Blog No. 370
It’s the last post of the 2019! Hopefully your family had a lovely holiday (whatever the celebration). If that’s not in the picture, I at least hope it was a good week. But, let’s not dwell on all that. This is the post where I look forward to next year, my plans, hopes, and predictions (even if they rarely turn out how I think). I suppose it’s all baby steps forward. As long as I’m not moving backward (making progress) then I’m doing okay, even if I don’t reach my targets. It’s all fairly arbitrary, but goals help keep focus and (I guess) inspire. I find them helpful. I did a little thinking about what will be in this post, and it looks like there’s going to be a lot of picking up things that fell off this year. I’m going to try to not talk too much about 2019 since I’ll be doing my yearly review in a few weeks, but there will be a little overlap. It always happens.
One of the larger focuses for the new year has been doing more events. I went to far fewer events this year than I have in the past (for reasons that I will explore in the review post). It wasn’t for lack of effort. I just put that energy elsewhere. Either way, sales are down (along with some other things) and I’ll be pushing for more events in 2020 to see if I can make up for it. I like to do at least one a month and to have at least a few of them out of town. It’s a balancing act. There is the potential to saturate the local scene, but it’s usually cheaper to stick close. It’s also more reasonable to attend events like a farmer’s market when it’s in town. When I’m out of town for an event, it’s usually a convention which comes with not only the travel and accommodation costs, but often the cost for being a vendor (table cost). There are also times when I do more than one event a month. It cuts into writing time, but is a necessary part of how I’ve approached writing as a career.
On top of the refocus on events, I’m hoping to do another retreat in 2020. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to swing it. With other people not only involved, but integral to a retreat, planning can get complicated. Depending on who is interested, finding a suitable (and affordable) locating can be difficult. Then there is availability, preferences, and when everything else is dealt with, compatibility. The majority of the retreat is spent at a table with everyone writing. Some people take to it well, others don’t. I don’t want to think too negatively so early into something still hypothetical, but there are considerations when planning the retreats. Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can do some serious writing in a short time with the first draft of Broadcast Wasteland, however. I’m eager to see what I can do with two-or-so solid days of intensive writing. Part of the growing process is to challenge yourself. I’ve made some strides towards producing more in a day (single sitting or multiple). I’m interested in seeing what I can do at my current ability.
With that in mind, I’m planning on multiple sprints (like what I did with the first draft of Broadcast). It was exhausting, but I think part of that was going over the month. If I have a project like a novel to write, a solid month of every day writing won’t cover the whole thing. It would be a huge boost to the word count and congruity of the story, though. I hope to have at least one more big push in the first half of the year along with the sprint for the first draft of the fifth novella in September (like I did this year). It may be something that some of my friends take part in, too. They seemed to be interested in what I did with Broadcast. I suppose the continued interest will depend on how the book turns out in the end. I have a big push to make with the edits in January. I don’t want to waste the extra time I gained in the sprint.
I’m hoping to get the third draft (aided by Christian‘s current review of the second draft) quickly so that I can start sending it out to beta readers as soon as I can. I’d like to get back to the novel, but I don’t think I can do that until the edits on Broadcast are well underway. I have a specific goal of using the novel to find an agent (a tall order but the usual step). I’m not sure that what I have been writing is going to cut it. I love the story idea, but I’m not sure I’ve been able to do it justice so far. I’m going to have to take a breath and reevaluate what I’ve written so far, what my goals within the story are, and what it’s going to take to make an agent worthy novel. Stepping back and observing where I am and where I have to go (I hope) will help me more clearly see the weak points and develop that plan of action. The plan may need to be shelve what I’ve done and start writing a different book. Either way, I need to finish a novel in 2020. I hope more than just the first draft, too.
Since the first draft of the novella in September seemed to work this year, I’m going to stick with it next year. That means I have to work the novel in around that anchor in the ground. I think it means getting at least a first draft wrapped up in the first half of the year. It also means that until I figure out how to do more than one project at a time, I have to streamline the editing process for the novella. I really should be farther ahead than I am for Broadcast. I can’t afford to spend eight months a year on the novella when my overall goal is to write full time. The novel needs to be a priority. I’ve spent years trying to make it all work, and it may take more, but I need the first novel finished this year, even if it means changing the plans for the novella. But I’m, once again, getting ahead of myself.
There are a handful of more things hanging over my head that I want to take care of in 2020. I still don’t have ebooks. That has to be fixed and finished. There are also some layouts for other people to get done, but they’ll come in when those people are ready. I think I can get them done quickly and I can use the practice. We’ll see how they work out. Again, working with other people means things aren’t in my control. There may be a new collection in 2020, too. Lots up in the air for that one. Also, there’s the comic. I’m currently trying to get the first one finished. I have a lot to learn and I’ve made some mistakes on the way. I’m not upset by that. I’m (barely) mature enough to know that learning something new takes making mistakes. I just hope that Glen and I can find a good working system and relationship. He’s been good to work with so far, but I’m used to one way of writing and he has his own methods.
We have to find common ground. The current issue (even though issue is way too strong a word, but so is misunderstanding, conflict, and problem) is that I expected to do at least a second draft of the script, and Glen is already drawing out what I’ve sent him to give him a rough idea of the story and how I’ve been writing the actual script. I think he’s doing a first pass layout, looking at how it all works on paper, and not the final thing, but I think even that is premature. It’s a sticking point that he and I have to work out. He’s been really patient and understanding so far. I’m sure we can work it out with little trouble. If we can, that means I’ll likely be writing more for the comic next year. I think I can do it much faster next time, but only if we find that system that works for both of us.
Wow, that went longer than I planned. These tentpole posts tend to be long, though. (I looked back at last year’s post and I started the final paragraph in almost the exact same way). I’ve been a lot less specific with this year’s post, but I think that just shows how much things are in flux. Change can be a good thing if it’s on your terms (and/or you can take advantage of it). There is some change that’s out of my control (for me with the day job) but the best I can do with that is to roll with it. I guess the big picture hasn’t changed much. I need to write more and do more next year (and better). I have been getting closer, but I doubt there’s an actual end. I’m looking forward to some things and less so to others (like the challenges I’ve had with the novel). I know what I need to do and I have a ton of support to get it done. I’m the one who has to actually sit and do the work, though. I know I can do it. I just have to take the first step. Finish Broadcast Wasteland and the comic. Figure out and write the novel. Start the next novella. Do more events. Finally get ebooks on the market. The things I have forgotten and/or haven’t discovered yet. Lots to do, but I have a whole year to try. See you in 2020.