May Goals

How’d I do in April?

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Finish my taxes.
  • Revise and submit another short story
  • Prepare a presentation for a teen writing workshop (the same one I used to facilitate!)
  • Prepare for a reading and a school presentation in Morden and Winkler
  • Attend Ad Astra.
  • Write my next chapter in An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Work on my the new novel project, and hit 30000 words so I’m on target to have first draft done by end of May.

Not too shabby. I knew I’d put a lot on my plate for April–several events, and a conference at the end, so I’m pleased for the most part. The only “free” weekend I had, also included my appointment with my accountant.

It was fun talking to the teen writers again. Big thanks to instructor, Katherena Vermette for inviting me. My reading in Morden was lots of fun. Thank you Gallery Wealth Management for hosting. It’s great to see businesses supporting the arts. To the best of my knowledge, I managed not to get my teacher friend fired when I spoke to her English classes in Winkler, so I’m calling that a huge win.

Ad Astra was a blast, as it has been the previous two years. It’s reaching the point of When Words Collide for me now where the con has so many great folks that I want to see, but not nearly enough time to catch everybody. I’ll talk more about Ad Astra later, but the roundup might be a two-fer with Creative Ink Festival after I’m home.

I did get all available stories back out on submission, but once again short story revision got the shaft. I did managed to do one pass through the story, and make some notes, but while I know what I want to fix to get this one polished for submission, I think actually undertaking those revisions will require more time than I was willing to give.

I really should’ve just started the month with my chapter for An Excuse for Whiskey, but I knew that my co-writer would be too busy getting her festival going this month to return me a chapter, and so it just slipped down the to-do list. Sorry, Sandra!

Most of my writing energy went into the new novel. And I made that goal! Ended up with almost 37000 words by month’s end, and while I wasn’t quite on NaNoWriMo pace, this was my most productive month for word count since January 2015. I’ll definitely take that.

And what’s on deck for May?

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Finish first draft on my new novel project
  • Have a blast reading at the Ottawa ChiSeries (that’s Tonight, May 3rd, folks!)
  • Attend Creative Ink Festival
  • Finish my next chapter of An Excuse for Whiskey
  • Apply for a travel grant
  • Apply for a creative writing grant
  • Maybe see the sun? If it happens to shine on Winnipeg? ::VIOLENT SHRUGGING::

That seems like plenty to me! What are your goals for May?

Write on!

April Goals

How’d I do in March?

  • Finish an article for Prairie Books NOW.
  • Keep my short stories out on submission
  • Write my next chapter in An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish editing that December short story and get it out on submission.
  • Finalize an old grant.
  • Submit a new travel grant.
  • Submit a new novel pitch.
  • STRETCH GOAL: finish the first draft of a short story I’ve been working on.

Pretty happy with how March went, all things considered.

I turned my article in to Prairie Books NOW, a story about Jack Castle’s Bedlam Lost, which should be appearing in PBN’s Spring issue. It’s been a while since I’ve written for them, my schedule hasn’t cooperated the last several issues, so it’s nice the editor keeps asking me for work.

Finally finished revising that story I’ve been wanting to get to since December. Out the door, and good luck, buddy. While I was working on those revisions, I had some thoughts on how to fix the next fallow short story on my list.

Wrote not one, but two (maybe three) chapters in the first draft of An Excuse for Whiskey. Co-writer Sandra Wickham got her next chapter to me lickety-split, so I thought I’d do the same. The second chapter came in pretty long, almost twice as long as our usual lengths so we may split it in two, and give Sandra’s character something fun to do in the middle when we start editing this beast. We’re over 40K now, so it’s definitely a novel, and momentum also seems to be building as we zoom to the end of our outline.

Also turned in edits on a story I sold back around Christmas, which while not on the list, was a nice feeling. I’m pretty stoked for you all to be able to read this one. It’s in the Thunder Road ‘verse, but that’s all I’ll say for now.

I sent off my final report for an old Manitoba Arts Council grant, and they found my report satisfactory, so I can apply for the next round of grants. I think I have the perfect project in mind. On the grant note, I decided not to apply for the travel grant this time around. The extra money would’ve been nice, but between actually getting words down and trying to reorganize and declutter my house, something had to give. There will be other opportunities to apply for travel grants.

