In 2016, I published 22 ebooks (might have a couple more before the end of the year). That’s an astounding number, and I want it to be higher next year. The only way to make money as a writer is produce a lot of writing (as opposed to writing one book and have it become a best seller. A best seller has a shelf-life of probably a month).
But I also don’t do well with typical goals that most writers set. Like writing X words a day. Or writing X books in a year. The last time I set a specific goal like it, none of it happened.
So it’s a different goal: The Year of Craft.
I’m still working out that means in how I will be doing things in the new year. Then I’m a pantser, and it’s discover things as I go along!
Things I’m not doing this year
- Submitting to anthology deadlines. Okay, I’ll probably still submit to a few of them, but I get pummeled at work by deadlines every month and I just don’t need that on the writing side.
- I will not take workshops to for learning how to fix a writing problem. The whole writing culture is about “Your story is born broken, you have to fix it,” and for pantsers, they’re told even worse. I’ve treated craft I’ve struggled with as something to be conquered, sometimes with a battering ram. That’s going to stop. It has to. It’s very frustrating for me when I write and ruins the fun.
Things I’m doing this year
- Taking four workshops. I’ve got four workshops planned out:
- Advanced Character Dialog: I’m actually taking this because I’m really good at characterization and I’ve largely ignored any skills because of that.
- POV: This is another advanced class, because I want to play with the POV.
- Cliffhangers: I want some better understanding about how to end my chapters in an exciting way. Sometimes writers think that it’s bad to do a cliffhanger because they think it means “Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!” at the end of every chapter–not as something to make the reader turn the page.
- The last one’s open. Might be Pacing or B Story. Haven’t made up my mind. Could also be a new workshop that shows up that piques my interest.
- Studying best selling writers. I’ve been typing Michael Connelly’s first three chapters of The Reversal and learning a lot. Typing the scenes is like an artist painting a Monet. It’s amazing. I see things that I didn’t when I was reading. It’s also a relatively low cost, and enjoyable, method of learning.
- I’m branching out into other genres, like Mystery, and experimenting with series. I never thought I could do a series until I wrote Crying Planet. Before I got to the end of it, I wrote a short story with the same characters, which placed Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest. Then I got an idea for the next book (which is either called Cursed Planet or Lonely Planet).
- I’m going to try writing in groupings of something. Like I did a mystery story set in Morro Bay, so I’m going to try writing other stories set in Morro Bay.
Finally, Crying Planet is coming in January, my first science fiction novel. And it’s a series! I never thought I would be able to do a science fiction story, let alone any kind of series. I’m just waiting on it to come back from the copy editor.