All right. So I know the blog has technically been up since October of last year, but this January is the more fair mark of when I got started with this whole ‘develop a web presence for yourself’ thing. I’ve been trying to take my writing life more seriously this year, so I think it’s a good idea to make myself more accountable. We’re at the 25% mark in the year, and I hear businesses like to do things in quarters, so let’s give that a shot here, shall we?
Okay, for serious this time.
What I’ve Done So Far:
Blogging has gone spectacularly well, I think. I’m posting regularly, sometimes even more frequently than the once a week I planned in January. I’m updating several areas of my site–my What I’m Reading page has seen a few updates, and I even posted a mini-essay to my Stories & Things cache. Making the leap to post blogs to Facebook gave me a wild jump in traffic for a little bit, and then it fell off again. I’m reading other blogs here and there to learn about what it is that’s working there to keep people’s attention. Maybe there are elements that translate to other kinds of writing, as well.
Speaking of, writing ‘serious’ things (read, creative work that I intend to send out for publication) is a mixed bag. In January I was high on resolution-fuel, pumping out words every day like a machine. Toward the end of the month, though, I realized I was starting to get lost in the novel, and not in the good way. I had so many gaps between scenes that I was losing the thread of what I was trying to do in the story, and felt like I was just meandering. It stood at about 15,000 words then, and hasn’t grown since.
I did write the Story in a Day, but didn’t revise it, and a few pieces for my Experimental Forms class, as well as the aforementioned mini-essay, so I’m turning out some product here. I’m also keeping lists of potential article ideas to submit, and I’d estimate I sent out around 10 pitches and manuscripts this last quarter. Low as that is, it’s a step up from what it’s been in the past, so I’m smiling, albeit with slightly gritted teeth.
Where Do I Need to Improve?
The perfectionist side of me wants to say “across the board.” I’m nowhere near the ideal of getting published regularly, earning enough to make a noticeable contribution to my budget (or, um, anything), and living that daydream writer’s life. Trying to make that happen in one swoop, however, is utterly unrealistic and a bit stupid.
I want to be more intentional about my writing. I feel like I’m heading there with some of the things I’ve done so far this year, but other times even successes have felt like happy accidents. I want to be more deliberate about growing in this area, so I propose that in the next quarter of the year, I try to meet the following goals:
1. Submit 10 queries or mss/week, total: 120 pieces. This is really scary, because as you can see I normally take something like three or four months to steel myself to send out that much. I have a good list to start me off, though, and if I want to make this happen, I need to get serious. Just try for 3 months to keep that level going, and see what happens.
2. Write and revise 4 new pieces. My problem is that I like starting things, but my enthusiasm dims toward the middle, and really fizzles out when it comes to reworking a first draft into a polished product. I need to force myself to finish what I start, and take the time and effort to make it something I’d (gasp) let someone else read.
And I’m going to end the list there for now. Both of those goals are ambitious enough to keep my attention for a while, so let’s get on top of those and see what happens from now til June. Business meeting adjourned, and back to writing!