Other big news: I started writing my next novel! Can’t talk about it yet. But it’s the first one I’ve drafted from scratch since November 2013. Too Far Gone had many scenes already in progress, and was winding down a series instead of starting one up. It’s exciting, and things have been going well, I think. Will share what I can about this one when I can.

What’s on deck? A lot! April is a very busy month. What with ChiSeries hosting a reading and workshop, my leaving for the first of two conventions in back to back weekends 3000 kilometers apart, two events in my old stomping grounds, oh yeah, and taxes.

  • Keep my short stories on submission
  • Finish my taxes.
  • Revise and submit another short story
  • Prepare a presentation for a teen writing workshop (the same one I used to facilitate!)
  • Prepare for a reading and a school presentation in Morden and Winkler
  • Attend Ad Astra.
  • Write my next chapter in An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Work on my the new novel project, and hit 30000 words so I’m on target to have first draft done by end of May.

Write on!

March Goals

February was longer than normal this year, but still felt too short. How’d I do?

  • Get my WiP done and out to my first readers so I can stop thinking about it and concentrate on other stuff.
  • Horror Con! It’s this weekend! I’m stoked. Come by Booth 502 and say hello!
  • Keep my short stories out on submission
  • Finish editing that short story from December and get it out on submission.
  • Work on a new novel pitch.

Almost made it! Horror Con prep took more out of me than I’d expected and a few things went sideways on me as I was getting things ready, losing me time. The con itself was great, but not conducive to getting any real writing done (which is a good thing, if I had time to write, I wouldn’t have been selling books!).

I puttered around with a couple different novel pitches that I want to write, but so far neither jumped out at me as a frontrunner for next project, and neither was quite ready to send off.

But the big one: MY NOVEL WORK IN PROGRESS IS FUCKING DONE! I’ve been working on this book off and on since 2009, so I’m really glad that it’s finally in the shape where I’m willing to let somebody else read it. Of course, now the paranoia sets in about how much my first readers will hate it, since it’s been a part of my life for so long.

What’s on deck for March?

Lots.

  • Finish an article for Prairie Books NOW.
  • Keep my short stories out on submission
  • Write my next chapter in An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish editing that December short story and get it out on submission.
  • Finalize an old grant.
  • Submit a new travel grant.
  • Submit a new novel pitch.
  • STRETCH GOAL: finish the first draft of a short story I’ve been working on.

Write on!

February Goals

I can’t believe February is half over before I got my goals post up for the month. Sure, it’s a leap year, but still…

How’d I start off the year?

  • Get my WiP done and out to my first readers so I can stop thinking about it and concentrate on other stuff.
  • Finish and submit a short story I’ve been noodling on for an anthology.
  • Finish my next chapter in An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish editing that short story from December and get it out on submission.
  • Get my short stories back out on submission.

Not great in terms of crossing things off the list, sadly, but I’m mostly okay with that. I finished two drafts of the WiP, but the book came in longer than I wanted it to be, so I’m taking another run through to tighten it up before I send it off. That’s almost done.

The short story deadline wasn’t end of January, it was February 7th. I still didn’t hit it. I like the story, it just didn’t have the right ending. There was no punch–or punchline–and it felt like something I’d done before, so I set it aside.

I reread that damned other story but then got sidetracked with more pressing projects, and didn’t actually finish my revisions.

I did keep my short fiction out on submission, as well as finishing another chapter in my collaborative novel.

And goals for February:

  • Horror Con! It’s this weekend! I’m stoked. Come by Booth 502 and say hello!
  • Keep my short stories out on submission
  • Get my WiP done and out to my first readers so I can stop thinking about it and concentrate on other stuff.
  • Finish editing that short story from December and get it out on submission.
  • Work on a new novel pitch.

I always seem to forget how short February is, time to get cracking!

Write on.

New Year, New Goals: 2016 Edition

Where’d the time go?

I had a lot of goals for December. Let’s take a look at those before I check in on 2015:

  • Finish another draft on my WiP and send it to my first readers.
  • Draft a new chapter for my collaboration with Sandra Wickham.
  • Revise a short story.
  • Get those fallow short stories back out the door.
  • Outline the next novel I want to write (that’s right. I’m going to try outlining, folks).
  • Organize a bunch of story links I’ve saved in my email on to Pinterest boards.
  • Clean/reorganize my office.

So I got another draft in on my WiP, primarily focusing on the final third, but I’m still not ready to let others see it, so I didn’t get it to my first readers (who, to be fair, were pretty busy with family and Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December).

