Ah the new year dawns! The time when all possibilities fill our tables. I particularly enjoy this time of year because I find a full tank of enthusiasm and little resistance to set new goals and dream new fantastic dreams. Sure the execution of those goals and dreams will have to withstand all the impediments, hurdles and stop signs, but the more developed plan in place the more likely you are to succeed.
I saw the evidence of this in my second attempt to complete the 30 day National Novel Writing Month this past November. On the surface it doesn’t sound so intimidating to attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days, but execution is key. I approached the process different in my second attempt, laying out twenty chapters to begin the month. With this plan I was able to skip to a chapter I was excited to write when I felt myself getting bogged down.
So what are my goals for 2017? To increase and improve all phases of my writing. Not only do I want to write better, I want to write more. You see my goal is to finally break through this year and sell to a publisher. If I can do that I hope it will require me to produce at a higher rate. So here specifically is what I want to accomplish in 2017.
- Submit a manuscript for publication. With the completion of NaNoWriMo 2016 I have the equivalent of seven manuscripts in my stable. Of these I have enterd three in writing contests with two honorable mention awards and a second place for creative writing. But as of today I have not sent them to an agent or publisher. This year that is going to change.
- Find an agent. This is a function of the first goal, but no less important. To capture the interest and attention of an agent is something I do not have a lot of experience with obviously. I am working hard to leverage all the helpful tips and posts by authors on WordPress and Twitter as far as this task is concerned.
- Find a publisher. Again this is just an extension of the main goal. Here is my first obvious statement, but I would love to find a publisher that wants to publish all my work. I have reworked one of my ideas to create franchise characters because I see the value in a book series. I would love to be able to roll out a continuing set with these characters.
- Write more. I began adding posts on WordPress just over four years ago with a single blog, Joe’s Musings. Since then I have added other blogs, including a faith based one, Living the J.O.Y. Principle, Chasing the Blooms about flowers, Fiction Playground for my fiction and Alpine and Clinchport Railroad which is about my newfound hobby of model railroading. In total I wrote 119 posts over all my blogs during 2016 which generated 5,502 views. I try to rotate posts between blogs so I can build the number of followers on each, but in 2017 I would like to write at least 250 total posts.
- Write every day. I got a Fitbit the last day of January in 2016. Since then I have a daily reminder of how much activity I accumulate from the time I wake until I pack it in for the day. As a result I am on pace to accumulate over 4 million steps for the full year. I think I can accomplish a similar goal if I commit to write at least 500 words ever day. Right now I am around 600 words with this post and have already posted a fiction post of 200 words so I can check off today as meeting my goal. If I write 500 words every day of 2017 I will total at least 182,500 words. That is roughly the equivalent of two novels! Of course if I do NaNoWriMo or Camp Nano I will be doing more like 2,000 words per day so that number could be much more. I even snagged a nifty new calendar to use to chart my daily progress.
- Develop my stable of writing friends. Online friendships are tricky, but can be beneficial. There are many of you I have come to know and respect for your insight, wisdom about writing and publishing and just how to manage the entire process. I would like to develop my network of particular talents such as editing because I know that is a need. I also realized during NaNoWriMo 2016 that encouraging others is a huge need. This dream we all have is brutal at times and giving others a little of yourself is a small thing to you but can mean a whole lot if you are struggling.
- Attend Writing Classes and Conferences. I see so many offers for classes and conferences to help you learn more about all phases of the process, from plotting and character development to Querying, developing your pitch and dealing with agents and publishers. I could use help with all the above and I know it. The difficulty is knowing which is worth taking the plunge.
- Enter writing contests. I have done some of this, but it is a matter of finding out about contests with enough lead time to get a work written, edited and polished in time to get it submitted. Time management is always a struggle for anyone trying to accomplish broad goals, so nothing spectacularly surprising in the pursuit of this goal.
- Read more. I like to read. Not as much as I like to write, but I love a good story. I realized that when I was made aware of how much I like television. Seeing a story in visual format locks you in to a specific interpretation however. When you are reading the author gives you a framework, but you can color in the lines however you want. I also love to interact with authors. This happened with a book I read a couple of years ago and wrote a review on Amazon.
- Read and watch more critically. What I mean by this is to learn how the best and most successful tell their stories. Understand what it is about the books and programs I watch that draws me in. That will pay benefits as I work to get my writing noticed and published by the industry.
- Find a good place to try out my new story ideas. As I said in another paragraph I love to tell a story. One of the pitfalls is that I can get deep into a work in progress when another germ of a story idea bubbles up into the development space. I need somewhere to give these ideas a “fly test” to see if they are worth a flash fiction run, short story treatment or something with novel potential.
As I reach the 1000 word mark of this post I seem to be running out of ideas for the goals I want to achieve. Maybe I will revisit this post as other goals come to me, but if I can take a solid swipe at what precedes this paragraph I will feel 2017 is a success. Perhaps I can even add selling X number of copies of my published book during the next 364 days. I invite you to return to see an update to this post in the coming months. Series posts such as this will help to fulfill the more writing and posting goals. I saw other ‘goals’ posts in the Reader feed this morning so I will be checking other’s posts to see if they have goals that trigger something in me.