2. Getting Published in Print
I’ve submitted countless short stories to various publications over the previous year (not this year, though). And unfortunately, I was not accepted by any of them. I believe this is due to two main reasons: my style and writing skills weren’t up to par just yet, and I was submitting work that was far too experimental for the publications I was submitting to.
That’s another problem I have with my fiction writing; I hate writing anything that’s considered typical or normal, A-to-Z plot lines. Which means I end up creating some crazy, dream infused, half stream of consciousness, hardly comprehensible gibberish. Or I simply can’t stay within the word count, so I take out huge chunks of the story and add an unhealthy dose of weird prose.
But I’ve settled down a little bit. And while I still like to add weird endings to my stories, I now try to focus on creating an easier to follow plot. My experimental stuff was one part trying to find a cool style, and another part compensating for my lack of storytelling ability. And while I’m not anywhere near a master writer, I do find the stories are flowing through me much more organically these days.
3. Write More
Hey, what do you know! I’m already completing this one. And I must thank Spencer for being my spark. You see, that boy has been writing out of his goddamn mind lately. He turns in more work than I have time to edit. And that’s on top of his crazy-ass reading schedule. So, you know I had to step my game up.
I’ve been writing every single day—to the point that I used some of my freelance money to buy a nice Chromebook—so I can write while I’m on the road (delivering beer to the fine drunken folks of Pennsylvania, Monday-through-Friday). My writing output has never been better. But, this also means I’ve been bogged down a great deal. Which brings me to my next entry.
4. Schedule and Prioritize My Writing
In the last entry, I mentioned how my increased writing output has bogged me down. What I mean by that is I have more things to write than I do time and energy. Of course, I do have the time, but it doesn’t always coincide with my level of energy and motivation.
We’ve all been there. You get home from work, do whatever it is you do when you get home from work (cry into a pint of ice cream?) then sit back as the hours pass on by. This is your free time. And unfortunately, many of us waste this time because we feel we need to “unwind” from the real world.
I have this problem. I get home from work (which is always tough) and even though I plan on writing, I end up wasting time by distracting myself on stupid shit. Such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and any other nonsense that isn’t writing related.
Lately, though, I’ve been using this time to read. If I can’t motivate myself to write, I’ll read instead. This way I don’t let the creative side of my brain atrophy. But what I know I must work on this year is creating a writing schedule and sticking to it.
I’ve tried multiple times in the past, but it was damn hard. My brain struggles to write when I’m “not in the mood.” But great writers (such as Stephen King) buckle down and write regardless of how creative or motivated they feel.
You don’t want writing to feel like work, but you must treat it like work. Make yourself do it. Once you develop and maintain a strict writing routine, it’ll become a daily habit. And this is how you’ll get some serious work done. This is my plan.
5. Start Writing My Novel
I’m always writing these days. And since we started Flash Fiction Fridays, I’m always working on new fiction pieces as well. But I truly want to start on the novel I’ve outlined and have had in the works for almost two years now.
I originally put it off due to lack of time and too many ongoing projects. But I also put it off because my writing and story telling skills weren’t quite there yet. But I think I’m ready. Sure, there’s still improvements I’m going to make, (as listed in entries 1-4) but I know I can write a quality novel now.
I’ve studied what it takes to put out a great book. I’ve learned about all aspects of fiction writing over the last year. And I’ve studied the process of getting your work edited and published. I’m ready. I just need to make the time and focus. Which I think I can now finally do.
And that’s about it for now. At least that’s all I can think of at the moment. I’m sure these goals will change and develop as I continue to grow as a writer. And Spencer already mentioned how he’d like to redo these goal lists periodically, which I think is a great idea.
I hope my goals help you folks realize what your own goals are. And perhaps I was able to give you some tips and ideas on how to reach your goals. As always, keep on writing. Especially if it’s weird shit.
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