I'm starting this thread part for me and part to see what other Hatrackers are thinking of doing in 2010.
I'm keeping it simple. Three goals. They involve a lot more work, but I've got it down to three items:
1. Three Novel Query Campaigns - I have two first drafts done and another novel half written. They will all be seeking homes in 2010.
2. Writers of the Future - Finalist or Winner. I know, I know. That's not totally under my control, but I am going to try my darndest.
3. Work up so that I have ten shorts in the submission process at all times by the end of the first quarter and carried through for the rest of the year.
That's it. Lot's of work, but easily measured.
4. A qualitative goal. I wrote 70 short stories (including flashes) last year. A lot of that is dross. I need to write a little less and a lot better. So I have to pick up my style, my plotting and my characterization in 2010.
[This message has been edited by Owasm (edited December 29, 2009).]
-- Enter Writers of the Future every quarter -- Write, write, write (which will be easier now that I have my very own laptop and don't have to use the family computer) -- Submit, submit, submit -- Don't fall into the trap of too much rewriting, which tends to ruin the voice of my stories
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Making goals about what to write doesn't work for me. If I say "I want to finish my novel by year's end," and then in July I've written a bunch of garbage, I'll toss it and then give up because there is no way I'll finish in time. I do plan on writing at least daily (give or take weekends and holidays). If I can crunch out a page a day (which can take me anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on how well I am prepared...) I should be able to finish my novel by the end of the year. But if I don't, I still have that daily goal and shouldn't get discouraged by other stuff...
Plus, I think as a side bonus, every time I do short stories, I should have another entry for contests and other types of submissions.
Enter one more WOTF so I can win. I am utterly ashamed to say that I have not entered since my second entry a year ago when I got my HM. Which I recently had fun looking back upon. I read all my crits I received on it. One was particularly amusing. The Critter said something along the lines of "I hate to come across this way but well, your story is very amateur and it will never do well in the competition. The MC is a teenager and the story reads like YA which never does well in the WOTF". Another said" It is way too long and boring." I guess they didn't know longer(up to 10-12k) are more likely to succeed than a 2k story. Anyway, I had fun looking back on all those crits and then at the HM hanging on the wall after my second attempt. And to all those nay-sayers get ready because the next one I enter will be at least a finalist.
Begin querying my novel I just put "The End" on yesterday, a expansion of my HM WOTF entry.
#3 This should be #1, but I never seem to have a problem. Read hundreds of short stories, at least forty novels, and study daily. As I said, I doubt I will have trouble with this as I read siwty something novels last year, countless shorts and maybe not everyday, but countless hours of research on related subjects to my writing, even with all the stress of opening a new restaurant in MAy.
#4 Write three novels. This should be feasible as I am semi-retiring again. By going back to consulting, I have made myself more time to write.
#5 Write a short story per week.
#6 Clean up and submit all my WIP's and get a better system for tracking my submissions.
I am going to finally finish the Harrow. I am going to finish the novel I was supposed to finish for Nano I'm going to look through my files and organize them into categories. 1.junk 2.junk to edit 3.ready to submit (Number three will be empty so I hope to fill it.)
Treat writing as a career instead of a hobby.
This means finish what I write, and putting it out there in the hands of people who can pay me money for it.
I'm going to switch my focus to novels (I have 3 WIPs, have selected one to start with...hope to spend less than 3 weeks on it before starting the querying process.) I want to keep my short stories out there, and will continue to write new ones from time to time, but the money's out there in noveling, and I've got a niche I've targeted that nobody's writing much in (mid-grade and YA sci-fi.)
I also resolve to put some non-fiction book projects into the marketplace to see if they are any easier to sell.
But mostly, it's not a hobby anymore. There, I've said it.
This is a topic I've been thinking about. I managed to succeed on some substantial non-writing resolutions last year, which was kind of cool.
In 2009 I got sidetracked writing poetry thanks to a chance encounter with an old friend. I think there was a lot of value in the exercise, but in 2010 I want bring her about and get back on track with fiction. To give myself a measurable goal, I'll say submission for two quarters of the WoTF contest. I have no deep desire to do so, but it's a way to jar me from my comfort zone.
Get at least one novel out to agents, and write at least three. My recent WotF entry is to be tha last until I complete the three novels I am outlining, and the one I have written.
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Finish my novella and submit it to the Writers of the Future contest. I'm not going to make winning or being an HM or a finalist one of my goals. If it happens, it happens. I have another project and some ideas for future entries running around in my head .
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In 2008 I wrote one short story and one novel for a total of 80,000 words (largely due to NaNo). So it was mostly nothing and then all out.
In 2009 I wrote six short stories for a total of 30,000 words. But again, 80% of my writing was in the last three months.
So in 2010 I want to beat the negativity that seems to counter any attempt to improve my writing and achieve some type of regular output. My goals are simply:
* Write a short story a month, and improve on the wordcount from 2009.
* Submit one story to a competition and one to a publication.
* Read, read, read. I read 36 novels in 2009. I wonder if I can hit 52 in 2010? And I now have a subscription to Analog - so there's some short fiction in there too. I might have to turn the tv and computer off a bit more.
2009 was a challenging year in my non-writing life. There's no reason to think 2010 must be easier - but I can find ways to write regularly, I know it.
I like setting goals and checking things off lists but I don't worry if I don't get to everything. Here's what I've got so far.
1) I am going to enter WotF for the first time. Realistically this will be a second quarter entry as I am just starting the story now.
2) I am going to revamp my first novel on a level that may be considered a total rewrite. The bones and the characters will stay but I have a huge amount of world building to do and I am shifting the timeline and that will certainly affect the story.
3) I am going to set aside a little time most days to scribble down new story concepts even if I'm not ready to write them. I got a cool little notebook for this.
4) Amidst the bigger projects I am going to continue writing short stories. If I had to put a number I'd put six to eight as a realistic goal.
5) At some point I want to rework some of my older stuff and bring the quality up so they are better submissions. But right now I'm feeling a need to start fresh so I'm not sure when this will happen.
6) I want to work on being a better writer, to focus on my weakest points and try to create more complete, rounded stories.
7) I want to clean my bedroom, which is also where I write, so I won't have this 'other thing I should be doing' looming over me when I want to work on a story.
Good luck to everyone in accomplishing your goals.