I sent off my chapter for the collaborative novel, got the next one back from Sandra, and nearly finished a second chapter. It just needs a bit of tidying up.

I didn’t revise an old short story, which was my intention, but I did draft and revise a new Thunder Road holiday story for the website. I did one pass on the older story, but the end required more substantial rewrites than I’d remembered, so it’ll be a while yet before it’s out on submission.

There weren’t a lot of short story markets open to submissions in December, leastwise, not markets that applied to the stories I had available to send out, but I got a few back out the door, and collected a couple rejections and one new sale.

Outlining is still a relatively new thing for me, but I hammered out the major details and sent a pitch in. If I get the okay to proceed, this’ll be the big project for 2016.

I’d forgotten how many story links and articles I’d saved in my email! I worked on this a little bit every day of my holidays, and I still barely feel like I’ve made any headway. Maybe if this had been one of my only goals for December it might’ve happened. But progress was made. And…in scouring my draft folder, I found a couple of short stories that I’d started drafting years ago and had gotten buried and forgotten. I thought I’d lost the files.

I managed to tidy up the office, but not reorganize it. The kind of top down rebuild I want to do on my work space just isn’t going to happen until a couple other rooms in the house get some attention and some of the clutter gets cleared. But it’s better than it was.

How’d I do in 2015?

  • Finish Too Far Gone.
  • Attend at least one SF&F convention in a city that I’ve never been to.
  • Revise at least one of the four drafted novel manuscripts I’ve been letting lie fallow until it is in submission shape and then send it out.
  • Be more diligent about keeping my short fiction on submission.
  • Get those old stories polished and out the door (which I think will also help the goal above from getting lost in the shuffle)
  • Write and submit at least two new short stories.
  • Write a script for a secret comic project with Samantha Beiko.
  • Say no to more “author” stuff and yes to more “writing” stuff.
  • Keep better track of my daily word count output.

Pretty good! Better than last year, I think. The big one, obviously, was finishing Too Far Gone. It had to be done, I had a contract, a release date, but as Ted Callan is fond of saying: shit happens. I’m glad that none of the shit that came up in my life over 2015 stopped me from hitting this particular goal.

I attended the World Fantasy Convention in Saratoga Springs, New York, which was a blast mostly due to the company I kept. Saratoga Springs is a pretty town, and the weather was great while I was there, but I have no real desire to return. Unfortunately World Fantasy 2016 is in Columbus (a city I’ve already visited, AND it conflicts with C4) and I don’t think I’ll be attending it this time around.

I came pretty close to getting one of those other novels out the door, early 2016 it’ll be making the rounds for sure.

I was definitely more diligent in keeping my short stories on submission over the course of the year than I had been in 2014. More is a bit loaded though, and not exactly the best measuring stick. The early part of 2015 was little different than most of 2014, I’d occasionally remember to update my submission spread sheet, but it was only after I started making “keep short stories on submission” a part of my monthly goals that anything happened. I might just need to make that a placeholder goal for every month.

I revised three old stories last year and put them out on submission: A Thunder Road ‘verse one with a new protagonist, a Mennonite-flavoured magical realism story, and a Lovecraftian sword & sorcery story. The Lovecraftian story ended up in Shared World the book that GMB Chomichuk and I put together for C4 with help from James Gillespie, Samantha Beiko, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia. As for new stories, my superhero story “Midnight Man versus Doctor Death” was accepted for Tesseracts Nineteen: Superhero Universe and I sold a second one to another anthology that I can’t quite talk about yet.

I finished my script for my secret comic project with Samantha Beiko a while back, she’s been busy with weddings and freelancing and moving so nothing else to report about it yet.

I definitely said no to more “author” stuff. I had a few opportunities come my way that I passed on so that I could concentrate on Too Far Gone, unfortunate, as some of them would’ve been a nice payday. I’ll have to find a way to balance the two, as I use my writing income to go to conventions and take research trips so the more I make, the more I get to do.

Jamie Todd Rubin made this spread sheet to track a year of writing, which I’ve been using for 2015:

Here’s what a year of writing looks like:

2015 year of writing

I did find it useful, especially the colour-coded tiers. Getting close to the next tier was usually enough to keep me writing a little bit longer, or to try and steal another moment later in the day. It’s still hard to infer a lot from the sheet, as much of the year was spent revising old projects, and I was inserting words into Too Far Gone and my WiP.

