people reading, though these will be exclusively on Watt Pad and a blog I’m building for the purpose. Try not to laugh too hard, but I put it just as much art and effort into my fanfic as I do my regular fiction. This first group is all (with one exception) actually ready for other readers, it’s all Star Trek based, and it’s all set in the original series era, but I have rough-plotted or ideas for at least half a dozen stories in the Next Generation era as well. For the shorter tales, I like to try to focus on characters who didn’t always get a lot of screen time. Regulars, but not always principal regulars.

The 2018 remainder marketing plan is similar to the publishing plan: learn. Going along with that, I’m working to reestablishing my presence as an author on Twitter, and Facebook. I’m also investigating the idea of adding a third social media platform as determined appropriate. Right now, that’s looking like YouTube for readings, and I’m not adverse to returning to my love of podcasting, either. Additionally, I’ve roughed out a plan of regular blog posts, 2 to 5 per week, depending on other events.

What can I say, I’m a planner. Lots to do, lots to get done. And it’s very early days.

So, I need to get writing.

Be well, everyone.

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Not As According to Plan As I’d Like

Not As According to Plan As I’d Like

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Writing is a very strange business sometimes. Actually, writing is a very strange business all of the time, but I have something specific in mind at the moment.

When I try plotting something, or even just figuring it out in my head, I usually have a decent idea of the wordage something will take, at least at the scene level. I can think about what’s supposed to happen in a scene and guess roughly how long it will take. The first draft will usually wind up somewhere in the ball park. If I estimate a scene at 2500 words, it will almost certainly break 2000 and probably won’t reach 3000. There are certainly times I’m wrong, where I run out of things to say before I get near the estimate, or go on a little long on a subject or action, but I’m usually pretty close. A couple of hundred words either way is normal, and in novels I like most of my scenes in the 2-3k range, with some variety for pacing, so I build things that way.

Except in my current novel project, I’ve had a couple of chapters run away from me and have to do a lot of typing to catch up.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it plays hell with my projections.

You see, I have the novel plotted out at the scene level, and my estimates total 95,000 words. A nice length, and the estimates are only estimates. I usually wind up running 5-7% long, so expect to break 100k, but not by too much.

Right now, if everything else in the book comes in around my target, plus that 5-7%, I’ll scrape up against 106k, which is a little longer than I wanted, but probably not enough to seriously jeapordize my plan. If I keep trending the way I am now, with one chapter in six demanding far more wordage than I’ve anticipated because more things need to happen, I’m looking at 117-120k. This isn’t a bad thing for the story, even if it requires some adjustments in later drafts, but it throws my writing year out of whack and shakes the longer term plan.


Because I planned to draft a 95,000 word novel in three months, and I’m off that pace by several thousand words. 120K is going to take me four months. If the other two books in the trilogy wind up the same way, I’m going to have a tough time getting to the fourth book I’d planned for this year.

Which is okay. The deadlines and goals I’ve set are all artificial and don’t affect anything but me, and the plan is adjustable to whatever degree I want it to be. I just really wanted to see if I could draft four books this year in the 80-95k range. That would have been awesome.

Of course, a 360,000 word trilogy in one year would be pretty awesome, too. Maybe I’m just worrying too much. The plan is just a plan, and I do love to reforecast.

Be well, everyone.

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