Writing–2013 Writing Goals


Last year I gave myself the goal of getting 50 rejections and ended up falling miserably short. However, I did learn quite a bit when it comes to goal setting my writing like that. First of all, I need to be more realistic. Second of all, not every goal is going to work for me.

The idea of getting 50 rejections seemed like a good one at the time because it would motivate me to submit more of my short stories. The problem with this approach is that I really don’t have the short story inventory to generate that many rejections, particularly when the rejection process is on a completely different time table. I have no control over when I get the rejections. They can take days or months. Combine that with a limited inventory and I found out that I tore my ACL before I even made it out onto the track.

However, had I not given it a go, I wouldn’t have learned that. I’m a sucker for learning things the hard way.

This year, I’m going to take a different approach to my writing goals.

My biggest goal is going to be revising The World (Saving) Series to a point of doneness. Not THE point of doneness, but A point of doneness. That means that I want to get the novel to a point that I’m done messing with the story and the structure and all I’m worried about is consistency, word choice, and descriptions. I want to be satisfied with the big picture of the story, so to speak. Giving myself until the end of the year seems reasonable, I think.

I’ve got seven short stories waiting on my ready list. I want to submit them all at least once. I’ve got three stories still out from last year. If they all get rejected, then I want to submit them all at least once, too. Any new short stories I write, I want to send those out at least once as well. Not exactly a lofty goal, for sure, but sometimes I feel very divided with my writing. This is a way to motivate some progress without being too hard on myself and getting discouraged. It also encourages me to give all of my stories a chance on the market instead of holding them back, afraid to let them be seen by the world.

I haven’t abandoned my idea to edit Night of the Nothing Man into a novella and self-publish it. That will get done sometime this year.

My current sooper-sekrit project is under way. Even though I don’t want  to talk about it, I’m working on it. And even if I don’t like the way it’s going or think it’s a flop, I’m still going to finish it. I need to develop a little faith in myself when it comes to working on non-fiction projects (that’s the only hint you’re going to get!).

I think these goals are good enough to keep me busy for the year. We’ll see how it shakes out.

If you’re taking bets on if I’ll be scrambling to submit stories in December, it’s probably a pretty safe bet to take. I know me.

Writing–December Projects

Snow Cat

December is always a screwy month for me. I’m coming down from NaNoWriMo, I’m dealing with the holiday gauntlet, and in general my time and energy is in flux. I never know what to schedule for myself during December because I never know how this roller coaster month is going to work out. I either give myself too much to do, decide to take on projects that are too ambitious, or I don’t give myself enough and I end up feeling like a slacker.

I’ve decided to err on the side of slackerdom this time around. I think I’m going to end up working on some Outskirts stuff. I’ve got a Paxton story I’m working on and some ideas for some Maisie Day stuff. I’ve got this idea for a couple novellas as written by Maisie (since she is a writer, you know). I think that’s what my morning project is going to end up as and I think I’m going to revise and cut down the Ivy novel I wrote over the summer to be one of Maisie’s. I’ve also got an idea for another one, but I haven’t done anything with it yet.

Working on all of that is both productive, but also low-commitment in a sense. There’s nothing urgent about it.

I will also continue my quest for rejections. It’s because obvious that I’m not going to meet my goal of 50 by the end of the year since I’m sitting at 15 right now. But 20 is within reach and I’ve got five stories out and four ready to go. If I finish the revisions on “Just Visiting” (I’ve already done most of the heavy lifting), that’ll be five. I didn’t submit at all in November, didn’t even really look around much. I need to finish the year with a final burst.

Trust me. It only LOOKS busy.

Writing–I Write For No One


This is a post of frustration. I want that known right up front. Because this might come off as whiny/bitchy/cranky/crabby/selfish and a whole lot of other not so nice words (that I’ve grown accustomed to being called).

But there’s a lot of frustration in writing. There’s frustration in trying to get the right tone, the right word choice, the right pacing, the right dialogue, the right word count.

And then there’s the frustration of getting your work published. Finding a publication that fits your story, following all of the guidelines (which an border on ridiculous, but that’s another post for another day), submitting, waiting, and then hoping that whoever is on the other end reading your work will like it and if they do like it, they can use it. And, of course, there’s the frustration of rejection that goes along with that. After so many times, you start wondering about the story in question.

Speaking of wondering, there’s also the frustration of being read. As in nobody seems to want to read your work. Friends, family, acquaintances, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, nobody is interested. No offense! But they just don’t like that kind of story.

It’s the last two frustrations that are currently topping my frustration cup.

I take submission guidelines seriously. I don’t want to waste their time or mine. As such, I scrutinize what publishers want very carefully. And it seems like what they want, I ain’t got. Finding a good fit for my stories seems to be getting harder and harder every time I look. I realize that part of the problem is my own limitations because there’s only one place that I submit to that doesn’t pay. Every other publication I look at has to give me some sort of coin for my work. And I limit myself even further because I try to approximate those token payments as closely I can to the work I’m submitting, i.e., how much would I lose on this story if this place published it.

I realize how snobby and entitled that sounds, but do you get paid for YOUR work? Yeah, I bet you do. Now considering I can put weeks/months into a 2,500 word story only to be offered five bucks for it (a penny a word is my baseline, so that story would net me 25 bucks), yeah, I’m going to shoot for a better payday.

This is a frustration I’ve mentioned before, but I’m mentioning it again because I feel it bears repeating. Call it a need for justification. It’s a head-banging-against-a-wall feeling that non-writers have trouble relating to.

The second frustration is really hitting me hard lately because I’m in need of some support and I don’t know where to go to get it. I write horror fiction for the most part. It’s not a genre that a lot of people I know care for. Of the ones that would read it, there seems to be a real lack of time on their part. Read that as they have lives and don’t have time to beta for me. And that’s fine. I understand it.

But it still frustrates the hell out of me.

It would be nice to have someone, anyone, take an actual interest in my work. Without me forcing them. Without me begging them to make some time to read a story. Without me feeling like I’m nagging people. Without me feeling like I’m guilting people into it.

But I haven’t reached that point in my career yet. I’m not in demand, even with people that actually know me. It’s understandable, but no less of a bummer.

And no less frustrating.