Having gotten side-tracked on Wednesday into writing about the usefulness of the knowledge of our own mortality, I am back to a slightly more cheerful subject today, my plans and resolutions for the coming year.
You’ll notice that most of my goals are stated in numbers. I’m a great believer in what gets measured gets done and I find setting things down in cold, hard numbers makes them easier to track and achieve. It’s much easier to judge the success of I will write 2000 words per working day than I will write a novel this year. The first will fairly inevitably lead you to writing a novel this year if you have any competence in narrative architecture at all. The second allows so much wiggle room you might never start. For example, with the second resolution it is possible for me to wake up on January 1st, think I will write a novel this year– starting tomorrow then go right back to sleep. I can repeat this process every day for most of the rest of the year. The first goal gives me a measurable goal, that must be attained that day, if it is a working day. For me a good goal is one that forces action in the near term, not promises grandiose achievements at some distant date.
The other thing about goals, as most anyone will tell you, is that they should be within your control, achievable entirely by your own efforts. Thus I will write 2000 words per working day until I finish a novel then I will submit it to an agent or publisher is a good goal. I will sell a novel this year is not because it relies on the decision and effort of someone other than yourself.
Having belaboured this point, I will now proceed to my own goals for 2012.
In case you haven’t guessed, one of my goals is to write 2000 words per working day. You’re probably thinking that sounds suspiciously like your usual working practise, Bill. You’re right too– I mean why should I abandon a method that has allowed me to earn my living doing something I love without having to work very hard at all? If it works, don’t fix it are words I live by.
That said, my goal this year is slightly different. My normal practise is to write 2000 words a day until I finish a book and then edit and rewrite until I am satisfied then move on to the next book. This year I am actually going to attempt to write 2K new words every working day, even as I edit work that has already been done. It means working for slightly longer than my normal 3 hours a day but I think I ought to be able to manage it if I put my mind to it.
My other work related goal is to release something new every month. This may sound like madness given what I have said about setting achievable goals within your own control. It would have been insanity even a few years ago, if I was going to release something through normal publishing channels. However, with the coming of Kindle Direct Publishing, I can release stuff at my leisure so the whole niggling find a publisher thing is not an issue.
I also have a fair amount of the work for this already done. My two novels Sky Pirates and Mask of the Necromancer are more or less ready to go. I have two Warhammer books due next year as well, Sword of Caledor and Angel of Fire. These are already done. I have a bunch of short stories written and I will most likely put out an omnibus edition of the Terrarch novels at the end of the year. So you can see there is no danger of me abandoning the principles of creative laziness by which I have guided my life. You’ll notice that in keeping with my principle of setting achievable goals I am including short stories as part of the schedule.
I intend to lose one kilo a month for the whole of the year. I am mentioning that here in the hope that the embarrassment of having to admit to failure at the end of the month on this blog will keep me on the straight and narrow. I intend to do this by walking for an hour or so every day, and cutting out the usual selection of junk food I indulge in.
And that’s what I am prepared to admit to planning in the coming year. At the end of each month I will update my progress. As I’ve said before there is plenty of personal stuff I am uncomfortable discussing in a public forum, so in the interests of good taste, decorum and my natural reticence to talk about anything personal or emotional I am only going to write about the things I am comfortable tracking in public. Let’s see how this all works out next year.
And on that note, I will bow out for 2011. I wish you a Happy, Safe and Prosperous New Year when it comes!