Most writers like to talk about writing more than actually doing it (I know I do!). One of the things that sometimes comes up is the goals we have, or the targets we have set for ourselves. A lot of writers have a list of things they want to acheive, things that act as a measuring stick, a way of feeling like we are making some progress with this crazy writing game, even if it’s only a little bit.
I’ve been lucky enough to be able to tick a few of those things of my list this year, and today I was finally able to cross off a big one–I am now an Active Member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America!
When I first started writing, and thinking about what I wanted to achieve and how to get there, that was one of the first goals I set myself. To me, because it has requirements based on sales, it has always seemed like a pretty good indicator of having reached a certain level. Not all professional writers are in SFWA, and it doesn’t mean that you have reached some sort of finish line, but the standards required to meet their criteria does indicate that you have managed to cross a certain threshold.
I’ve worked hard on my writing for a long time now, and come very close to a professional sale a number of times only to fall short, so this feels like I have really achieved something.
There is no denying SFWA has faced a number of challenges over the years, even during the relatively short time in the scheme of things that I have been paying attention. But, when I look at everything it does for its members, the people involved giving of their time and energy to improve the scene, and the names of those I will get to rub shoulders with (even just virtually), I am really excited and happy to have made it to this pont.
Now for my next goal!
No matter how hard one tries to avoid it, this is the time of year when one can’t help but look back on the year that has gone and reflect, and make plans and resolutions for the one to come. At the start of last year (and it is scary to call it last year!) I listed some of my goals and, while I didn’t achieve all of them, I feel like I did have a red hot crack. While on a personal level it has been an up and down year, and went pretty pear shaped right at the end, when it comes to my writing I can look back with a degree of satisfaction. Amongst the highlights were:
While the writing achievements have been wonderful, it has been the people I have met and been able to spend time with that have made it a year to remember. I am continually amazed and overwhelmed by the support and generosity shown by the people in the Australian spec fic community. I (like many writers) am a little shy and find it hard to mix in new circles, so it has been incredible how welcomed I have been made to feel by people.
And, on the writing side of things, I can definitely see real development in my craft. That has been a result of some excellent critiquing by people like the SuperNOVA writers group and Steve Cameron (amongst many others) who have continually pushed me to improve, plus a lot of writing and rewriting. Hopefully I will see the same rate of improvement in the coming year.
When I look back at the goals I set last year, it is a bit of mixed bag. That’s okay, I did set some pretty lofty goals and there are only one or two that I feel that i left myself down on, rather than it being outside my control. For example, I was disappointed with not keeping up with my blogging better than I did, which is my fault, while not making a pro sale is a little harder to make happen. So, for this year my goals are (as a minimum):
Bring it on!
It’s the end of another cycle of writing, and while I made very hard work of reaching my 15,000 word target, I got there in the end!
As you can see, I got off to a very slow start which I blame on extremely poor health, but a big push later in the month took me over the line. Despite the fact I am moving house (the thought of which I loath) I am going to set a goal of 15,000 words again because I do have a number of projects I have get done.
Notable things from this month:
- My first invitation to submit to an anthology, as opposed to submitting via an open call. It is certainly lovely to be thought of, and it is not only a higher paying market than I am used to, but it is for a franchise, and area I want to get into.
- Been commissioned to write a non fiction piece for a nationally circulating newspaper
- I have four stories in the wild and two of them are at the second round stage
- Officially started my Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing course, which I am thoroughly enjoying
- My latest story is now available to buy, details in the next post.
So, a big month ahead – it should be fun!
On Sunday, WriMoFoFo came to an end. Considering the slow start my month got off to (due to Continuum) I was quite happy that in the end I easily hit 20,000 words. I really had to work hard in the middle of the month to get on track but it was worth it.
You can see from the graph below how I went.
I ended up with three completed shorts (two be critted, and one submitted) and a couple of good starts on some others. Not a bad month’s work!
It was amazing how having set goals encouraged me to write consistently. I never struggle with thinking of things to write about, it is just the getting it on to paper (well, the screen if we want to nit pick) and the stories I completed were ones I have been thinking about writing for a while, but just never got around to. Normally it is deadlines that force me to write which doesn’t leave much wriggle room, I see this as a much more efficient method.
I was so impressed with how this focussed my writing that I am going to adapt the spreadsheet for ongoing monthly use. This month I am setting a 15,000 word goal as I want to do some editing of what I wrote over the previous period. I am even seriously considering NaNoWriMo now that I have seen what goal setting can achieve!
A big thanks to Elizabeth for coordinating this, it has been great. Hopefully now I can kick on and make achieving these sort of writing goals the norm, not the exception.