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2017 Writing Goals: Caleb James

Not too long ago, I told DPW Associate Editor and resident comic book guy, Spencer Church, how it would be a good idea for him to write a quick piece listing all the goals he’d like to accomplish this year. Which if you’re interested, you can read by clicking here. 

I figured it’d be a good idea as a means for getting him to create goals for himself and come up with a plan to reach those goals. This wasn’t done for entertainment reasons, but rather something to hold him accountable for doing what he said he was going to.

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This got me thinking about my own writing goals. One of the main issues I have, as do many writers, is being too ambitious with my goals while at the same time not coming up with a solid plan to reach those goals. Winging it, if you will.

Last year, before the creation of DPW, Spencer and I started on a short story collection that we had planned on releasing around Halloween of 2016. We actually made weekly writing goals for it and were doing great, but something unexpected occurred (something other than us creating and focusing on growing this site). We both started to improve as writers.

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You see, over the course of a few months, we completed most of our short stories, but our writing skills quickly outgrew what we’d already written. So, we had to go back and rewrite. But then we continued to improve and learn about the craft, and our stories needed more editing. And so on and so forth.

Spencer actually started by working on the art and had no plans on writing or becoming a writer when we started all of this. But the story collection kept growing and I kept improving as a writer to the point where I couldn’t stand what I’d previously written. Then we got behind because of the rewrites to the point where Spencer started writing just to help out.

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A depiction of us if we were old and Asian.

But then he caught the writing bug—which means he kept learning about the craft and rewriting his own work. And at the same time DPW started to take off, I got way more freelance work, and I had to step up my editing duties on here as we received more and more submissions from people. Needless to say, we bit off more than we could chew with our Halloween release time limit.

Anyways, I did an interview with the always delightful, L.M. Durand, where I discussed the short story collection and a novel I’d planned on writing this year. But as writers go, I’m no different from many of you: I procrastinate, become side tracked, and fall in love with other projects all the time. So, my work suffers because of my lack of focus.

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To end this rambling, I want to reiterate the importance of setting goals as a writer and implementing the things needed to reach those goals. For one, focus on reasonable goals. No full novels written and edited within six months time. At least not until your writing skills are at that level.

For me, my writing skills are still improving, and I’m still trying to find my voice as well as my own writing style. Which leads me to, in no particular order:

My 2017 Writing Goals

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1. Finish Developing My Personal Style

What I mean by developing my personal style, is my way of writing fiction. I’ve been writing articles online for various sites for years now. So, my non-fiction and or information style of writing is established. When you read a non-fiction article of mine, you can tell I wrote it by the language, phrasing, and depending on the article—my strange sense of humor.

But when it comes to fiction, I’m still tinkering around. I’m currently writing our weekly serialized series, The Bazaar of The Blind, which is inspired by, and written in the style of, H.P. Lovecraft. I’m having a blast writing it—especially because I can go adverb crazy since that’s how Lovecraft wrote.

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Like I said before, though, I’m still learning and improving how I write fiction. So, my unique writer’s voice isn’t quite there yet. I have certain ways of writing which I can sorta count as being my own style, (a combination of Natsume Soseki and Haruki Murakami) but it’s lacking the all “me” aspect. When you read the things I write like that, you can tell it’s mine, but you can also tell that I’m infusing the styles of others into my own work. So, for 2017, I plan on creating a style that is unique to me.

Continue reading on the next page…

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