2011 Goals (The Numbers)

Yeah, yeah.  It’s only December, which is pretty early to be making a goals post for the new year.  But I’m a rebel or something.  And I’ve been looking back on this year and then looking ahead and figuring out what I want to accomplish.  So this post will be purely the numbers without specifics.  I’ll do another post on the specifics (things to work on, etc) at a more traditional time (like say, January 1st?).

This last year was all about building up my magic bakery and figuring out a lot of things about my writing style and working modes.  I’ll do a full summary post about how this year went sometime this month.  But the short version is that by February I’ll have four novels out to traditional publishers in four different genres.  That’s a decent start to my bakery.  I’ll also have about 25-35 short stories out to markets (depending on many factors like hopefully sales).  That’s a good start, too.

2011 is going to be all about taking it up a notch and all about dipping my feet (and legs and body) into the e-publishing world.  I’m going to be writing novels and novellas almost exclusively for e-publishing next year while I continue to shop around those four novels with trad publishers.  I’m not ruling out writing a novel or two for trad publishing next year, but it won’t be my focus (unless I get a contract and have to write a sequel or something.  But that’s the sort of hiccup in a plan you hope for, not count on).

Besides getting my feet wet with e-publishing, my main goal this year is to get more consistent with my writing.  I’m a bit of a binge writer and I’d like to stop being so all or nothing and work more on just getting *something* done most days of the week.  I’m a generally competitive person, so to further this goal I’ve undertaken a couple of challenges that will hopefully (and are so far) spur me to get just more done in general.

The first challenge is with a friend of mine and the goal is to write 100,000 words a month.  That’s about 5k words a day, 5 days a week.  So about 4-6 hours of work, 5 days a week.  I tried this in November but got derailed at the halfway mark due to wrist pain and some other health issues, but I’ve adjusted my workspace and am working on the other things, so hopefully that will no longer stand in my way.  However, I’m still not sure that, as a naturally shorter length writer, I can quite manage 100k words a month.  So I’ll probably just owe her a lot of dinners since I’m setting my goal at about 75,000 words, which works out to 2500 words a day, 30 days out of the month, or 3750 words if I only work 5 days a week.  Which is 2-4 hours of writing a day, and completely doable even with wrist issues because I can break it down with lots of rest periods.

The second challenge is the story a week challenge.  Ray Bradbury did this, writing one story and submitting it each week.  We all know how well that worked out for him.  Some other writers I know have started the challenge and are calling it the “Write 1 Sub 1” challenge.  The title there will link to the website detailing the challenge.  With short stories I’ll be sending them to all the pro-paying magazines first before putting together any collections for e-publication.  I intend to bring back my old “Short Story Monday” thing for this, so that each Monday will be dedicated to writing a short story and submitting it by Friday.

Ideally, over all, my goals break down thusly:

900,000 words total by end of December 2011.

240,000 words of full length novels for e-pub or trad pub.

200,000 words of shorter novels for e-pub.

300,000 words of novellas for e-pub.

160,000 words of short fiction for pro-paying magazines and/or e-pub.

That’s the numbers for 2011.  It looks like a lot, but it breaks down to under 3 hours of writing a day, which really isn’t that much.  Writing is my job and I damn well better be willing to put at least 2-3 hours a day of work into my job.  Fortunately, having to do only 3 hours or so of writing a day means I’ll have plenty of time to put in the hours for the things that aren’t writing, like formatting, editing, wasting time online (ahem, I mean…researching!), reading, playing videogames, etc.  What? Videogames are totally integral to my job. Really. Seriously.  It’s…uh… consumption of story!  Vital. Totally vital.

11 thoughts on “2011 Goals (The Numbers)

    • I look forward to reading about your own journey :)

      Although I seriously am not sure what is ambitious about declaring my goal is to work 2-3 hours a day. I don’t know of a single job in the world where you only work a couple hours a day and expect to get a big payday out of it… And yet I fully envision earning 6 figures within the next ten years… So not that ambitious. Ambitious would be writing 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week, you know, like a normal job :)

  1. It’s not the hours that’s ambitious — or even the word count goals. The ambition I see is how many stories you have to think of — how many main characters, how many conflicts, how many settings. For me, that would be A LOT of creative energy. Writing nine 100,000-word novels, or ten 90,000-word novels — or, hell, even a novel a month — wouldn’t seem far more manageable.

    Of course, one thing I realized this year is that I’m NOT a short-story writer. Almost every idea I get balloons into a longer work. That’s the fundamental reason I couldn’t continue my own “Write 1 Sub 1″ challenge I started. After eight weeks, I was pooped.

    Tomorrow I’ll have a year-end review, then starting next week I’ll have a series of goal posts.

    • Oh, yeah, I guess I could see the ideas being an issue for someone who wasn’t me ;)

      Basically, I’m still going to have to pick and choose carefully to get stuff done next year. If I had zero new ideas and just went with what I’ve got written down in various notebooks or on my computer, I think I’d have to keep up a 900,000 words a year pace for two or three years just to get them done. Sadly, I think up about two to five new ideas a day, often in fully fledged short story or novel form (rough details, plot idea, at least one or two main characters etc). I can’t even keep up with writing all of them down. My rule is that if an idea has stuck in my brain for more than three days, then I jot it down. This weeds out about two thirds, thank god. I’ll never catch up to my brain though, ever.

      And I have about four “series” characters that I want to write 8-12 stories each for (and maybe a novel or three for each, too), so that right there will take up most of the year if I stick to only those and don’t veer off into other stories (which I will, because I always do…).

      To put it another way, I already have all 12 novellas, 4 short novels, and four longer works outlined for next year. I have another 6 longer novels (70-90k probably) outlined as well, I’m just not sure when I’m going to get to them. I have 13 short story starts (at least the first page of each) in a folder waiting for me to finish them and another 60 titles with rough ideas/characters/settings attached. It never ends… see why I want to get more consistent with my production? :)

      • OK — I have a blog post request. How the HELL do you stay organized with all these ideas. I get ideas here and there, but most of the time I just let them drift away. I figure if they’re any good — or if my muse thinks they’re important — I’ll remember them.

        So you have all these notes for story ideas, all these opening pages. Do you have a system? Or is it just chaos?

  2. Yay, someone else taking up Dean’s challenge! My numbers work out to 10k shy of your goal and when you do the math, yep, it’s not that much time, considering.

    Good luck and happy writing in 2011!

    • Not exactly sure what you mean by Dean’s challenge (unless you mean the story a week thing, which was originally a Bradbury thing). I’m not doing his current two stories a week challenge since I have my own goals (though it will work out to almost two a week depending).

      Anyway, thanks for reading :)

  3. Ah, right. I stand corrected on the story a week thing. I think RB only did the short stories for a stretch, nothing on top, right? His story of how he wrote F451 is fantastic.

    I followed you over on a link from DWS’s blog so forgive me if I’m being a bit bull in a china shop with the commenting. I liked Dean’s “write two stories a week and write other stuff as well and get it epubbed/out the door” as well as third stories if they fit a mag market, as it’s a great combo to get me to write and get things out, so I just refer to it as Dean’s 2011 Challenge, lol.

    Nice linkbar, btw–I heart JB’s writing LJ and can’t wait for his next update.

    • s’ok :) I’m doing it a little different than Dean, that’s all. Dean’s challenge is a good one if you want one though.

      I think we’ll be waiting forever for another update on JB’s livejournal. I don’t think he updates it anymore (last was about 3-4 years ago) but I’m glad it is still up because that information is pretty awesome and it’s nice to have it to re-read.

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