Some thoughts: Sunday was my biggest writing day of the week, and Saturday and Monday fought all year for the lowest total. Monday makes a bit of sense to me, it used to be my evening shift at work. I was doing the majority of my writing on breaks and lunches at work for the first three-quarters of the year and the way I used those breaks was different on evenings, meaning I had roughly half the writing time. Saturday’s totals aren’t surprising. It’s a day off, but one that often got eaten up by convention trips, gaming, or errands.

Over the year, my average ended up in the 500 words per day range. Best day was 4090 words (that was in the rush to finish Too Far Gone by deadline), worst day was a lowly 10 words, but having the chart and an empty field waiting to be filled in meant I made the time to at least write a new sentence even when I was sick or traveling. Round about week 39 was when I started my new routine of writing before work instead of on my breaks, and it made a pretty significant difference, so I’ll definitely keep that up. I’m not sure I’ll carry the chart forward this year, at least not in the same way. I’m starting a writing journal, and scribbling down all the things I do on a given day, both business-related, and creatively. Last year I felt at times I was writing just to make a word count and not to move projects forward. I’ll still keep track of my word count for the year, but I want to see more of those words be out on submission in 2016.

Which leads me to my next set of goals:

  • Systematic finishing of the short stories I’ve started writing but not finished. I would like to get at least six new stories out the door this year.
  • Draft, revise, and submit an entirely new novel.
  • Complete first draft on An Excuse for Wolves.
  • Revise 2015 WiP for submission to agents and editors.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.

Stretch goals!

  • Edit one of my fallow novel first drafts.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo

What’s going to be systematic about finishing of my short stories? What I had in mind is this: Take the story I deem closest to submission, and polish it until I am ready to submit it. Then take the story I deem closest to having a completed first draft and finish that draft. Rinse and repeat. Too many stories have sat fallow in “almost ready” status and too many others have sat with a first five pages written, and no ending.

Goal two is a biggy. I technically haven’t done this yet. My first, unpublished novel took me two years to draft, and maybe another year of tinkering before I’d let anyone outside of my writing group look at it. Thunder Road took nine months to draft, and it was just over a year before I had it out the door and on submission. Tombstone Blues was a bit of a different case. The first draft was done in two furious months, hot on the heels of Thunder Road. I did one round of edits on Tombstone Blues with a first reader, and then let it lie fallow while I revised and tried to sell Thunder Road. Maybe, total work on that book was under a year, but I can’t be sure. Too Far Gone has some scenes that date back to the drafting of Thunder Road and Tombstone Blues, but even discounting those, it was over a year before I had a first draft for that book. I’ve drafted three other novels in and around the Thunder Road trilogy, but one of them never made it past a first edit round, one took four years of revisions, off and on between Thunder Road work, and it’s just about ready to send out. My most recently drafted novel hasn’t seen a revision yet.

I’ve been working on a collaborative novel with my friend Sandra Wickham that we jokingly dubbed An Excuse for Wolves even before we’d decided what we were going to write about (Now we jokingly call it An Excuse for Whiskey). It’s been a bit of a learning experience playing with someone else creatively, Sandra being a plotter, and me being a pantser, as well as trying to fit the book in around our other writing commitments. We’ve set a first draft deadline of early May–when Sandra’s festival Creative Ink takes place. I think we’re on track for that.

My 2015 WiP needs another draft, and then it’s off to my first readers. Once it comes back, I’ll give it one last round of edits and then start querying. Which means I have to dust off all the notes I made about querying back when Thunder Road was new.

Keeping the short fiction on submission was a month to month goal in the second half of 2015 and it worked well enough, so I’ll probably do the same thing in 2016.

Stretch goals are a thing on Kickstarter, so I’m including them in my monthly and yearly goal posts. We’ll see how it goes. I was going to just add the stretch goals to the list, but I think I’ve got enough on the 2016 plate without them. But…if I make it that far down the list, I’ll take another run at editing an old manuscript, and if I get that done by November, I’ll draft a new book for National Novel Writing Month.

Here’s what I hope to accomplish in January:

  • Get my WiP done and out to my first readers so I can stop thinking about it and concentrate on other stuff.
  • Finish and submit a short story I’ve been noodling on for an anthology.
  • Finish my next chapter in An Excuse for Whiskey.
  • Finish editing that short story from December and get it out on submission.
  • Get my short stories back out on submission.

