Saturday, December 31, 2011

First Quarter Goals 2012

This year I have a couple of more general goals. In particular, I feel as though I am starting to find my groove again -- which was lost due to both good and bad life events.

This year is my Mind Like Water year.

"Mind Like Water" is a zen concept. Water keeps its equilibrium all the time. As my dad used to say, it seeks its own level, and then stops. Forces can act on it, and it responds -- splashing, waves -- but when the outside force acting on it stops, the water flows back into place and is calm again.

In other words, water is focused on its business, and though you can distract it, it always goes right back to its business. A compass might be another good metaphor. So for me, this year is about focus.

And my focus is on hitting 2014 with at least two more Mick and Casey books, and two more Starling and Marquette books, plus a few miscellaneous other things.

So for all of 2012, the prime directive is to write Devil In A Blue Bustle, and The Man Who Stepped Up. The secondary goals are to write a novelization of a tricky screenplay, and publish an old trunk novel (YA-ish Fantasy, which I'll talk about later), and write a few shorter things, especially for Mick and Casey. I figure a quarter of that will be....

A Round Of Words in 80 Days, 2012, First Round:

Finished draft of Devil In a Blue Bustle. This was supposed to be a short story, the a novelette, and somewhere about 20,000 words I gave up on it because there wasn't a market to sell it to.

Now I think it will be a good short novel, 40 or 50k. Here's a concept for the cover. (I think it's going to be a transition to a new style.) And the blurb will go something like this:

A mysterious woman in blue attempts to hire Mick and Casey to fake a murder of her husband, so the husband can escape his debts. When the woman and her husband are killed for real, Mick and Casey are the only hope of the poor dumb gunman who took the job.

This might take the whole round to "ripen" but it shouldn't take up all the actual effort, so I will also be brainstorming and outlining other works. (Particularly The Man Who Stepped Up.)

As before, the preliminary measure is going to be minutes:

6500 minutes total by March 22.

That will be divided up into 600 minute weeks (with an assumed week off somewhere in the middle). Or about 90 minutes a day average.

Prep Work

I seem to have completely lost the extensive post I wrote about this. So I will talk more about it later. But one of the big efforts I'm going to make is tweaking my working method. In particular this blog post by Rachel Aaron inspired me to think about formalizing some of my prep work.

I already do nearly all of what she proposes, but just in a natural, half-assed sort of way. I'm not aiming to get to 10,000 words a day or anything, just looking for a baseline with these kinds of habits, which I know work well for me. I just don't know how well.

So tomorrow, in New Year's Day, I will start at Day 0, by gathering my notes and getting the outlines in order.


My goal for the time being is to do two posts per week in addition to the update posts on Sunday and Wednesday. If my productivity efforts pay off, I might do more, but since I'm also going to do a blog tour in February, I really want to keep my eyes on the prize this year. In the Mind Like Water pond, blogging is a kid throwing pebbles.

So... I'm hoping for Tuesdays and Thursdays as my other posting days. We'll see how that goes. In the meantime....

See you in the funny papers.


Tracy McCusker said...

"Mind Like Water" year--a great phrase for renewed (and renewing) focus on the important bits.

It'll be wonderful to be in the trenches with you again as you work on the next novel draft.

Good luck, and happy new year!

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Tracy.

Looks like we've got over a hundred people again. That's a whole lot of writers kicking it into gear!

Tracy McCusker said...

Indeed! I was excited to see how long the opening post was for Round 1. This turnout is quite a bit larger than it was for Round 4. It's thrilling to see the ROW community expand. I'm getting a real kick out of reading all of the goals posts, even though I know the time would be "more productive" elsewhere. The enthusiasm is just so heady!