Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How'd I Do?

I'm going into this with as positive an attitude as possible. Last year, I set forth a number of goals (not resolutions!); I know I fell short. Rather than beat myself up, though, I want to look at these goals and try to figure out WHY I fell short, and keep this in mind when I set forth my 2011 goals in my next post.

Goal One - Maintain my bi-monthly column at Paperback Reader. This should be easy and a no-brainer; my "Papercut" column is part editorial, part critique, and I've got plenty of thoughts about the horror genre that I can put to virtual paper.

I did continue this until Paperback Reader went through a soft reboot of sorts. Eventually I pulled the plug on my "Papercut" column, however, for a number of different reasons (devoting my time to other projects being the foremost).

Goal Two - Non-fiction book project Number One. Yeah, yeah, I'm being purposefully vague here, and I will disclose more as I get closer to seeing this one completed . . . which, if I can keep my head down and nose to the grindstone (and that's the very last time that I, as a writer, will use that clich├ęd phrase), I can see being completed in three months time.

I got caught up on a lot of details of what the final product MIGHT look like and let this get in the way of my completing the project. In the end, I felt burnt out on this WIP (Work in Progress). (The good news is that I'm starting to get the jazz back, though!)

Goal Three - 2010 Novel Number One. I'm working through an old National Novel Writing Month novel I completed in 2006, expanding the text, changing the perspective and fleshing out the characters a bit more. I've started work on this already, and would like to see a finished draft by summer.

I trunked this novel.

Goal Four - 2010 Novel Number Two. This novel features a character that will appear in my contribution to the upcoming anthology Dark, scheduled to be released later this year. I'm as excited about this one as I am about 2010 Novel Number One, and look forward to learning a bit more about this great city in which I live(-ish - technically I don't live in Portland, OR, proper) as I hope to tie some of this novel into the history and geography of the Portland, OR, area. The goal for this is to see a first draft completed by the end of 2010.

This COULD have happened. In fact, it SHOULD have happened. And not to make too many excuses, but I'm going to blame my inability to make as much time for writing as I should have on this not happening. The character is still alive . . . in my mind, and while I realize this doesn't do anyone any good, I still have hope that I'll be getting him down on paper again sometime this year.

Goal Five - Non-fiction book project Number Two. This is a big one, with a lot of work to do and headway to make. I'm looking forward to tackling this as it's been bubbling around in my brain for at least a year now, and it's about damned time I throw those words down. More details as this project becomes more concrete.

This didn't happen. I discovered about a month or so ago that the research I'd been doing for this book project was exactly 50% of what it should have been. When I discovered this, I was slightly amused, slightly annoyed and slightly put off. An odd feeling over being overwhelmed hit me, and I haven't really focussed on this book-in-process since then.

Goal Six - As much short fiction writing as I can. There are some markets that have asked to see some of my work, and I can't let them down! Besides, I can always go back to a short story to keep the writing gears turning if any of my novel or non-fiction projects give me any grief.

I poked at some short stories, but didn't complete/submit anything.

Goal Seven - Not quite a fiction or non-fiction project, but there's still some writing involved, so there you go. I meant to complete this project in 2009, and I need to touch base with the collaborator with whom I was working, but I think this will be a fun project to get off the ground and shop around.

This was a complete . . . ummmm . . . incomplete project. The search for a collaborator became a stumbling block that I allowed myself to use as an excuse to move on to other projects.

I look at these old goals, and it would be easy for me to feel as if I didn't accomplish much. I have to remind myself that this isn't necessarily true. Mail Order Zombie grew quite a bit in 2010, and I funneled a lot of energy into my podcasting (including the Plan D: Countdown the Halloween podcast I produced in October). And I'm okay with that. I enjoy podcasting, and given the opportunity, I have two or three other podcasts I'd like to launch(!).

I don't have the numbers in front of me, but I typically write the movie reviews I produce for Mail Order Zombie, and I'm guessing I produced around 100 movie reviews last year. I don't have a word count, but I am going to "count" that as writing, so I don't feel like I completely bottomed out in 2010 writing-wise.

There was also some travel that would have happened if it wasn't for Mail Order Zombie. I REALLY enjoy going to conventions, and look forward to some next year; now that I know what to expect in terms of what can happen at a con and everything we need to do at home before leaving for one, we can plan our trips a bit better.

Other commitments and issues certainly pulled me away from my writing this year as well. This year, I'll be sure to think about more than just my writing when setting my goals . . . which I'll write about later this week.


Casey C said...

You're a braver man than me, I have too much self loathing to look back at my goals from last year!

I'd say you're in the clear still. MOZ has gotten pretty big this past year, so I wouldn't sweat it.

On the subject of conventions, I hope we see ya in Indy this march. I'd love to hit some more shows myself, but my headworms usually talk me out of going at the last minute.

greendeva3 said...

MOZ is a very worthwhile 2010 accomplishment :)

Dr. Squid said...

Good idea looking at WHY things didn't get done! Also, seems like quite a bit to do, so maybe fewer items to do might help? And you do seem like a crazy busy guy. Hmmm...sounds familiar. Good luck on things and hope to see you at a couple of cons this year!