I’ve been thinking about my writing goals for the year, in conjunction with my renewed pledge to write 150,000 words for Get Your Words Out in 2017. And, interestingly, my main goals for this year are actually about writing less, rather than more.
1) Put the novel in a drawer and forget about it for at least six months. Then, take it out again and decide if it's worth saving. If it's not, let it go and be happy about it.
This came about because I got a very interesting report from Cornerstones, analysing the strengths and weaknesses of my novel. I was aware of most of the weaknesses already, but the report suggests there is more work to be done on it than I feel willing or able to do at the moment.
This is not a bad thing. The purpose of writing the novel was to see if I could. And, regardless of its actual quality, it exists as a 95,000 word piece of fiction that tells a coherent story. So, yes, it turns out I can write a novel! Whether or not I can write a good novel remains to be seen, and is a challenge for the future. I may come back to work on the one I’ve got, or I may start something new with the lessons I’ve learned. I don’t know yet, and that’s okay.
2) For every short story submitted somewhere, get at least some feedback and do at least some proper revision before submitting it. (This will mean I submit a lot less, but hopefully what I do submit will be better.)
I had some success with publications in 2016, and have already had some more in 2017. But, I know I have a tendency to dash off a first draft and just submit without taking the time to let it sit for a while, and then revise it. So, my plan is to attempt fewer submissions, and schedule in more time for revision, which has never been a strong point.
I’d also like to take the stories that have been rejected multiple times and see if I can re-work and improve them before I send them out to more places. Outside feedback is going to be essential for this task, as I find it difficult to see how to improve my own writing, even when I know it has flaws.
As above, even for the short and fairly frivolous things I write, I want to spend more time on them, and particularly ensure I have enough time to leave them and come back to re-read them before I post.
4) Spend more time on my reviews and make them proper analyses and recordings of my reactions - to offset the reduction in word count I'm anticipating on other stuff, I've decided to count my reviews in my tracking this year (I didn't last year), so I need to make sure they are worthy of being counted.
This feels a bit like cheating, since it’s a large number of words I left out of my tracking last year, which is going to boost this year’s word count significantly. However, now that I’m advertising my reviews a bit more, I want to put more time and effort into them. And, if I do that, I think it’s fair for me to include them in the tracking.
So, everything this year is going to be focused towards honing my skills, revising on a more regular basis, and hopefully producing a smaller, but higher quality, output as a result.
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