Write on!

 

December Goals

Another year come and (almost) gone, and that means it’s time for my last goals post of 2015!

First off, how’d I do in November?

  • Have fun on tour.
  • Finish the current draft of my novel work-in-progress (I am close, and this might be unrealistic with two weeks on the road, but I’m gonna try).
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.

The easy one wasn’t as easy as expected, as there are always things that come up when traveling, and this time around starting the tour exhausted after prepping for C4 and then working the con didn’t help. But despite a double dose of con crud from C4 and then World Fantasy Con trying to take me out, I did have a good time on tour.

My novel-in-progress has a newly finished draft! It’s an actual book now, no more chapters that read “Chapter X: Shit Happens.” The book came in a shade over 110,000 words, which was longer than I’d expected when I started working on it, but I figure I can get it under 100K for sure, and maybe even close to the 90K target I had when I started writing it. Might not happen in the next draft, but the one after.

I sent out a couple short stories in November, which filled the technical requirement for this goal, but mostly when rejections came in, I didn’t resubmit the stories. The end of the WiP in sight ate up most of my writing focus and that’s okay.

Here’s what’s on deck for December:

  • Finish another draft on my WiP and send it to my first readers.
  • Draft a new chapter for my collaboration with Sandra Wickham.
  • Revise a short story.
  • Get those fallow short stories back out the door.
  • Outline the next novel I want to write (that’s right. I’m going to try outlining, folks).
  • Organize a bunch of story links I’ve saved in my email on to Pinterest boards.
  • Clean/reorganize my office.

It’s a lot, December always disappears faster than I think it will, what with gatherings and such, but I think I can do it. If there’s one thing these goal posts have taught me, it’s that even if I don’t hit every goal I set for myself, it’s that I end up further along than if I just did whatever.

I can’t believe another year is almost over! But hey, that’ll mean another round of big yearly goals to decide on soon.

Write on!

November Goals

November will be busy. I’m on the road for almost half the month, so things’ll be light around here in the goal department, other than having fun on tour.

  • Have fun on tour. World Fantasy Con is on deck and I always have a blast there, but first I’m doing a reading at Bakka Phoenix! I haven’t seen the new (to me, not so new to everyone else) location yet, and I can’t wait. I’m reading at some other venues for the first time this tour too, so thanks, Bakka Phoenix, Owl’s Nest, and Variant Edition for welcoming me, and thanks as always, Audreys, for your continued support.
  • Finish the current draft of my novel work-in-progress (I am close, and this might be unrealistic with two weeks on the road, but I’m gonna try).
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.

And what about October, you ask?

Here’s how it went:

  • Two more chapters locked on the WiP
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • More blogs to write!
  • Get that unsubmitted short story I’ve been plugging away at out the door.
  • My annual reread of Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October, one chapter a night, for the thirty-one nights of October. I started this personal tradition last year, and it’s a great excuse to revisit an old favourite.

Nice. Glad I got everything done.

October was pretty intense, but my new writing routine of words before work seems to be working. It was my best month for new words since May. In addition to new words, I managed to lock four chapters, rather than two, in the WiP, which is why I’ve made the big November goal of finishing the current draft of the book. Really starting to get a head of steam up on this one near the end of the draft, so I hope I can maintain that, despite being on the road for two weeks.

It’s a lot easier to keep the short fiction on submission when make it a routine. All my stories that were available to submit in October are back out in the world. AND: I finally added another story to the pile. Godspeed you weird little Mennonite Magical Realism yarn! I also got another short story revised in time to make an anthology deadline. It’s another Thunder Road yarn, pretty much all new characters, but a familiar venue, and a couple nods to book one. I really like the heroine, so I hope readers will too.

I wrote some blogs. I would’ve liked to blog more, but with the fence done various other things around the house chimed in saying: Fix me. Replace me. So…I’m just gonna cross this one off the list, and back away slowly.

Every time I reread A Night in the Lonesome October (pretty much every time I read any Zelazny, really), I find something new, or something I’ve forgotten. I wonder if that’s a nature of taking a leisurely month to reread what is otherwise a short novel. Maybe next year, I’ll glut myself on the book in one day (Halloween, natch) and see how that changes the experience.

Write on!

