One of the writing groups I participate in is A Round of Words in Eighty Days. Four times a year, we set our own measurable goals with regards to writing. Once or twice a week, we write an update post and share the link on ROW80’s blog. It’s a blog hop…we all make a point to visit at least a few of the other author’s posts and encourage each other.
Last week was the last update for Round Three. I don’t think Round Four has started yet, but here’s my update anyway.
It’s time to set goals for Round Four!
Round Four includes NaNoWriMo, which is one of my favorite events. This will be my fifth year! I will probably have a new release happening just one week in, which throws a bit of a wrench into the plans, but I can prepare for that.
Right now I’m concentrating on getting The Cities of Luna ready for publication. My editor and I are busy sending updated versions of the stories back and forth to each other. November’s full moon is on the 6th. We plan to release the collection and one stand-alone short, Moon Dragons, that day.
For NaNoWriMo, I’m returning to Victoria Pontifex, my Steampunk series. I put it on the shelf more than a year ago, mainly because I wanted to tie the five novels together and I wasn’t sure how I’d do that. I’m probably going to write book five, Night on Bald Mountain, partly because it is the only one that I haven’t actually started yet, and also because it is the story that ties into all the other ones and if I write it first, I can more easily insert these character’s appearances into the first four books.
So how does this translate into reachable, measurable goals? With editing, it’s difficult to measure. I may have a 5k story chock full of comments from my editor, or a 5k story that only has a few little things to fix. I think I will say ‘some editing’ and leave it at that.
One goal I am trying out this round is to finish a short story within a few days of starting it. If I don’t, I tend to lose my train of thought, or I add in so many complications the story grows wonky legs and wanders off on its own. On a very-good day, I can do 5-8k in a day.
So, six days a week, I will do either ‘some editing’ or ‘some writing.’ As I’ve defined previous goals, 1k words is an acceptable day, 2k is a good day. If once a week I don’t work, that’s OK. I am also doing other writing-related activities like promo and artwork for the blogs and promo. I started a blog just for The Cities of Luna, and I’m keeping this blog active as well.
Another writing-related activity is preparing for NaNo. I made chicken enchiladas last night and froze two large pans full. Freezing dinners is a great way to make sure I’ll have lots of writing time in November! Another prep-task I need to do is to make notes and an outline for Night on Bald Mountain, as well as take stock of where I am in the first four books. They are all started, but some are more complete than others.
When making plans, I need to keep in mind my OCD. Even just writing this post, mentioning NaNoWriMo, my brain is threatening to switch over from The Cities of Luna to Victoria Pontifex. I can’t do that yet. It would be best if I can get not only the collection of Lunar shorts, but the single releases ready for November, December, January, and hopefully February. (We don’t have a blue moon—two full moons in the same month—until July 2015.)
If my brain locks into Victoria Pontifex for NaNo, which it probably will, I would be most productive if I could finish the other four books in the months following. Most authors don’t do this. Most authors write the first book or two and have an idea of what the others will be, then they shop them out. Usually the first book or two are published before the next is finished.
A marketing technique I’ve seen and admired is to have a rapid-release of titles in a series. The main reason this appeals to me is that I’ve seen too many authors crash and burn when their first book does well but they can’t get another ready in reasonable time, if at all. I love the idea of having all five books ready to go when the first is released. It is also good to write them all together because there is an overall arc that has to make sense. I don’t want to fall into the same trap as the writers of Lost, where they write themselves into a corner and then go “Well, what the heck are we gonna do now?”
So there’s my thoughts. I’ll clarify the goals for next week, which is probably when Round Four starts.