I’m not going to spend much time on how well I did or didn’t make my writing goals for 2016. Because I more or less didn’t make them. Lots of reasons, but 2016 was characterized by binge-working for me when it came to writing. Heavy word counts for a while and then long stretches of close to nothing. For 2017, I’m going to try a different tactic.
Late in 2016, I took a promotion, which involved transfer to a new site and getting that site up and running from a standing start. That’s had lots of extra hours for me at work and not a lot of time left over for anything other hanging out with my family as much as they’ll have me. That’s going to continue for a few weeks yet and I’m probably not going to get a lot of creative work done in the meantime.
But it will settle out eventually. When it does, I’ll have time and energy to write again.
Which brings us to the new tactic.
In several areas of my life, I’m looking at 2017 as a “Back to Basics” year. For writing, I’m going back to my original reason for being a writer: I love to tell stories. Nice and vague, but everything needs a starting point. So next I asked myself three questions:
What kind of stories do I want to tell?
What length of stories do I want to tell?
How many stories do I want to tell?
And then I threw the questions away, because I already have all of the answers for those: whatever suits my imagination, whatever length fits each story, and all of them. I’m looking at this from the wrong direction. I already have a huge list of projects, so the real question is actually which of those do I want to accomplish this year. A little bit of thinking and organizing later, I’ve got several lists, broken down by category.
First, short fiction:
- There are still 4 stories to complete in my Undead project. This has been in my head and in progress for a long time. Once I’ve gotten the last stories drafted, I’ll start editing.
- I also have seven incomplete stories that I really want to finish, ranging up to a 10,000-ish word novelette.
- And then I’d like to write 14 more short stories to make 25.
- 50 Submissions. One per week. Sounds easy enough. We’ll see.
Long fiction will be about completing already in-progress projects without starting anything new. That last piece will be a problem; I’ll probably have to start picking at something somewhere along the way. I plan to alternate drafts, completing a draft of a project and then moving to the next one, cycling back to each until complete.
- Universal Destiny, take to a final draft status (currently 3rd draft complete).
- Scattered on the Wind, take to a final draft status. The second draft is complete and everything I perceived as not working has been fixed. I’d like to take this through to a final draft ready for Beta readers this year.
- Draugr Rising, take to a final draft status (revision notes in progress).
- Arena, take to a final draft status (revision notes complete).
- Shrine, finish first draft (currently 20% complete by the outline).
- Fallen Heroes, complete outline and plotting phases.
- Poetry – I don’t produce as much poetry as I once did, unless we’re talking about haiku, which I feel like I’m finally starting to understand. I’ve written something over 750 haiku in the last year and a half. Somehow, I’m going to pare this down to 120 or so that I really like and turn them into a chapbook.
- Short for I’m Sorry, I’ll Read That Again. This was a BBC radio sketch comedy series that ran from 1964 to 1973. Discovering it on public radio as a 12 year-old probably had a big effect on my understanding of comedy and things that came after. In some ways, it was the precursor of the Monty Python group. I’m not sure I’ve heard every episode, but it’s a bit of pop culture history that, to me, at least, has been neglected.
- Battlestar Galactica Re-Watch. Not the 2005 reimagining, but the original 1978-1980 series. Both seasons. And I’m going to blog extensively about it.
They seemed like modest goals this year, in keeping with the schedule I’ll likely be keeping, at least until I wrote them all out. Maybe a little more ambitious than I’ll actually have time for. But, shoot for the stars, etc. If I actually do manage to hit them all, I’ll start to schedule the stretch goals.
Be well, everyone.by