So... visitors to my website and readers of my blog, I know you exist. My website stats show a consistent 100-200 unique visitors a week, and that has to be more than me checking in from different devices and a few of my closets family members and friends. Those stats are higher than my writer facebook page which is all just my family and friends save, like, one.
Of course, I don't know if people are reading this blog page and perhaps I'm just writing into the internet void. :/
So if you come to my website on the regular, or the semi-regular, or just a few times, or this is your first, can you comment on this post? Just a 'hi' with no context is fine, but if you want to tell me something more -- that's great too! I just want to know you exist.
Going into 2017, I had several writing and writing-adjacent New Year’s Resolutions. I had some somewhat successes and some outright successes, and along the way many lessons.
The Outright Successes:
1 - Finish draft of (Name Redacted) project.
I had started this particular project many times (It was an idea I’ve had since high school) and written a two-thirds draft the previous year. In 2017, I did finish a complete draft, around 70,000 words. Since then, some attempts were made to redraft, but I think the story needs more time in the drawer, so to speak.
2 - Write 300,000 creative words, counting all original fiction, fanfiction, and creative nonfiction, including this blogging, but nothing school or work related.
I have not reached this yet, but I plan to within the next few days before 2018. (Or get to a close enough negligible amount.) I’m a few thousand words away, but a few thousand that is doable. I used this wonderful word tracker called write track. I knew to achieve this or any word count goal I would need to track it like goodreads tracks reading or the nanowrimo cite tracks the nano word count. Searching around, I found write track which lets you set yearly and project-specific word counts, and I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a tool like this.
This word count achievement is all the more meaningful for the writing endurance it built up in me, writing (almost) daily and often writing when was I’m not initially inspired. It also helped me finish many, various projects.
The Somewhat Successes:
1 - Submitting two pieces a week to literary magazines/writing contests/publishers.
I started out strong, but withered away as the year went on. However, I continued to submit throughout the year, at least a two or three a month. I found some new tools, as such as the Submission Grinder, (which I promise you is indeed a writing website and not an erotic website) to use to find places to submit. I also have several acceptances! (3 short story acceptances and 1 contest 2nd place win).
I will continue submitting regularly into 2018. Because its become a habit, I think I won’t put specific numbers and keep doing what I am doing. Two a week wasn’t necessarily realistic with the limited number of short stories i had to submit and dealing with the deadlines, submission periods, and turn around times of the literary magazines themselves.
2 - Writing two blog posts per week (for this very blog).
Again, strong start, and then it withered away. I will continue to blog, but I think it is better to write when I have something to say than to force content. I will follow the advice of the one of the writing blogs I follow and ‘slow blog’ as I have been for the last few months.
(It’s not a failed resolution if you learned something about yourself!)
Writing Resolutions for 2018
I want to start journaling! For writing so much in my life, I have never been much of a journal or diary writer. In particular I want to keep a ‘mindfulness journal’ that I write in the morning as a way to start off my day. I have not particularly know what that means yet, but I’m going to do this. (I want this to be part to a bigger ‘morning routine’ resolution, which journaling is a part.)
2 - Write smarter not harder.
There was some consideration into increasing my yearly word count, which you read above was 300,000 for 2017. However, I think that is a good amount to shoot for, being a heft, y’know 300,000. It’s also manageable with my life with a full time job, being a part time grad student, and having a social life and other hobbies. So I do not want to write harder… I want to write smarter. So what the fuck do I mean by that? Several things… (Because when one sets goals they should be measurable and have a plan to accomplish them)...
a) Stop writing in front of the TV like I think I can write into the TV.
b) Use more structure/prep before writing novel-length original fiction.
I find I can ‘wing it’ when it comes to original short stories and to fanfiction of any length. (I believe this type of writer, in certain circle, is called a ‘pantser’ as in a seat of your pants writer, and as opposed to a ‘planner.’) Perhaps I can be a pantser with these because I’ve had more practice with both of those genres and perhaps because they are bit more low stake. However, I struggle with novel-length original fiction, often starting strong and then the story drifting away somewhere 30,000-40,000 words in. I want to finish things goddamn it! I need to prep better. My first plan it to use the advice I’ve gleaned from a wonderful writing book I just read called The Anatomy of Story by John Truby.
I also have personal resolutions such as above mentioned morning routine and maybe, finally, getting myself to stop biting my fucking nails, but writing dominates a big part of it. Remember when you formulate your New Year’s Resolutions or any big goals throughout the year to plan them properly. Set yourself up for success! And good luck.
Or, why the hell would I want to throw my voice into writing advice blog circuit.
Really, why the hell would I?
That’s why I avoided blogging for so long. I have a very limited range of interests, and they are very similar if not exactly the same as every other writing blog that exists out there. As an unpublished and still novice writer, what do I have to add that’s of any use?
Honestly, that is one of my big pet peeves of so many writing blogs, which is the novices passing on bad advice. Especially publishing and business advice. I will not be doing that.
Except for this one piece of advice: Do not take outdated or bad business advice from unpublished writers, or even published writers who don’t take an active hand in shaping their business success, but who instead leave it to their agent. Go read the blog posts at kriswrites.com under the Business Musings sections if you want writerly business advice.
So what will I be doing here?
I will be your correspondent, observing and editorializing from the sidelines about my writing journey. I think chronicling the ups and downs, especially the downs, can be an important narrative for new writers to become familiar with. It’s so easy to get down and disappointed with yourself and your writing when it is not meeting some level of success that you hope for. Any level of success. Just a little bit of recognition. Someone please just publish one my short stories here.
Excuse me, let me get back on track. So what advice can I give? Well, first not let’s say advice. Let’s say perspective. I can give perspective as someone who started as a fanfiction writer. As someone who paid a pretty penny to get an undergraduate in creative writing. As someone who now works as a librarian. As a working, aspiring writer who can finish a short story but has some real struggles with finishing novel drafts.
And honestly? I’m also here blogging for myself. Getting these writerly words out, vented, and maybe find some people commiserate with, could be a real relief. So, welcome to my therapy journal???
Insights from the life of an aspiring, struggling writer; a passionate reader, and a working librarian.
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