2014 turned out to be one of the worst years of my life, though it got better (slightly) as the year went along. I barely wrote anything, though I did manage to finish one short novel (October) that will be out in the next month or so. 51,000 words for the year. When I look back, I don’t even know how I got that many done.
But this isn’t about looking backward. This is about looking forward, and I have a lot of goals for the year.
- Be More Open – Through more than a few coincidences, I was introduced to the work of Brené Brown. It, along with The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer and an introduction to the story and work of Ksenia Anske has convinced me that I’d like to share more of my process and my struggles. I don’t expect I’ll share all the details of my family life, of course, but writing is a lonely business to begin with. There’s no need to make it lonelier by trying to pretend I’m superhuman. So, more blog posts, more tweets, more attempts to connect with the half dozen of you that are paying attention.
- Write More – The most I ever wrote in a year was 256,000 words in 2012. The second half of that year, I wrote every single day. I want to repeat that effort, and even blow it out of the water. When I’m writing on a roll, I average about a thousand words an hour. I’ve set a goal to write three hours a day, every day. If I get on a good roll, the math says I’ll write a lot of books. At the very least, I’d like to write one book in each series this year. That means finishing Bloodweave (A Wizard’s Work 3) , and writing the second Lords of Genova book, the third Grim Repo book, and a sequel to Minders. If I just get those books finished, I’ll count it as a good year.
- Read More – One of the casualties of 2014 was my fiction reading effort. I just couldn’t focus on other people’s stories. I think I read about twenty books this year, which is far off my normal 50-60, and most of those books were non-fiction.
- Be Kind to Myself – One of the major issues behind my troubles of the past year and a half were outsized expectations of what I can accomplish based on a perfectionist view of the world. It’s taken a lot of work to even begin to overcome the negative thoughts that missing my expectations, or the perceived expectations of others, could generate in my head. Writing is art. It’s not subject to a set of rules that defines what the perfect book is. There is no perfect book for everyone. So there’s no point in beating myself up when sales or reviews don’t live up to some arbitrary standard. I’ll write the best books I can and be grateful for each reader that chooses to spend their time reading my stories.
Ultimately, I want to spend my time writing and enjoying the moment instead of worrying about external and internal expectations, and I want to share those experiences with my readers.