Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 Wrap-Up: Writing, Review, and the Final Days

I have amazed myself with what I can accomplish when I really set a goal and strive for it!  I decided on DEC 22 that I was going to finally write a story I’d been dreaming on for a while, and get it done in time to submit it to the current quarter of the Writers of the Future Contest.  That deadline being DEC 31st.  So I had one week to get this done, even with Christmas and working four 13-hour shifts.  

To my own amazement, I made it!  And in doing so, learned a little about myself, my writing, and conquered a couple of imaginary barriers within myself to getting things done. 

One being, the false idea that I have to be setup in 95% perfect surroundings and situation in ordered to get real writing done.  That shouldn’t be necessary.  As I’m fond of saying but not of practicing: “Mood is a thing for cattle, and love play, not for writing!”  (If that sounds familiar or you’re hearing it in Patrick Stewart’s voice, I stole it from 1984’s Dune movie and changed one word.  Can you guess which?) 

Another one is embracing the teachings of Heinlein and Dean Wesley Smith.  Specifically, I sat down, banged out the story, and with just a once-over of revision, sent that bastard out!  BAM!  Now it’s time to move on to new stories of wonder! 

(Actually, it’s time to get my butt back to writing the sequel—or rather prequel—to Hungry Gods.)

In other news, this blog has now officially surpassed the 100,000 page view mark.  Woo-hoo for that!

And with 2016 only days away, I have of course been refining my goals for the next year.  I actually started working toward that in October and have been making progress since then. 

One aspect of that is to do even less blogging than usual (which isn’t that much to begin with), less Facebook (maybe even do away with it all together), less Tweeting (again, virtually none now), and less of all the messing around that isn’t writing.  Only WRITING is writing.  Everything else is of limited value.  Very, very limited, in my opinion. 

I did spend an awful lot of time on other-than-writing things in 2015, including some reformatting, republishing, and too much marketing (though not nearly enough by some folks’ standards).  My research and experiments in marketing proved that the amount of money and time dumped into that stuff does not come back to you.  Or at least, it didn’t come back to me.  I think the marketing market is exaggerated by those who stand to make a buck from it, while those of us trying to utilize it (under peer pressure from those who may or may not really know what they’re talking about) end up not getting the exaggerated results we were promised.  I think you have to be at least a minor-league Somebody for any of that marketing to do your book sales much good.  And in order to get there, you have to do more writing! 

So my goals for words produced keep going up, even while my time allowed for doing so keeps going down.  Though I did surpass the 100,000 mark on words written this year!  Actually, about 123,000w.  Woo-hoo for that, too!  Now that word count is a measure of work done, not necessarily of words published in books.  My blogging this right now goes into that count, as does time spent revising, adjusted as half as many words – it’s a weird equation, but one I’m comfortable with.  Because, again, it’s a measurement for me on how much writing work I’ve done, and this year I did a damn good job, considering I work 50+ hours a week, have a family, and spent 2-3 months barely writing as I was gearing up for a deployment to the Middle East.  And in 2016, I hope to be even more productive.

I also learned a lot this year.  One of those lessons, in fact, was to not spell out exactly what I did learn or what my ever-shifting plans may be.  Therefore, I’m not going to say anything more about that.

In fact, I’m not going to say anything more at all right now.  Happy New Year, everyone.  Now, I have writing to do!

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