I saw a post by Ruth Nestvold yesterday about accounting where she summarized how she’s progressed with her writing this first quarter of 2014, and I liked the idea of setting down goals in concrete terms like that. I attempt to do that all the time, saying that I’m working on project X or project Y, and I’d like to finish by date 123, but since I’m still attempting to break out of the semi-pros* I recognize that one way I can move forward is to act more professionally and truly hold myself accountable.
Besides my desire to write professionally (which equates to full-time, making a living wage), I turned 50 last year, and I feel time’s passage more now than I did when I first sat down and forced myself to treat writing seriously back in 1997-98. My youngest daughter heads off to college this fall, far from home whether she goes to Kent State in Ohio or Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. My oldest daughter heads off to grad school this fall, finding her way in the world as well. My friends and contemporaries are writing books and selling books, and it’s about time I caught up to them.
I’m going to pay homage to Ruth’s format by mirroring it below, displaying my goals in a manner that will let me recap them at the end of the next quarter.
— Write every day. Aim for four pages a day, which is 1,000 words. That’s a nice amount, 365,000 words in a full year, and an estimated 275,000 words for the remainder of this year.
— Not sure what to put in this category, since I’m still playing in the aforementioned semis. I need to finish some projects (which I’ll be listing below) and sell those same projects. Long-term goal is to sell the books I’ve written and am writing, get an agent, and move forward with my career.
— Finish supernatural #wip tentatively titled In The Broken Places/Broken Places.
— Finish untitled science fiction #wip (I had contemplated using the “broken places” title for this work, since it works for this as well, as the Huck Finn-type story is set on a river in a gigantic Stanford torus that’s recovering from a recent Dark Age. This is probably going to be a short, rather than a novel. I’d like to create a series of linked stories that look at the characters as they travel along the river.
— Sell “Let It Be” (currently under submission at Apex)
— Sell “Some Roads” (currently under submission at Tor.com)
— Write a series of stories based on a series of pictures in Irene Gallo’s Night album on Facebook. There were 11 images that resonated with my thoughts when I came across them, and I like the idea of thematically linked stories. Since I tend to write darker pieces, using Night as a starting point makes sense. :-)
The various pieces were by Alfred Kubin, Edward Hopper, Frederick Cayley Robinson, Gerard DuBois, Greg Manchess, John Martin, John Sloan, John Thacker, Odd Nerdrum, Stow Wengenroth, and Tadahiro Uesugi.
— Read the reprint anthology, The Cutting Room, when it comes out in October from Tachyon, as it will contain my short story, “The Hanged Man of Oz,” and there are a lot of interesting pieces in the contents.
That should be more than enough for three quarter/nine months. Now, let’s see how I do by the end of June.
* — a few short story sales across a decade