2020 Q3 Writing Overview

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Q3 being July, August, and September, which account for a total of just over 93,000 words once I’ve totalled all the buckets. Not as impressive as Q2’s 153k, but far better than the 21.7k achieved in Q1. Even though I’m trying to switch gears to become a full-time student now, that wasn’t the case for most of Q3. And there’s a big difference between the 32-36 hours per week I’m trying to spend on Academics right now (although, that will go up when I get to carry a full university course load), and the 55-60 (or even more) I used to spend out of the house at work (or commuting) and dealing with stuff from home.

By most measures, it’s been a good quarter and the year has been pretty solid. Taking the period as a whole, I averaged 1011 words per day and didn’t pass a single day without writing or editing something. A few of those days had very small word counts, even down in only double digits when exclusively editing, but I had almost twice as many days with over 2k words produced, and several of those in the 4k range.

Falling back to that original January 5th post about 2020’s goals (which, when I open it, isn’t even remotely as comprehensive as I remember), I’ll measure Q3 and the year to date against those a bit, and note again where I’ve adjusted things to match priority changes.

First, on the writing side:

  1. Plot novel. Basic goal = 3, Stretch = +2, Super Stretch = +2. Q3 = 0, leaving me at 2 for 2020 so far, but that third one is in progress so I’m confident of hitting at least the Basic goal here.
  2. Draft novel. Basic goal = 0. Stretch = 1, Super Stretch = +1. Q3 = 0, bringing us to 0 for 2020 so far. So still right on track because I didn’t plan on doing a lot of drafting this year, but I have put a little work in on the Universal Destiny sequel. No promises I’ll actually finish it this year, but we’ll see.
  3. Short Stories. Basic goal = 12, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q3 = 3, bringing me to 8 for 2020 so far, lengths ranging from 350 words to 27,000. I have two short stories in progress at the moment, so the Basic goal should be within reach, at least.
  4. Flash Stories. Basic goal = 12, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q3 = 1, bringing the total to 3 for 2020 so far. Some work to do here.
  5. Non-fiction book. Stretch = 1. Q3 = 0, bringing us to 0 for 2020 so far. I’ve put together the basic plan here, but sincerely doubt I’ll find time to start writing it before the end of the year.
  6. Blog posts. Basic goal = 100, Stretch = +25, Super Stretch = +25. Q3 = 51 posted and 5 written for a special project, bringing me to 141 for 2020. Basic reached, Stretch reached, and I feel like I’m probably going to smash through the Super Stretch before October is out.
  7. ST Audio Script editing. Basic goal = 8. Q3 = 0, and I dropped this goal in late May, moving straight into converting these to prose. I don’t expect to ever produce the audio drama, though they remain a wonderful idea in my mind.
  8. Novel editing. Basic goal = 2, Stretch = +1, Super Stretch = +1. Q3 = 1.5, bringing us to 4.5 for 2020 so far. As I said the last time I wrote one of these, 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. Q3 = 0, so still sitting at 6 for 2020 so far. Something else that needs work.
  10. Fanfic novel editing. Basic goal = 1. Q3 = 0, keeping me at 1 for 2020 so far. There was no Stretch or Super Stretch goal here. I do have a couple of short novels drafted and that I’ve done revision notes for (two of the previously mentioned audio script conversions), but they aren’t near the top of the list again yet.

Next, Publishing:

  1. Agent/Publisher Hunt, Novel. Basic goal = 1. 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. The market is… unfortunate, I think, and the nature of the number crunch makes it a smaller investment to replace a new author with another new author than to work with someone who didn’t immediately become a bestseller than it is to try getting them there.
  2. Story Submissions. Not going to talk about this one right now. It’s probably not going to get much love between now and the calendar rollover, either.
  3. Poetry collection. Basic goal = 1, Super Stretch = +1. Q3 = 0, so I’m still at 1 for 2020 but I’ve started the poem selection for another book.
  4. Indie Novel. Basic goal = 2, Stretch = +1, Super Stretch = 1. Q3 = 0, so I’m still only at 1 for 2020. I have six novels fully edited, but the one at the top of the queue, I can’t seem to get the cover right. It might be time to move things around a bit.
  5. Indie Collection. Basic goal = 1. Q3 = 0, so still at 1 for 2020. I have some plans here, but they’ll likely materialize next year.
  6. Indie short. Basic goal = 6, Stretch = +3, Super Stretch = +3. Q3 = 3, bringing me to 8 for 2020 so far. I think I managed to mis-report this by one last time, but 8 is the current accurate number. The Stretch goal should be good. The Super Stretch is still possible.
  7. Fan Fiction stories. Basic goal = 4. Q3 = 1, bringing us to 4 and the Basic goal for 2020.
  8. Fan Fiction Novel. Basic goal = 1. Q3 = 1, reaching the goal. This was A Matter of Honour, in early September.
  9. Fan Fiction Collection. Basic goal = 1. Q3 = 1, reaching the goal. This collected the 8 Batch 1 TOS stories and happened at the end of August.

Marketing goals. I haven’t done a lot here, just trying to maintain consistency while scaling back my expectations a little.

  1. Blog Posts. Basic goal = 3x/week, Stretch = 4x/week, Super Stretch = 5x. Q3 = 3.9x/week in total. And it would have been more like 4.4 if it hadn’t been one of the things I scaled back on in September. I’ve worked out a plan for Q4 that should make sure I stay above the 3x per week level for the whole year. YTD, I’m currently sitting at 3.5.
  2. Facebook. Basic goal = 3x/week, Stretch = 4x/week, Super Stretch = Daily. Q3 = 6x per week on average. This isn’t that hard to maintain since it’s mostly cross posting, but that means if I don’t blog as much or fall asleep on Instagram, the numbers go down.
  3. Twitter. Basic goal = 3x/week, Stretch = 5x/week, Super Stretch = Daily. Q3 = Averaging Daily. I said it last time, but I suck at Twitter. I’m not very interactive there. Blog posts and serials get announced here, plus a bit of Instagram. The way Twitter seems to function these days, I’m not sure it’s a useful platform for the author who’s early in their career other than as a placeholder or to maintain social contacts made in earlier days.
  4. Instagram. Basic goal = 2x/week, Stretch = 3x/week. Q3 = 2x/week, but only if I round up. This is a target to get better at for Q4, to the point where I’ve built a schedule of reminders for the days in October I’m supposed to think about posting without posting too often. This was a late added goal, so I’ll be very happy to develop a routine and get close to the Basic by the end of the year.
  5. Youtube. Basic goal = 1x/month, Super Stretch = every two weeks. Q3 = 0 posts. Fail. I’m building a schedule for Q4 that integrates with everything else I’ve got going on.

The monthly newsletter I mentioned last time is now on the list to be a birthday present from me to me. I’ve got the basic design of things, I think, but still have to properly pick and learn software and figure out how to get it going without it becoming a chore. Not quite there yet.

The end of Q3 brought me a new, and very different, normal. I’m a student again for the first time in decades, and that will ramp up over the next year along with some new professional goals both short and long-term (long-term as in the remainder of my professional working life). Writing is still a thing. It will always be a thing. It just can’t be the main thing right now. But I hope to get there.

Stay safe and be well, everyone.

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