First, let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR!
May we all reach our lofty goals we’re now setting for 2017! I know I’m making some resolutions, and started, in fact, in November. I usually start looking into the next year by November, looking at my process for the current year and seeing what I want to improve on for the next year.
In this case, I’m looking to streamline things. I want to produce more with less effort and stress. This means, for me, tracking fewer numbers. I’ve been tracking total amount of work in writing–expressed in “words,” though that isn’t strictly true, as I’ll explain. I have been tracking words written in blog posts (like this one), as well as words revised and line editing done, which counts as half and one-quarter of new words written, respectively.
Confusing? Yes, it is. Contrived? Yes, I agree. That’s why I’m not doing it anymore.
In 2017, I’m confident that I can produce written work at a much improved rate than I have in previous years. Keeping track of word count has helped me get there. But now that I’m confident in the amount of work I can produce–which averages out to about 16,000 per month this past year–I no longer want to count them.
Cutting this tedious bit from my method will reduce time and stress and take some of the pressure off of myself. I already feel I am behind, since I’v had the same 30+ books in mind for the last few years, plus come up with several more I’d like to write.
It might be like awaiting your death sentence and counting every tick of the clock until it gets here. Not helping!
Okay, it’s not that bad. But still, it’s no longer helpful for me. It’s one more tedious flick of the lash across my own back that I can do without. I know I can pump out words now. No need to hound myself about it any further.
That said, I did have a productive 2016. By my count (including the 1/2 and 1/4 word measurement of work I mentioned earlier), I produced 201,225 words!
My monthly goal was always 10,000 words. I barely squeezed that out in Jan, Feb, and March. After that, no problem, hitting 20,000 for five months and my most productive month being May at 27,500 words! (Most of that, however, the task master in me would point out, was revision work. So really, the would count would be like double that!)
Going into 2017 I am going to only be tracking published words. I want to see the final product, not worrying about the process. I want to see the sausage, not the ground up guts going into the tube. (Yuk.)
So in 2016, I published… 100,500 words! And 77,500 of that was never-before-seen new stuff cast into the world!
That’s not including blog posts or pages revised. That’s pure story out there in the world for folks to read.
To me, that’s more impressive than the 200,000 of work. Especially since we can see that less than half of that 200 grand is actual story out in the world.
The biggest chunk of that total comes from my novel One-Eyed Jacks, which was originally a rather long short story written in 2002. Fourteen years later, I finally got it novelized and published for you to read. (Took long enough!)
I also had had two stories published in magazines:
“Moondance” online with Crimson Streets. It may get into paperback there too, with their planned yearly anthology.
I’ve had my novelette “Frozen Heart” sitting at Tor.com for literally a year with no word. If they haven’t sent me an acceptance by the time I’m ready to publish it in a SF trio collection (which is probably only a week from now), then I’m giving up on them. A year in limbo… that’s just crazy. And, I feel, not very respectful to the writers.
My international contest finalist, The Thorne Legacy, was supposed to be published in the Last Outpost sci-fi anthology before the year ended, but production has been delayed. I’m hoping it will come out… well, any day now.
So it’s been a good year. And I’m already anticipating 2017 will be bigger, better, and more productive. I expect to pass that 100,000 words published by midway through the year. That’s the goal, at least. I have a lot of stuff already written that’s going to be coming out. And I have a lot of writing to get done.
Can’t get to all those new shiny ideas I have until I finish what I’ve already started, right? So I better get to work!
(Incidentally, this blog post is approximately 800 words, but who’s counting? And I’m not going to spend 400 words worth of work revising them, so… forgive any typos. ‘Cuz I got more important words to write!)