So back in June I made a to do list of things I wanted to accomplish this summer. I’ve only got a week left before I go overseas again, and I’m happy to say I’m on track to finish most of them. A couple of them (such as doing a blog tour and submitting aggressively to book bloggers) I decided weren’t worth my time, and dropped them, but these are the major things I’ve accomplished:
- Release print-on-demand editions of Genesis Earth, Bringing Stella Home, and Desert Stars through CreateSpace.
- Redo cover art for Bringing Stella Home.
- Redo blurb/description for all titles.
- Put proper copyright page in all titles.
- Publish all titles on Kobo Writing Life.
- Find a better way to build an ebook and reformat all titles.
- Finish the second draft of Stars of Blood and Glory.
- Finish and publish parts I and II of Star Wanderers.
The only major thing I haven’t accomplished is figuring out how to sell ebooks directly from my website. I figure I can set that up later, though, when I’ve got a large enough readership to justify it. If it’s all online, I can probably do it from anywhere.
While I was vacationing with my family on Cape Cod, I had a chance to step back and take a long look at what I’m doing with my life, which helped me to set some new goals and get a renewed sense of direction. I stopped tracking my daily writing word counts in July, which threw off my productivity a lot more than I thought it would. After setting some long-term goals, though, I think I can find a better way to structure my writing.
In ten years (2022), I want to…
- have 25+ published novels.
- earn a solid middle-class income through my writing.
- be married and have kids.
- own a house.
- live in the United States.
My lifetime goal is to publish 100+ novels, which is actually a lot more doable than it sounds. It means writing a minimum of two novels a year, though, so I’m going to have to follow Heinlein’s rules a lot closer than I have been in the past. That’s the trouble with keeping a daily word count: it made me look a lot more productive when I was in revisions, so I spent more time doing that than writing new work.
In three years (2015), I want to…
- have at least 10 published novels.
- make enough with my writing not to need another job.
- be married or engaged.
- have lived for at least three months in 3+ countries (not including USA).
I want to settle back down in the States eventually, but before that I want to get around and see the world a bit. The absolute coolest thing would be to marry another world traveler and make enough on the writing to have a bunch of adventures together. I’m not sure if I’ll find her in Georgia, but I’ll be sure to keep my eyes open.
As for short-term goals, I’m still trying to work them out. Here’s what I have so far:
- Start at least 2 new projects.
- Finish at least 2 first drafts.
- Publish at least 2 titles (print and ebook counts as two).
I think this is enough to stretch me while still being doable. By my count, in the first quarter of this year I did 2-2-1, in the second quarter I did 2-2-0, and in the current quarter, I’m at 2-0-5 so far. Of course, this includes all the Star Wanderers novelettes and novellas, which I hope to expand in the future.
I’m not going to count revisions as progress, except as part of the publishing stage. Some stuff needs a lot of revision, other stuff, not so much. What I really want to do is train myself to produce high quality work on the first or second write-through. Of course, I’ll still use test readers to gauge my work before publishing anything.
- Finish at least 2 projects (first draft or revision).
- Write at least 15k words of new material.
I can write a lot more than 15k words in a month, of course, but I figure this is a good starting point. The key is that this is for new material. When I looked back at my word counts, I found that months of revision would go by before I actually worked on something new. I want to change that, but I still need to allow for longer projects that might require several weeks of revision (while emphasizing the need to produce new material, of course).
- Keep all project deadlines.
- Start each day with writing.
I’ve found that if I don’t start off each day with writing, I keep putting it off until I’ve spent more time and energy angsting about it than actually doing it. For a short period of time this summer, I put my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard first thing after waking up (even before getting dressed). It was amazing how much of a difference that made.
Beyond that, I’m not really sure what other goals to set. I want to plan things out on a project to project basis, but beyond that I haven’t yet figured out what kind of a daily structure I need to build.
It’s probably a good idea to keep things flexible at this point, though, since I have no idea what my schedule is going to be like once I’m in Georgia. I do know a little bit about my next placement–more on that later–but for the first half of September, I’m going to be all over the place. Ani, Tusheti, Kars, Akhaltsikhe, Tbilisi, Baghdati, and Istanbul–it’s going to be crazy!
For this next week, my goal is to finish the revisions for Star Wanderers: Sacrifice (Part III) and send that out to my beta readers. I’ve been struggling with it all month, but I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of where I need to go with it. I’m going to finish chapter 3 tomorrow, then rewrite chapters 4 and 5 from scratch.
After that…another Caucasian adventure!