Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Goals Part 2

Here are my writing goals for next year, the “what I can do” sections have ideas that other writers may find useful. Achievability is crucial, so I have a plan to meet each goal. I have also looked at contingencies and challenge goals (because I am an overachiever).

Write another book, maybe 2

My goal as a part-time novelist is to write a book each year. The story at the forefront of my mind is a Middle Grade book, which will be very short (1/4 - 1/2 an adult book). Depending on what happens with ZOMBIE PROOF FENCE, I may have ~6 months available after writing the MG book. My challenge goal will therefore be to write a second book. Here is what I can do:
  • Write every day. This is the most important step. At 500 words per day, a first draft emerges fairly quickly. At this rate, it will take 240 days to write first drafts of both books. This leaves some wiggle room for life, revisions, short stories and the like.
  • Plan. Develop characters, story arc, know the ending, explore enough to KNOW the story closes in a satisfying way--all before starting the draft. This insures success.
  • Measure progress. This helps keep me focused, and also shows me when I’m getting off track.
  • Write first drafts. With so many things going on, expecting polished drafts is too much. If time permits, I will revise the new book(s), but realistically that may fall into 2011 as ZPF is the #1 priority this year.
  • Share. Sharing outlines and early chapters with my local writers group does two things. First, it provides external deadlines. Second, it helps expose weaknesses in characters, world-building and voice. This feedback allows me to make course corrections early on, and results in a far more mature first draft.
  • Re-evaluate after key life events. If ZPF sells, I will have a deadline for revision and need to focus on marketing. After the first book is done, my goals may shift. The unexpected could happen with family or work. After major life events, I will reevaluate to keep my goals achievable, yet challenging.
Write 6 New Short Stories

Short stories are fast--fast to write, to revise, and to sell. They improve writing skills quickly, they build self-confidence, they allow experimentation, and they help build an audience. I plan to keep this part of my writing going in 2010. Here’s how:
  • Write every day. Déjà-vu because I wrote yesterday too.
  • Capture ideas. You never know where a story will come from, so write down ideas, character sketches, dialogue, whatever--and keep those notes organized and indexed.
  • Pace = 1 story per 2 months.
  • Plan = 1 month to draft, 1 month to revise.
  • Share. Shorts are good for writers group. Once polished, submit. The more work in the mail, the greater the odds of getting work published.
  • Enjoy. A quick or experimental short story is a lot of fun and less stressful than the novel work. Short stories are good for taking a break, a change of pace, or a stress reliever.
Blog Weekly

Started blogging last year, but it was intermittent. Plan for this year is to blog at least once per week. The challenge goal is to blog twice per week. Here is what I can do:
  • Write every day. Hmm. I’m seeing a trend.
  • Post every Sunday. This is the most reliable day for getting things done (given my schedule).
  • Write book reviews. Interesting content for readers, and good ‘fill’ for lean weeks.
  • Write serial articles on writing. I know a lot about writing. Yay. Some of my trick and tips can help other writers so why not share? A structured series will be interesting to read on the blog, and I can write sections or themes more efficiently than random posts which improved the on-time delivery of content.
So there you have it. What are your goals, and what is your plan to achieve them?

2 comments:

Andrew Jack said...

I may have to reuse this reply as my own blog post...

The Resolutions:

Finish a novel, start another: I'm mid way through my first proper novel now and I would like another one one by the end of the year.

Organise my own lazy self:

I'm lazy and disorganised. This cuts into my writing time.

Keep Fit and Do things that aren;t sitting in front of a PC:

I spent a lot of tim in front of a PC in 2009 without a lot of effect except to make me fatter. I think keeping up with my martial arts training would go a long way to combating this.

Comment on other peoples blogs more often (I'm doing it now!):

I really enjoy getting other peoples comments on my blog, but I don't often comment myself. This should be an easy one to fix.

Mark said...

Thanks for the comment. I sympathize with the exercise part--I am sitting here typing while my wife is at the gym.

Yay--writing time.

Boo--another hour sitting.