It’s that time of year again, I guess. I’ll be doing a summary of this past year around the 30th or so, along with a look back at least year’s goals and how I did.
But as the year draws to a close, I am looking forward and planning what I want to do next year. This last year has seen a lot of changes in my life, in my writing, and in how I am approaching my career. My goals for next year reflect those changes, I think.
One of the shifts is going to be away from sending novels to publishers. I’ve decided to not send anything this next year and instead focus on publishing my work myself. My preliminary experiments with self-publishing this year have been pretty good (much better than the nothing I expected) and I want to see what happens when I make it a focus. I’ll be continuing experimentation, of course, including putting up a few things in the new KDP Select program. I also have some genre and length experiments planned.
Another shift is going to be toward longer work and away from short fiction. This doesn’t mean I won’t write short stories, but many of the ones I have planned this year will go up as ebooks instead of out to markets. I do have a challenge planned for May which is all short fiction. I’ll get into that later. While it is cool to be eligible for SFWA and nice to collect the checks that come with selling short stories, I don’t see them paying my rent. My goal for the new year is to keep 10 stories on the market at all times, a big drop from my submitting high of nearly 40. I figure 10 is enough to stay visible and keep up the habit of sending work out without requiring much time or upkeep on my part.
So here are the writing goals:
Novels: Five crime novels (Books 2 and 3 of one series, Books 1-3 of another), one fantasy novel (Remy Pigeon book 1), and books 2 and 3 of the Lorian Archive (Casimir series). I will also finish serializing the first Lorian novel (Casimir Hypogean). I’ve got a cool surprise planned with those and the full series should be published by June.
Novellas: Four YA romances and seven adult contemporary romances.
Short stories: 50 total short stories written. 31 of these will be during the month of May. In May I turn 31, May has 31 days, so it is fate, really. I’m going to write 31 in 31 for my 31st b-day. Sounds fun! These stories will be a mix of SF/F which I will submit to markets and romance/erotica which will go straight to ebook.
That’s it. Much of this will be under pen names, of course. Officially, Annie Bellet is only writing maybe 25-30 short stories and 3 novels this year. It’s fun running multiple careers, if a little crazy-making at times. Thank god for spreadsheets!
The crime novels will run between 65k and 75k words each. The Remy novel will be about 80k words. The Lorian books will be between 80k and 90k. With the novellas, I’m aiming for 25k to 30k words apiece. Short stories will count as long as they are over 2k words minimum and under 15k maximum (anything over 15k will get put up as an ebook novella).
Total predicted word count: 1,112,000 words.
Which looks terrifying. It isn’t. Let me break it down. I write about 1,000 to 1,200 words per 45 minute session (if you don’t know what I’m talking about with the sessions, see my post on productivity here). My word count goal for 2012 works out to about 700 hours of work. Not insignificant, but not terribly much, either. For perspective, if I worked 40 hours a week, it would take 18 weeks or so to finish those 700 hours of work (yep, people with a full-time job work more than 700 hours every 5 months).
But I’m lazy. I love to read, play videogames, hang out with friends, and I tend to need time to myself to let writing stuff sort its self out. I don’t want to work 40 hours a week. I don’t want to work everyday either. So I made a plan which allows for over two months off. I’m planning to write 290 days out of the next 366 (woo, leap year!). I’m allowing myself plenty of days to be stressed out, for life shit to happen, for me to get sick or get stuck (though that rarely happens when I’m working on multiple projects).
So how hard will I have to work on those 290 days I do choose to show up to my job? I’ll need to average about 3900 words a day. That’s 3 hours of work (4 “sessions” with my hourglass) most days, maybe a little more if I’m starting something new or going through a tough spot in the murky middle of a novel.
There is my plan. I debated taking a picture of my calendar (I print off calendar pages and do a color-coded goals thing for each month so I can visually see when stuff is due), but I don’t think I could get the whole thing into a frame. Probably for the best, too, since while I’m fairly sure I’ll finish the things I want to finish, I want the freedom to move projects around if I get stuck on something or if something cool happens.