 

October Goals

September was busy round the goal department, and even busier outside of it.

  • Blogging, blogging, blogging! I’ve got guest blogs to write, and blogs for round here to promote Too Far Gone, and I probably don’t want to be doing that while I’m actually prepping for events! Great early career advice I received from Dave Gross (Thanks, Dave!)
  • Figure out what I’m going to read at the launch, and work out my intro.
  • Write a chapter of a collaborative novel I’m working on with Sandra Wickham
  • WiP Lock two more chapters, dammit.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Get that unsubmitted short story I’ve been plugging away at out the door.
  • Oh yeah, finish building my damned fence. (not really a writing goal, but it’ll steal writing time until its done)

Okay, that actually went better than expected. Only one box left unticked, and while I did manage another pass on that short story, I’m still not happy with it. I made some pretty significant cuts in a previous draft, and I don’t like the balance I’ve struck in the worldbuilding elements and where they’re revealed.

The Too Far Gone launch was amazing. I’ll post something about that soon. My entire weekend was pretty much recovery time from the awesome.

Wrote a couple of guest blogs that were planned, and knocked off a couple that showed up at the last minute, in addition to pre-writing a few for home base here. I’ve built up a bit of a buffer for myself. Not as much as I’d have liked, or as early as I’d have liked, but time and fences make fools of us all.

But:

FENCE. IS. DONE.

And it’s spectacular.

Finally fought through a couple of tricky chapters in the WiP and ended up satisfied enough with them to add them into the larger draft document. The next two chapters look like they’ll be easier going, now that I’ve sorted those other two. Here’s hoping.

I actually worked ahead and got two chapters done on the collaborative novel I’m working on with Sandra Wickham. Following the outline (Look, Sandra, I can do it!) showed that my next chapter didn’t hinge on what my co-author wrote, so unless she serves me a huge curveball, I’ve got that done. Depending on when the next chapter lands on my desk, I may try to write another one in October.

And for October:

  • Two more chapters locked on the WiP
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • More blogs to write!
  • Get that unsubmitted short story I’ve been plugging away at out the door.
  • My annual reread of Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October, one chapter a night, for the thirty-one nights of October. I started this personal tradition last year, and it’s a great excuse to revisit an old favourite.

Write on!

September Goals

First off, how’d I do in August? (I cannot believe it is August.)

  • Copy edits of Too Far Gone.
  • Page proofs of Too Far Gone.
  • A couple of shiny things popped on to my radar, and there’s a couple of anthologies for which I’d like to write a story. I have started noodling with both, they’re at the 1K mark. But both have deadlines of August 31st. I can probably get one, but not both done in the month so I’m seeing which one jazzes me the most.
  • Have a blast at When Words Collide in Calgary. (This is a bit of a soft pitch, but whatever. I’ve got some work to do while I’m there also.)
  • Keep my unsold short stories on submission.
  • Get that unsold short story out the door.
  • WiP: I’d initially hoped to have this ready to go for When Words Collide, but that’s not going to happen now. Hello, World Fantasy Convention deadline! Forward progress is the big thing here. I really want this book out the door and on submission this year.
  • Start writing pre-writing blog posts for Too Far Gone promotional purposes.
  • Write my final report for my last Manitoba Arts Council Grant.
  • Write a travel grant for World Fantasy Convention

Got both of the biggies off the list. Unfortunately, my page proofs landed the first weekend of my holidays. Normally this would be a good thing, but I was counting on having them off the plate and away so that I could concentrate on other stuff. I knew I’d be away from home that weekend and hoped to use some of that time to recharge and regroup to tackle new projects, and finish some lingering hangers on. Alas, not to be. Edits, be they substantive, copy, or proofs, are inevitably time-sensative and always draining for me. An excuse, but whatever. They’re done. I’ve signed off on the text and the cover, which brings me to this item from the Yearly Goals list:

  • Finish Too Far Gone.

BOOM. Another yearly goal bites the dust.

As for the rest, not bad, I guess, but not as good as I was hoping. The other big thing that happened that I wasn’t necessarily expecting to fall during my holidays was replacing my rotten old fence with a new one. (Okay, I was expecting to do it eventually. Dreading might be the more accurate word for how I was feeling.) I lost a solid three days there. And while I managed to scratch away at a few items in the evenings after work had halted, I was mostly too exhausted to think straight. Oh, and the fence isn’t done yet.

