I started the Writing in Public challenge back in February, and it was rocky from time to time. The first few months were productive, but then the summer hit. With the summer came a health crisis that still isn’t fully resolved. Brainstorming/outlining/reading happened during the summer, but not much with regard to writing. Even in the fall my productivity was limited to a few longer tales and several flash pieces. However, I’ve started to gain some steam during December, even with the holidays. I achieved nowhere near my original finished-story goal during the month, but the true goal was to get back into the habit of longer writing sessions. That succeeded, I am happy to say. With the holidays (mostly) behind, I intend to pick up the pace and get back to writing regularly each day.
I haven’t been keeping up with my word count as well as I should have these past few months, but I have a rough idea. I’ll list my writing totals in two ways below, the official count and then with the estimated count over the last bit of 2014.
The challenge for 2015 begins tomorrow, and I will be back to posting daily updates. I have a pair of short stories to finish tomorrow (One novelette and one flash piece), and then I shall see about some deep edits on them. Expect good things from next year!
In a few minutes I’ll get to work on my writing schedule for January. As I said on my Twitter page, I always plan to do 200%. That way when I only get half done I’m still in great shape.
Speaking of which, here are the four goals I have for next year, in no particular order:
- Four Novels
- The most ambitious of my goals, but certainly feasible. Several authors I either read or know of are capable of writing quality fiction at that pace. If I don’t push myself to get books written, edited, and out on the market I’ll hem and haw and never get anything finished.
- The Three-52s – Three Goals in One
- Write 52 Short Stories
- One a week, no matter the length. If I’m particularly inspired, I’ll try to squeeze a second story in a week. But, I’d rather have the whole week dedicated to one short story and work on a novel in-between brainstorming, outlining, drafting, and editing stages.
- Read 52 Genre Books
- This can include re-reading favorites and finishing series I’ve been following, but it will hopefully feature new books by new authors. One week, one book.
- Read 52 Writing Books
- At the moment I have somewhere in the area of 30 writing books I need to go through. I’ve read about 10 of them, but a re-read won’t hurt. Again, one week, one book.
David Farland really hit home the point that writers need to write, but they also need to learn. In one of this “Daily Kick in the Pants” newsletters he wrote of a woman who had written several novels over a long number of years, but had yet to sell any of them. She didn’t take criticism well, and only wanted to write the way she wanted to write. She never committed to improving her craft or to learning new things. As he put it, she was spinning her wheels.
Writing novels and short stories are the two dominant goals on my list. If all else fails, I must do those two things. But, without reading both within the genre and absorbing new techniques from craft books, my learning will not be complete. I want to be the best writer I can possibly be, and that means continuing professional education.
I’ll keep the site updated on my progress for each of these goals. Expect weekly and monthly updates on those, and possibly a new article series on the site to follow. At the very least it’ll be on the right-hand side of the site.
Official Word Count (Not including November and December)
Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 259,809
Total Salable for Challenge Year: 55,512
Unofficial Word Count (Including November/December Estimates)
Total Fiction for Challenge Year: 284,443
Total Salable for Challenge Year: 56,864