Where Do I Stand Heading Into the Home Stretch

I’ve been unmotivated to write my third-quarter progress report for my 2013 writing goals because I’ve been afraid of what I might see.  I’ve been so focused—I might even say consumed—by doing novel edits recently that several of my other goals have fallen to the side.  I shouldn’t be surprised; in my last update I was concerned that might happen, and indeed that concern has come to fruition.  I’m a little disappointed, certainly, but I’m also happy that I’m finally making tangible progress toward completing my novel, and I think I will get the edits done before the end of the year.  So here’s what I’ve accomplished in the third quarter (July-September) for each of my 2013 writing goals:

  1. Write and/or edit at least 700 words per day.  I successfully wrote or edited 73,714 words this quarter, bringing my total to 203,985 for the year.  This works out to 750 words per day over the course of the year.  I failed to hit my word target in September, but this word-count number is a little hard to interpret.  I credit myself 500 words for a day of editing (usually it’s about an hour), and I’ve spent many days revising my novel-in-progress, so many of these words aren’t “new” words.  I’ve also spent as much as two or three hours in a day editing, yet I’ve only given myself credit for 500 words, whereas if I was writing, I could have written 3,000 words in that time. I’m not reading a lot into this number—it’s simply a way to measure time spent writing, and I’m happy with where I’m sitting.
  2. Finish at least twelve short stories.  I completed no short stories, keeping my total for the year at six.  Again, I am not too disappointed to fall off pace because I have been making progress on my novel.  I also still have several stories in that “nearly” finished stage, but haven’t been able to push them to completion yet, which is actually disappointing to me.
  3. Make at least 60 story submissions or five sales.  This quarter I made 32 submissions, which brings my total to 54 submission this year and puts me on track to make my goal.  For the first, I made a lot of submissions to foreign markets.  Additionally I made two sales, my first ever foreign sale to Nova Fantasia and a second to Kasma SF.  I’ve now sold five stories in 2013, including two sales to pro-rate markets.  I have met this goal with a quarter to go!
  4. Revise and submit my draft novel.  I’ve made tangible progress on revising my novel, and I think I have a good chance of finishing my revisions by the end of the year.  If I can do that, I will submit my novel, perhaps to the open call at Angry Robot.
  5. Develop a series for self-publication.  I haven’t made much progress on this goal, but I intend to write this novella in November as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  I have a rough outline for the novella, and I’m currently targeting about 40,000 words.  Unfortunately, I likely will not reach my entire goal this year; I doubt I will get this story self-published before 2013 ends.
  6. Complete NaNoWriMo (50,000 words in November).  NaNoWrMo is already here, and I’ve fallen a little behind, but not enough to be concerned (I’m actually traveling for the day job now, so I expected to fall behind).  If I can make it this year, that would five straight years that I’ve succeeded.

Overall, I’ve had a mixed bag of successes so far.  I doubt I’m going to meet all my annual writing goals, but I’m happy with my progress.  If I can finish my novel edits, and combined with my pro-rate sales, I would consider this a successful writing year.  The fourth quarter is nearly half over already, and I have a long way to go, however.  So back to writing.

About D. Thomas Minton

Writer of speculative fiction
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2 Responses to Where Do I Stand Heading Into the Home Stretch

  1. mobewan says:

    Long way to go, but looks like you can be proud of what you’ve achieved. It also makes me realise I have a way to go to get into the groove.

    Loving your pragmatism with regard to word counts. They are a great indicator, but quantity is not the be all. More I write, the more I realise each word, or reword, or deletion improves my writing.

    Very, very impressed with the number of submissions you’re making as well. Again: humbles me (and inspires, and ever so slightly annoys me as it points out my own inadequacies in that area ;-)).

    Here’s to a cracking Q4(.5)!

    (btw, read the The Schrödinger War last night. Loved it.)

    • Thanks for the encouragement in the final leg. You’re right about word counts. I use them strictly for inspiration because I need targets to strive for. I try not to get too hung up on the word count because writing is about more than just putting words on the page the first time (as you noted). Yet I must admit, any day I don’t meet my word target, I feel like I didn’t do what I needed to do. That’s a good thing because it keeps me writing/editing/etc., even when I might not be inspired to do it.

      BTW, thanks for reading my story, and I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. If you haven’t read my other two Lightspeed stories (Dreams in Dust and Thief of Futures) I recommend them—how’s that for a shameless plug 🙂

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