Thinking about annual goals is difficult for me. I hate setting wildly optimistic ones but later having to admit, that life and the day job got in the way of the creative writing.
Maybe the best thing for me in 2023 is to have a few key phrases to stand in for formal goals:
Do the writing
Get to a conference or a film market
I think many writers put undue pressure on ourselves I regards to performance goals.. Every screenwriter thinks they should output more. Every novelist is in awe of someone who writes more novels per year than they do. I believe the key is still balance. Those who sacrifice quality of writing for quantity of words don’t keep their audiences. Balance is key, write as much as you can write well.
I’ve been very busy this summer. Currently have six short stories done and making the rounds of varied science fiction and fantasy publishers. Plus I’ve sent some poems out, too.
TV writing this year started with a spec script for agents to look at. Also, I’ve been working with another TV writer on a new SF TV series idea.
The novel has been restarted & I’m up a few hundred words. Mostly, I’m thinking about how to tackle the ending. Plus, I’ve been reading about the process.
A while ago, I purchased a great Story Bundle all about writing from the StoryBundle site. These included works by Douglas Smith, Laura Resnick and Dean Wesley Smith. I really enjoyed reading these plus they’ve given me some good advice.
I’m now at 37,500 words, which sounds like a lot to me. I know a decent novel is 80 thousand to 100 thousand words, so I have some distance to go. SF readers are familiar with the variegated doorstop novels of fantasy, But I will be happy if I can get to the end of one, for now. It’s always been a dream of mind to write an SF or fantasy novel and get it published.
The new IPad combined with the ‘waiting for dancer’ schedule is helping me to get writing done. My friend is reading the chapters as I do them, so I feel like I have an audience.
I’m also experimenting with the way I do it. I’m tired of writing tv series ideas and script outlines. So, I’m writing this with only a bare whisper of an outline, nothing like the massive detailed ‘beat sheets’ I used to have to do in tv. I know this might not work- or I might go down the wrong path with characters, causing a painful double back to rewrite the whole thing later- but the fun of it is partly in just seeing what the characters will do next!
In the new year, the writer must make some goals.
For me, the goals for my creative side are all about my novel. I’m 33,000 words in now. This novel started with the Clarion West workshop fund-raiser. I’ve been working on it via my IPad since.
I had a bad period when ancient IPad died – it just wouldn’t take a charge anymore. After consulting my Mac guru and the Apple store, realized it wasn’t fixable.
Christmas was very good to me. My dear friends gave me a new IPad mini. Now the novel is sailing along again! Thanks to those who believe in my talent!
So, I delivered chapter 4 to my first reader last week. My new goal is chapter 5 delivered this week. I do rough versions of between 500 and 1000 words per writing night. Since the child dances 5 days per week, I can get 1 or 2 good writing nights in each week. Doesn’t sound like a lot but it has delivered 33 thousand words so far – all done after I do my busy corporate day job.
Clarion West got me started on a new venture. The requirement to write something every day got me to revive a novel project. Now, so far I’m 18,000 words in which is pretty amazing considering my schedule. I’m a full time tech writer for a corporation. I’m a single mum, who does all of the ‘lessons ferrying’ by bus. My child does 7.75 hours per week of dance. So, I realized that the only time I have, is while ferrying or waiting at dance.
So, I’m using new tech to get me there. For example, this post is being written in WordPress on my iPhone while on the bus en route to Lyrical dance at Westside Dance.
For actual creative writing, I’ve worked out a system with my own blended Mac / Windows world of home computing.
Thank the gods of tech that we can move things from Mac to Windows easily now.
I’ve used the iPad for a while thanks to my friend Sui-Fai who donated his old one to me. Now, I’m finding that I can incorporate it into my creative writing work if I make a concerted effort to do so.
It’s not easy, frankly, but I’m learning how to type on the auto- keyboard. It’s not as flowing for me as typing – I type on a standard keyboard very fast and can type as I think of dialogue or description. Many more spelling errors, too. Plus punctuation just seems like a big effort – but I fix it later.
I use the Pages app on the iPad. It’s fine for initial creation, but I must move everything via email as doc files. Then I open or in Word and copy and paste the new stuff into my novel- writing app.
This is because, back on the HP pavilion is my new favorite app, which organizes by chapter and has a great interface for writing larger projects.
The eureka app is Scrivener, which is a good value for 40$ or so.
It gives me an HTML smart interface that can compile to a txt output. It can also save my chapters individually to Dropbox which is a great auto-archive.
The image is an Ammonite from the Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller. Not quite as old as I am.