Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Five-Year Plan (#IWSG)


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After a disappointing October, November started off well as I finished a couple of short stories, neared another to completion and made good progress on my special project. I knew that I wouldn't be able to carry the momentum into the holidays, so I tried to get done as much as I could while the going was good. Sure enough, everything came crashing down at the end of the month as my wife ended up bed ridden for almost two weeks and then everyone in the house started working through a nasty flu.

Now we're hurtling headlong into the holidays and we haven't even started cleaning, decorating and all that fun stuff, so the next few weeks are going to be crazy hectic. I'm not going to put down many words for the rest of the year (I nearly forgot about this post, too) but something about today's IWSG question set off a spark in me. So without further ado...

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December IWSG Question: 
In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?



I had to think long and hard about this one, because I don't think about my writing as a "career." I've said before I'm not doing this to make money or achieve praise, nor do I ever expect to make it a full-time gig. A small second income would be nice, sure, but it's not a priority.

I've never had a long term goal or plan for my writing. For me it's more of a hobby. Usually I just go project to project, but lately I've thought a bit more about new things I want to try, and what I want to do next. If I had to make a list (and really, that's the point of this exercise) some things I want to accomplish in the next 5 years, it might look something like this:

  • Write 3-5 books. That doesn't mean publish or even get to final polish, just a first draft would be acceptable. I just have to keep working on something and moving forward.
  • Submit at least 3 books to agents/publishers, just for the hell of it. One of them is already mostly done, and the other two are heavily outlined (and will fall under those 3-5 I plan to write above). As I've said in the past I have no particular desire for the validation of a traditional publishing contract, but it's worth a shot just to see what happens. Even if none of them are picked up, that leads me to...
  • Self-publish 2-3 books. This could be stuff that is not picked up traditionally or one or two ideas I have that I know would have to be self-published (including a sequel to one of my previous books). 
  • Write at least 2 short stories per year and submit them to anthologies/magazines. I really like short stories and I've been working lately to get better at writing them. Two a year, even with my other goals above, should be reasonable, and even I will admit it would be cool to get a couple published and see my byline somewhere.
  • Collect at least 100 rejections. Between the three books and 10+ short stories, that should be more than doable. I'm not even sure why I want to do this, as I don't care that much about the ultimate publication, but I feel like this is just supposed to be part of the author experience and I kinda want to say that I've done it.
So yeah, I don't know if this is "where" I see myself so much as a just a bunch of roadposts I want to hit along the way. Where exactly will I be in five years if I follow this plan? I have no idea, but at least I'll feel that I accomplished something along the way.

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group here.

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