Writing goals for the next 12 months

One of the things I love about the new year is the chance to put the past behind you and start afresh.

I used to have an exercise book where I wrote down my goals for the coming year. They were a mix of personal, professional and writing goals. The following year, before I wrote new ones, I’d check out which of the past year’s goals I’d managed to achieve. Sometimes it was nothing, other times a lot, but never all of them.

I didn’t mind that I never got all of them done. It wasn’t so much the goals themselves, but the chance to sit back and reflect on where you’re going and how you plan to get there.

That old exercise book is still sitting in a shoe-box somewhere in my cupboard. I don’t use it nowadays, and I don’t make professional or personal goals that often any more.

But I still make writing goals.

I’m already thinking about my goals for 2014.

Two things will definitely be in there:

  • Another two drafts of Acquard (Linesman II). She’s ready for the next major draft, which will be where we plug any plot-holes and start on the world-building that we omitted in the first draft; and then she can sit a while longer before we start fine-tuning.
  • Complete Fergus (Linesman III) and another draft of that.

As for the rest, I haven’t decided yet. My list is so long there is no way I could do all of it, not even if I was writing full-time. And, of course, I also co-write, so they have to be on my co-writer’s list of goals as well. So far, for the major works, I’m tossing up between:

  • A new novel. A NaNoWriMo, even if it’s not in November. In fact, it probably won’t be. It will be earlier in the year, if we can make the time.There’s a different vibe to a story where we both have to write our own first drafts, write them fast, and not talk to the other about it while we do it. Because we’re both writing at the same time we still have each other’s support, which keeps us on track.  Afterwards, the other writer gets hold of the story to write the second draft, and that’s a lot of fun too, and it’s always a surprise to see how the story changes as a result.
  • Another draft of A Taste of Immortality. This was our last NaNoWriMo, a light romance set on another world. It needs work but it has potential. Some likeable protagonists (I like them anyway), a nice take on the idea of immortality, plus the chance to build a society that’s a little different. Alas, it’s not exactly commercial. Our agent probably won’t be able to sell it.
  • A polish of Spits Acid, Breathes Fire. Another story our agent may find hard to sell, but this one because it’s very Australian. (Our agent is in the US.) Sure, we could take out the local flavour—switch Aussie Rules for, say, gridiron, give the boys their licenses earlier, but who’s going to buy them their beer? Even so, Danny, Gibbo and More Beer are clamouring loudly to have their second story told.

Right now it looks like being the first—a brand new novel—because Sherylyn’s half committed to that as well.

As for the smaller writing stuff:

  • Minimum of a 1,000 words a day on the novel when we’re writing first drafts. My word count dropped in 2013. I want it back up
  • One blog a week. I used to blog every fortnight. I’ve switched to weekly, and so far I’m managing. I’d like to keep it up. It’s good discipline
  • Voxpedia for Linesman (and other novels we may write). I’ve installed the knowledgebase software, all I have to do is add the articles
  • Better world-building in the first draft. Most of our world-building comes in the second and subsequent drafts. It works the way we do it now, but it makes the writing quite slow. If we add some of what we do in the second draft back into the first, I’m hoping that eventually we get to cut down a draft, speeding up our writing output. We’ll see if it works.

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