So did I achieve either of my goals set in 2017? No. Am I okay with that? Yes!
For starters, I did not anticipate achieving my goal of selling three short stories to SFWA-qualifying markets in 2017. That’s why it’s a long term goal.
When I set my short term goal of writing 50,000 words by the end of the year, I wasn’t sure how realistic that was. Then the words started flowing. I ended up with about 42,600 words for the year. Considering that several of my short stories are in the 6,000-7,000 word range, I look at it as being about one short story away from my goal. I’ll take it.
Those 42,600 words break down as follows:
- 5 completed short stories
- 3 completed children’s picture book manuscripts
- 4 incomplete short stories (drafted but not edited)
- 1 poem
- 1 silly series of stories featuring my daughters and their cousins
I submitted all five completed short stories and all three picture book manuscripts for publication. Six of those have been rejected at least once and a couple several times, but I keep submitting. I’ve read that one thing a new writer needs to learn is how to deal with rejection. I’ve already taken care of that. I plan to keep submitting until I run out of markets. It could be a while.
My new short term goal is writing 50,000 words again in 2018. I realize I should double it to have a real challenge, but hear me out. Last year I had a backlog of story ideas because I had never written any down. I worked through much of that backlog in 2017. I still need to finish revising the four short stories listed above for which I have completed drafts. I plan to do so but not count their words towards this year’s goal.
To help me along with this year’s word count goal, I keep of list of story ideas, which currently includes three short stories and eleven picture books. If I estimate 6,000 words for each short story and 600 words for each picture book (both estimates are high), that only gets me to 24,600 words. My experience in 2017 was that new story ideas would come to me as I wrote the stories for existing ideas, and I hope the same occurs again this year. Even so, I would need to double the number of ideas in my current backlog. That’s why I’m sticking with 50,000. Hopefully, I prove myself wrong.
So what’s next? Not included on the above list is my one idea for a novel. Yes, I have an idea for a novel. I am setting the writing of that novel as another long term goal. I think the idea is a good one, but I also think it will take me a long time to put it on the page. I want to do it right. I want to outline the multiple plots and develop the major characters before I sit down and start writing chapters. It’s good to have goals.