Also: surprising no one, I enjoyed demolishing the old fence a lot more than building the new one.

hot fuzz fence

I started drafting stories for both of those anthologies. One made it to a finished draft, but not a polished one. The other one stalled at around 1200 words as I found the legs on the first story.

When Words Colllide was a blast (even a killer headache on Friday couldn’t dampen all my fun), but then I knew it would be. It always is. As for the short fiction: stories went out. Rejected stories came in. Made a sale. Unsold stories went back out again. I’ve managed to stay on track with that goal a lot better lately. Less so, the WiP. I managed a couple more runs at a difficult chapter, and made some notes for future chapter revisions, but sadly, future book got beat up by present book. As did that other short story I wanted to submit.

Speaking of Too Far Gone again: I managed to prewrite a couple of blogs. And arranged for some interviews and guest appearances on blogs and podcasts. Didn’t pre-write as many blogs as I’d have liked, but hey, if the book missed it’s printer date, those blogs would’ve looked pretty silly, amirite?

I did write my final report for my Too Far Gone grant, as well as a proposal for a travel grant. I still have to finish crunching numbers before I turn them in, but looking back at the wording, I’m going to call those lines a win.

What’s on deck for September?

  • Blogging, blogging, blogging! I’ve got guest blogs to write, and blogs for round here to promote Too Far Gone, and I probably don’t want to be doing that while I’m actually prepping for events! Great early career advice I received from Dave Gross (Thanks, Dave!)
  • Figure out what I’m going to read at the launch, and work out my intro.
  • Write a chapter of a collaborative novel I’m working on with Sandra Wickham
  • WiP Lock two more chapters, dammit.
  • Keep my short fiction out on submission.
  • Get that unsubmitted short story I’ve been plugging away at out the door.
  • Oh yeah, finish building my damned fence. (not really a writing goal, but it’ll steal writing time until its done)

Probably too much. But the list never gets smaller nor cares how busy I am at the day job.

Write on!

 

August Goals

How’d I do in July?

  • Work in Progress, keep at it. Lock down four more chapters, which will take me to the last 50 pages of the previous draft, and make a plan for the revisions of those pages.
  • Finish revising and submit one of my fallow short stories.
  • Get all of my unsold short stories back out on submission.

Pretty good, but not perfect. Still small victories, right?

I locked in those four chapters of the Work in Progress, and almost locked a fifth. It needs a couple more run throughs before I’m satisfied to add it to the manuscript. The WiP now stands at 68000 words, and with just under 20000 (very rough) words left to revise and flesh out, I should be able to bring this draft in under 100000 words. After that it will feel like a real book, and I can hone it into submission readiness.

That short story came very close to going out the door, but while it has been revised, I’m still not sure it’s for the better. It’s shorter, and with short stories, shorter usually is better, but it didn’t quite sing on reread. So I’m going to take another run at it.

Had every short story back out the door and into the world in July. Some of them more than once! Collected a new pile of rejections, some personalized, some form letter, and no new sales, but that’s okay. I can’t sell any of the stories I don’t submit.

That was my July. I feel pretty good about the month, considering there was two rounds of substantive editing on Too Far Gone that happened over the span of the month, and copy edits rolled up to say hello on the 31st.

What’s on deck for August? Lots.

  • Copy edits of Too Far Gone.
  • Page proofs of Too Far Gone.
  • A couple of shiny things popped on to my radar, and there’s a couple of anthologies for which I’d like to write a story. I have started noodling with both, they’re at the 1K mark. But both have deadlines of August 31st. I can probably get one, but not both done in the month so I’m seeing which one jazzes me the most.
  • Have a blast at When Words Collide in Calgary. (This is a bit of a soft pitch, but whatever. I’ve got some work to do while I’m there also.)
  • Keep my unsold short stories on submission.
  • Get that unsold short story out the door.
  • WiP: I’d initially hoped to have this ready to go for When Words Collide, but that’s not going to happen now. Hello, World Fantasy Convention deadline! Forward progress is the big thing here. I really want this book out the door and on submission this year.
  • Start writing pre-writing blog posts for Too Far Gone promotional purposes.
  • Write my final report for my last Manitoba Arts Council Grant.
  • Write a travel grant for World Fantasy Convention

This is more than plenty for the goal plate, but I do have a week of holidays coming up in August. So we’ll see how it goes…

Write on!