Well, the holidays are here and the year is winding down. From a personal standpoint, 2013 has probably been one of the worst years of my life. However, from a writing standpoint, it’s been mostly productive, with some stumbling here and there.
Here are some writing things I’ve done this year:
- I was featured on Fantasy-Faction.com as their March short story contest winner.
- I had several stories featured in the anthologies “Quests, Curses, and Vengeance” as well as “The Best of Martinus Press.” So that was nice!
- I did a 52 Week Short Story Challenge which resulted in about thirty short stories (some of which were actually salvageable!)
- When all was said and done, I probably wrote something like 30-40 shorts throughout the year. Some remain unfinished, but I always look at some opportunities as ways to practice.
- I have 85,000 words of one novel complete and finished a first draft of a book I started in 2012 at about 135,000 words. Both novels remain unfinished, but will be edited in 2014.
So all in all, not terrible, right?
My goals for 2014 are to not only do similar things, but to avoid mistakes I made this year. I hope some of my suggestions can help others.
1. Don’t leave work unfinished.
A common plight I see of some fellow writers, they start something and don’t finish it. Either that or they start something new in lieu of finishing what they started. This is often a problem I have also, mostly with short stories. My plan for 2014 is to finish and submit (key word submit) stories that I work on. I’m getting the year started off right with a short story competition that starts January 4th. As for my novels, I have two that need to be finished (meaning edited and polished) before I plan to start on anything new. If this means 2014 will be a year of edits, so be it.
2. Don’t get hung up on word counts.
NaNoWriMo is one of those things that sometimes I feel like being productive outweighs producing something that can be changed into something worth reading. I love being productive and I enjoy the act of writing. However, sometimes I focus too much on producing and not enough on the quality. I don’t think this is a major problem because you have to produce something in order to polish it. My main goal is to not worry so much about a story being “acceptable length” and worry more about it being a complete story.
3. Don’t write the same kind of stories I’ve already written.
Maybe this would be a good goal for others. I’ve found I tend to write the same stories over and over with different characters. I only divert from this path when I’m challenged to do so or I just get a spark. After finishing my current novel, I will have created my “hunter” novel, one I’ve been trying to write for years now it seems. There have been different characters and incarnations, but I’ve been attempting to write a story about a monster hunter for quite some time. A long story. I think my current novel will satisfy this. My hope for 2014 is when I finish editing to write the kind of novel that will both challenge me and open me up to a new worlds that I would have never thought imaginable before.
4. Don’t discourage other writers.
I don’t tend to think I’m a negative person. In fact, it kind of annoys me the amount of negativity attached to the internet. My goal is to double my efforts to encourage writers, especially indie ones. I’m not sure where I fit in, but I haven’t submitted a novel in some time. I’ve tried to go the traditional route. I want to continue to encourage writers who are nervous or reticent to take the plunge to do so. I hope none of my words my cause a burgeoning writer to turn away from their love.
5. Don’t be lazy!
This is probably number one. As writers, we spend a lot of time at a desk. Therefore, we have infinite distractions. If I want my blog to be one thing, it is something that gets people away from the internet and writing. Yeah, that sounds weird, but since I don’t make money off this blog, I want to use it send messages instead. Actually, if you’re reading this right now, stop reading and go write. Just for 30 minutes. Go, I’m serious. I’ll time you.
Finished? How was it? Glad you did it?
This is truly the most important “don’t” I want to follow myself. I will actually probably only update this blog twice a month starting in 2014. I still want to discuss fantasy-based topics, but I don’t want to spend all my time pontificating. I want to spend it writing fiction.
So what do you think? Do you have habits or problems you want to avoid in 2014? Please share!