Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions: Writing in 2015

It's the Year of the Sheep, which is very evident here in Japan (even though I don't think the Chinese New Year has rolled over yet).  But they still celebrate January First with the rest of us, and so it's time for making promises we don't intend to keep.  Er, uh, I mean...  Setting goals for the new year.  My goals this year focus on becoming a better and more productive writer.

I've been making some positive changes in my writer's philosophy these past several months, influenced greatly by prolific genre writer and indie guru Dean Wesley Smith and my own more honest observations of myself, the industry, and the indie writers' realm all together.  

I could write quite an essay out of all this, but I'm going to try to keep this simple, for your sake and mine.  (It's now after 4am, after all, and I need to get to bed!)

My writing resolutions in 2015:

1. Conquer "book as event" thinking.  This is something DWS talks about quite a bit.  In a nutshell, it means that I choose not to spend a crazy amount of resources (time and money) obsessing over and/or promoting every book or story I write.  Those resources are much better spent writing the next one!  So I plan to write, publish, repeat.  As opposed to write, publish, spend a few weeks patting myself on the back, spend a lot of money marketing through channels that may or may not work, come out disappointed at the end and maybe muster up the courage to do it all again.  Doesn't sound too great, does it?  So I'm going to tend more toward Hugh Howey's path (poster child of indie writers everywhere), which is generally to write more material and let the books market each other.

2. Approach "Pulp Speed".  This is also a favorite topic of DWS.  Pulp Speed is like Warp Speed, but instead of traveling across the stars you're trying to crank out stories like they used to back in the Pulp Era.  Realistically, working 12-hour shifts and spending time with my family, I'm not going to write a million words a year.  Just not going to happen.  But combined with #1 above, I can certainly get a lot of stuff written if I keep my head down and focus.  My planned publishing plate for 2015 includes two novelettes, a novel-length collection of stories, and another full novel (that's all in addition to Hungry Gods, which I've just wrapped up; that's technically a 2014 book).

3. Proportional resource management.  This refers back to the Big Two Resources: Time and Money.  I'm not saying in Resolution #1 that I'm not going to do any marketing at all.  I'll do some, but I don't want to spend too much money nor more than a few days on it.  And only with the bigger books.  The little stuff (like the two novelettes/novellas I plan to write) don't need marketing efforts.  Realistically, they just won't return the readership or the money spent on them.  They're small projects and so they get a small piece of pie.  For example, I'll just do the covers on the small boys myself (with some help from my more artistically gifted wife) rather than hire a professional.  Big books deserve more (but still limited) resources, while smaller ones deserve less.

My reading resolutions in 2015:

1. Read one novel per quarter.  I know this is not earth-shattering and most of you probably read four books a month, not a year.  But for me, this is a realistic goal.  This is to exclude comic books, graphic novels, game books, etc., which make up a large portion of my book browsing time.  I've read quite a few graphic novels and several-issue trade paperbacks over the last couple years, because they don't require much commitment to get done.  More pictures, less words, ya know?  And while those are all well and good, I won't improve my own writing much without reading more novels.  So I need to carve out that kind of time commitment.  Besides, my "to be read" shelf hasn't stopped growing just because I got busy.

2. Make at least one of the four an indie published book.  Only fair, right?  I already have a few in mind.

3. Post reviews of these books.  If I want folks to review my stuff, I should be reviewing what I read.  Besides, maybe someone will read my review, investigate me further, and find one of my own books they'd like to read.

There.  Three on each side, nice and balanced and simple enough to get done.

And now, speaking of resource management, I'm going to bed!  This is a blog entry, after all, not a novel, and I've spent enough time on it.

Thanks for reading, and please share your own goals for the new year, writing, reading, or otherwise!

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