Even more than 2009, the year of 2010 was my best year ever, in terms of selling fiction. Things got off to a great start with the sale of my novelette, “Outbound,” to Dr. Stan Schmidt at Analog Science Fiction & fact — a story that was later re-sold to Russia’s ESLI science fiction magazine. I sold two more stories to Analog throughout the year, have learned that another story is sitting in very-close-to-sold status with a highly-respected professional on-line publication, and picked up some monthly work with Writers of the Future to boot — as the administrator for the Writers of the Future on-line forum. Yep, it’s been a remarkably profitable year, and I’ve had fun the whole way.
However, I still have to admit to having fallen short on my raw production goals. I didn’t get as many short pieces done as I wanted, there was a lag in getting Emancipated Worlds chapters up on the blog, and I still have to wrap my re-write on my novel that’s going to a publisher (by the publisher’s request, after having queried them earlier in the year.) My second novel project splintered into three different novel projects, none of which are complete, and I’m rather miffed at myself for not having matched my sales mojo with even better production mojo.
But, it’s water under the bridge, can’t get the lost time back. And I don’t like treading into a new year with anything hanging over my head. So I am sweeping the decks and washing them clean. New year, fresh start, and a fresh list of objectives. Some of which have been brought forward from last time, some of which are totally new.
BRAD’S OFFICIAL 2011 WRITING GOALS
1) Finish Reardon’s Law re-write and send novel to publisher by January 15.
2) Finish Emancipated Worlds on-line web novel, post to e-reader markets.
3) Finish unnamed mil-romance (yes, you saw that right) project; send package to New York.
4) Finish unnamed mil-YA-fantasy project; send package to New York.
5) Develop 3 additional packages for totally new novel projects, send to new York.
6) Finish 2 short works every month, send to market; total of 24 for the year.
7) Word count NLT 2,000 words per day, Sunday thru Friday; Saturdays off.
That’s a very ambitious list. More ambitious than last year, but if I stick to #7 and don’t slack, then #1 thru #6 should be well within my capability. I’ve spent the last three months discussing it with my wife and slowly working my way into an early-morning routine that should let me produce a lot without cutting too much into normal family hours. I’ll be losing some sleep during the week, but Saturday is “off” day in many ways, so I can catch back up then.
The main thing for me is to make 2011 a truly professional year, in the production department. I’ve proven several times over I can sell. That’s not the worry anymore. Now it’s down to raw, dig it out of the dirt writing. Lots and lots of words on the page, with very few days off — and absolutely no excuses. None. The pros I admire most are working at this level, if not beyond it, and the time has come for me to put away the “hobbyist” production pace and graduate to a new level
Even more than last year, I can’t have a do list without there being a do not list to go with it:
BRAD’S OFFICIAL “DO NOT” LIST FOR 2011
1) DO NOT get on the internet and “surf” before the day’s writing is done!
2) DO NOT check e-mail before the day’s writing is done!
3) DO NOT allow writing-related internet activity to replace actual writing!
4) DO NOT substitute reading about writing for actual writing!
5) DO NOT play any video games before the day’s writing is done!
Lastly, 2011 is going to be the year I rediscover how to read. That might sound weird to some people, but the truth is I’ve been struggling with this for awhile, and it’s really gotten bad — the point that I’m just not finishing anything I start anymore. I didn’t finish a single novel this year. Nor even a single magazine. I slacked off on my critiques I owed people because every time I sat down to read, my eyes glazed over and it felt like a chore and I put it down and went to do something else. Or, as was often the case, I clicked off the light over my pillow and let myself retreat into blessed sleep.
But reading is the pump-primer of writing. I have learned from experience that when I am not reading routinely — and enjoying it — writing gets much harder. And because the last few years it’s been tough to get into my reading, it’s often been tough to build and maintain writerly momentum. So I am going to make a conscious effort to move reading up the priority totem pole — even if it means displacing some of the other recreational things I like to do. Which, I admit, there aren’t many. But some of them will have to take a back seat.