Alright, the first week of school is behind me, I’m probably as settled in as I’m ever going to be, so it’s time I set some personal writing goals for myself this semester. So here goes.
My major goal, at this point, is to have three polished novel drafts in time for World Fantasy 2009 in San Jose, California. So far, I’ve got one complete rough draft, one incomplete rough draft, and a REALLY cool idea for a new novel that is just itching to be written. I’ve got a lot of other stuff, too, but that stuff has been dead and buried for a while, and I’m not sure whether I want to bring it back just yet.
So, if these are indeed the three novels that I want to have ready by next year, here are some goals:
- Finish the second draft of The Lost Colony by January 1st, 2009.
- Write at least 500 words per day.
- Write one article in the wiki outline for the new story each day.
The first one is pretty straightforward. I’ve got to polish The Lost Colony and get it to the point where I feel like I can send it out. It won’t be perfect by any stretch, but polished enough to send it out. With four months to finish the rewrite, hopefully I can put this project in the backseat while I focus most of my energies on the new stuff.
The second goal is also really straightforward. 500 words per day, as I discovered with The Lost Colony, is very reasonable. It’s a good starting place, and if I feel like I’m doing well enough, I can always increase it to 1,000 like I did last year (and successfully kept it, for the most part).
The last goal is something of an experiment for me. My least favorite part of the writing process is probably prewriting–all the outlining, worldbuilding, planning, etc. I tend to do all that stuff in my head, not on paper, and I come up with as much as 60% of it as I go along. That’s just how I tend to write. However, I’ve never really tried the alternative, and I think it would be a really interesting experiment to see what happens if I formally plan things out before I sit down and write it. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe I’ll hate it. Maybe both. Whatever happens, I’ll be sure to let you know.
These goals are all pretty straightforward and practical. That’s not what goals are for, however. They exist to push you. So, in order to push myself, I’m going to give myself a goal that’s just a little bit reckless:
- Finish the second draft of the untitled novel by May 1st, 2009.
Wow. This is crazy. I proved this past year that I could write a 168,000 rough draft in nine months. But this? I’d practically have to finish the thing by January/February in order to have time for the rewrite! And yet, if I can churn out at least a decently polished draft of a novel every 3/4′s of a year, that’s impressive. It might just be enough to prove that I can do this successfully full time (gasp!).
They say that you need to produce a novel a year in order to make a living as a writer. Last year, I proved that I could produce a rough draft in a little less than a year, but a solid, polished draft? Didn’t happen.
But maybe, just maybe, I can prove myself with this next novel. Maybe. We’ll see. At the very least, it’s worth the challenge.