If you spend any time on social media, you’ve probably seen the widely-circulated study that says most new year’s resolutions are abandoned by January 12th. Luckily, I’ve devised an ingenious solution to the problem… don’t even start your resolutions until mid-January!
Whew. That was easier than I thought it would be. Now we can all get on with the business of making ourselves better people! Ice cream and cake for everyone!
Obviously–and regrettably–it doesn’t work like that. It’s not the specific date that matters, but instead the ability to stay consistent and committed. When you think about it, that makes it kind of like writing a book. The irony is that I’ve written five books, but I’ve always avoided making New Year’s resolutions. I didn’t want the added pressure of more stuff to do, and I was always pretty sure I’d fail to keep those resolutions anyway. As a result, I just didn’t bother.
This year, I’ve had time to reflect on where I am in life, both as a person and a writer, and I’ve decided to give this whole resolutions thing a real shot. I have my personal resolutions1 but I have quite a few regarding my writing as well. Or maybe they’re goals? I’m pretty hazy on the difference.
Anyway, I think a key part of sticking with something is to hold yourself accountable… and a good way of doing that is to be public about what you’re trying to accomplish. So without further ado, here are my 2019 Writing Goals!
My 2019 Writing Goals and/or Resolutions
- Figure out the difference between goals and resolutions2
- Finish querying See These Bones
- Complete the rewrite of Investigation, Mediation, Vindication
- Once IMV is done, requery it3
- Write the first draft of Red Right Hand (the sequel to See These Bones) by the end of the year
- Get back to writing poetry4
- Blog at least once a month
- Write another short story in 2019 and share it on this site5
- Have something available for purchase on Amazon by the end of the year
Huh. That’s kind of a lot, isn’t it?6
It is, especially considering I’ll also be moving into a new house in a month or so. Still… if you’re going to go, go big, right?
I think that saying works better with sports. Besides, it’s one thing to come up with a list… it’s another to make it happen.
Thank you, Captain Obvious! Sadly, in addition to outranking me in whatever military branch you currently serve, you’re also 100% right. An oft-cited adage is that a goal without a plan is really just a dream… and dreams go away when you wake up. So here are the action items, milestones, or whatever other project management buzzword you want to use that I’ve come up with to turn my 2019 writing goals into reality.
Figure out the difference between goals and resolutions
Finish querying See These Bones
Send out five new queries a week now through the end of February. Added to the queries I sent out in 2017/2018, this should give me a total of around 70 queries. If none of those bear fruit, it’s a pretty good sign that I’ll need to self-publish instead.
Complete the rewrite of Investigation, Mediation, Vindication
Write at least 5k words a week. After some failed restarts, I’m now (once again) 15k words into this rewrite. Assuming the new version ends up being around 100k words, that would mean ~17 weeks to complete the book. which puts me near mid-May. That’s a very fuzzy estimate, of course. Because the book got better as it went, I’m hoping the latter chapters will need less work.
Once IMV is done, requery it
I already did a round of queries for IMV back in the bright, sun-filled days of 2015, but a full rewrite probably merits another attempt. I’ll take four weeks to requery the book, following the same 5 queries/week pattern I’m implementing with See These Bones.
Write the first draft of Red Right Hand by the end of the year
It’s sad that we’re halfway through my list–and the year, per this timeline–and I’m only now getting to new material, isn’t it? Trust me; nobody feels that pain more than I do. All of the administrative work (queries, edits, rewrites, marketing, self-publishing, etc.) is an enormous drain on my time and will to live, but it has to be done.
My goal is to start writing RRH as soon as IMV is done and approved by the beta readers. 5-10k words a week is a pretty good goal7, and that would allow me to finish the book by mid-October at the latest. I’d love to do it faster than that, but I won’t be able to devote 100% of my writing time to the book, so I’m trying to be conservative.
Get back to writing poetry
Dedicate every Thursday to poetry. Basically, I’ll have one day where I focus on writing new poetry, rereading pieces I love, and submitting material to journals for publication. Last Thursday was my first poetry day of 2019, and I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Being a poet is even less economically viable in 2019 than being a sci-fi writer, but as a side hobby, it’s pretty damn satisfying.
To keep myself honest, I’m also going to start sharing poetry on this site, as I had originally intended to do back in 2017. I’ll share a poem on the last Tuesday of every month.
Blog at least once a month
This one isn’t anything new, really, but I want to carry it forward through 2019. Between blogs, poetry, and (hopefully) fiction, there will be some sort of new content available every two weeks. I don’t know what impact, if any, that will have on my readership8, but an active site is a happy site… or something.
Additionally, I’m going to change my oposting day from Friday to Tuesday. While Friday initially seemed like a good choice, social events like #FollowFriday meant my site announcements got lost in the noise. We’ll see if Tuesday works better in terms of generating site traffic. I reserve the right to randomly change this multiple times in the future!
Write another short story in 2019 and share it on this site
I like short stories, because they let me experiment with style in a way that I can’t afford to do with longer books. So I really want to squeeze a short story into 2019 somehow and share that story on this site again, like I did last year. Unfortunately, if I finish the first draft of RRH in October, I won’t have a lot of time for writing a short. This ends up being a bit of a stretch goal then… I’m hoping I can finish RRH sooner, and I’m hoping the initial edits won’t be too brutal for it, and I’m hoping… well, let’s just say there’s a lot of hope involved, which makes it very possible this is one goal I won’t achieve.
Have something available for purchase on Amazon by the end of the year
Of all my 2019 writing goals, this is the big one9. It’s been five years now since I started writing fiction, and as fun as the endless cold-querying process might be10, I really want to get my books out there so the general public can read them. However, it all depends on whether I can get an agent or not.
If I do find an agent, a 2019 release pretty much goes out the window. Via the traditional publishing route, my agent will first have to sell the book, and then the publisher will slot the release into their own schedule. The average lag time seems to be about a year, which makes a 2020 release the earliest I can hope for. Still, my goal was always to find a traditional publisher, so I will be over the moon if that ends up happening.
If I don’t find representation by June, I will start the self-publishing process. That has inherent delays of its own; I’ll have to contract with a design company for covers, re-format my manuscript(s) to get an accurate page count for print size, and learn the the ins and outs of Amazon’s KDP process. It’ll be a lot of work11, and will require me devoting a day of my work week to the process instead of writing, but I think it’s doable. If nothing else, it would be awesome to have something to show people who hear that I’m a writer and want to know what it is I’ve written.
I don’t know, dude. That still seems like a lot…
It really does, doesn’t it? I guess I’d better get started then!
Feel free to share your own resolutions, and bookmark this post for future reference. At the end of the year, I’ll revisit my 2019 writing goals and we’ll see how successful I was. Maybe starting your resolutions after January 12th really is the secret to actually keeping those resolutions. Or maybe I’m in for a rude awakening and my goals for 2020 will be end up being a lot less ambitious. Either way, 2019 should be fun!
- Which I’m keeping private, thank you very much
- Sorry; I couldn’t resist at least one joke.
- Because the querying process is so much fun
- My first love, and a practice I’ve let slide over the past few years.
- I’d prefer it be set in the world of See These Bones… my goal is to eventually package up all these shorts into an anthology I could then sell on Amazon.
- That’s right; I’ve stressed myself out so much thinking up goals that I’m now talking to myself in these blogs.
- I write new material faster than I do edits or rewrites.
- Beyond convincing more people to mute me on Facebook!
- Bigger than writing Red Right Hand, although my beta readers may disagree.
- Which is to say, not at all.
- This first time, at least. Hopefully, subsequent releases would be much faster.