February 2018 Plan

Stories – Writing/Revisions

  • Regrets/No Regrets – February’s short story – rewrite due to short month
  • Finish Tapestry of Shadows – January’s short story
  • Clockwork Empire #1
  • Helix #2

Blog posts (weekly)

Other Writing Related Tasks

  • Double Helix site/wiki
  • Two book reviews (missed January’s)
  • Revamp mailing list

January 2018 Plan

A little late getting this out…. but here goes.

  • Draft a short story (revise and publish if time)
  • Revise Emergence
  • Publish print version of Shadows and Secrets
  • Finish zero draft of Clockwork Empire
  • Revise Double Helix book 
  • submit Sirens short story for beta reader feed back
  • Post on Find the Soul, At the Shadows Edge, and here every week

2018 Writing and Publishing Plan

The plan for 2018? Write more and publish more!  *laughs*

You want more detail? Specifics are on the 2018 Plan page, but I’ll give you some general ideas of what I have planned.

  • Minimum of one post per week here and on my other sites
  • One short story drafted and revised (possibly published) each month
  • One zero or revision draft completed each month
  • Grow my list of beta readers/editors
  • Restart my mailing list
  • Learn more about marketing and improve mine
  • Create site for the Double Helix stories
  • Publish the second and third Double Helix books
  • Help coordinate and publish the third Sirens benefit anthology

I’ve scheduled writing/revision/editing/formatting time into everyday. It and my “wake up” time are the two blocks that can’t be touched, so that should help. I’ve gotten to the point where doing something writing related everyday is habit and it feels weird if I skip a day. That should help as well.

What I’m hoping for is to get enough content out there for readers to start finding me even if I’m still lousy at marketing at the end of the year. I expect several of the short stories will end up self-published – if they do, they’ll be exclusive to Kindle. Eventually I’ll publish collections, and those may be available with other online retailers.

Time to get writing!

2017 Wrap Up

How did I do this year? That depends on how you look at things.

I didn’t publish what I wanted to. I didn’t even write as much as I wanted to. Schedule changes at the day job and life changes cut into my writing schedule and I got way off track. A few new story ideas didn’t help matters.

On the bright side, I did write and I did get back on track in October and November. I’m not unhappy with where I am as 2017 ends. I have plans to increase my writing production and improve my pretty much none existent marketing.

I started several short stories that didn’t get finished. I revised several stories of different lengths. And I learned. My writing and my process are continually improving in ways that I can see. My plotting is getting better and my zero drafts are starting to include some of those things that I’ve always had to add in revisions.

My plan for 2018 is almost done. I’m still tweaking a few things, but I’ll be posting it soon.

Thanks for sticking with me!

I’m not good at…

  • Short stories
    • I have trouble with the length… I either write way too short or way too long.
    • I have trouble figuring out how much of the story to tell. There’s always more – whole world’s worth- that I know.
    • I have trouble with submission deadlines. Short stories always take longer than I think they will.
  • Keeping things updated
    • Remembering to update
    • Deciding what to write an update about
    • Making enough progress to be worth updating

I want to get better at both these things and I think I’ve got a plan that will help.

I’m scheduling time to write at least one short story each month in 2018. And I’ll publish those either as individual stories or collections. I may go as far as to schedule the actual days that I work on them first. Practice should make me better at writing short stories. Or at least make them a little easier to write.

I already have several update posts scheduled for the first part of 2018. That means I don’t have to try to come up with what kind of update to write. I have a tracking spreadsheet almost finished to help me keep track of the things I want to update. And I have people asking to see some of the stories I’ll be working on in 2018.

So here’s to recognizing what needs improvement and putting a plan in place to make it happen.

The Growing Project List

I have a project file. It has over one hundred projects of various lengths in it. That’s more than enough to keep me busy for at least a couple of years.

You’d think I’d concentrate  on those projects before considering new ones… or maybe my brain would stop coming up with new ones.

No such luck. It’s gotten to the point that I don’t even write an idea down unless it either sticks around for a few days or comes with a full-out plot. 

The more project ideas I have the more I want to write. And the more annoyed I get that I have to work the day job to pay the bills. But the more I write the better chance I might bring in enough income from it to quit the day job… that’s not something that’s  going to happen anytime soon.

Now I just have to figure out how to prioritize all my projects!

 Overambitious

I really can’t plan writing schedules well.

If you look at the pages for my writing plans you can see just how bad I am at it. The monthly plans aren’t much better.

I’m learning though. And I’m getting faster at writing and revising too. 

I have a feeling that my 2018 plan will still be too ambitious. I’m still working on it and trying to determine what I can realistically do.

But if you don’t try for more than you know you can do, you never learn how much you’re really capable of.  So I’m  hoping I’ve learned enough about what I can do to not over-plan too badly.

Adding to the Process

With most of my stories, I don’t make notes after I’ve finished them. There’s really no need to since most of them are one-shot stories. This is a good thing because I don’t have reams and reams of notes I’ll never use again. It’s a bad thing because I do have a series building up and the only notes I have are on the individual stories.

There’s a simple solution – take a time out from writing those stories and create a story “bible.”  Television shows and existing fiction franchises keep story bibles so that important facts, events, and characters are portrayed accurately no matter who the author is who is writing a particular story. It’s something I have to add to my existing process.

So that’s what I’m doing right now. My Double Helix series started out as one book. Then I had an idea for another one, and a collection of short stories about how each of the members joined Helix. Now the series notes are up to six novels and six short story collections.  There are too many details to keep straight without a little help.

So characters, locations, organizations, timeline notes, and other details for the entire series are going into one place. I can update it when a new detail comes up. I can refer to it when I’m not certain about something. I can give my beta readers the relevant parts of it so they can make sure I’m consistent with descriptions and motivations.

It does take time away from writing the actual stories, but it will also make things quicker when I need to remember details. Here’s to learning and using new information.

Changing Gears

Now that the work is mostly done on the anthology (other than marketing), I’m having to change gears. I’m finding it a more difficult thing to do than I’d expected.

It’s not just moving past the anthology to the next project. It’s figuring out what that next project is. It’s determining just how much havoc the anthology caused to my plan for the year. Because it was completely unplanned and unexpected, I had to drop things I was working on.

Where do I pick up? Where do I start trying to get back on track?

I also have some major decisions to make about what method of publishing I want to pursue with some of my stories. Do I still want to pursue traditional publishing for some of them? Or do I want to self-publish all of them?

How do I market them? How do I build up an audience? A mailing list? What can I offer readers to sign up for my mailing list or visit my site?

How do get back in the right mindset to work on the projects I put aside?

These are some of the things I’m struggling with right now. It may take some time, but I will figure them out.

Decisions, Decisions

The benefit anthology that I wrote a story for is coming out soon.  As the US “publisher” I’ve been very involved in getting it set up with several different distribution channels. It hasn’t been too difficult, though they’re all just a little different.

But there’s a problem.

That book, sitting there all by itself on each distribution page, looks lonely.

My name is on the book, if I had other stories published – traditionally, or self-published – I could take advantage of any sales on the anthology.  There won’t be any “By the same author” links for any of my writing.  Some of my fellow contributors probably will see links like that with their names in them.

I’ve always intended to self-publish some of my writing. But I’ve been concentrating on a couple of novels that I was planning to submit for traditional publishing. I don’t have anything ready, polished enough, to self-publish right now. And a month probably isn’t long enough when I’m working on promoting the anthology.

So, do I pause the projects I’m working on? Self-publish them instead of going the traditional route? Or do I pull out some of the story ideas I haven’t written yet, finish and polish them with the intention of self-publishing them as soon as possible?

Decisions, decisions…