A lot of my friends and colleagues in the writing world are posting retrospectives on 2015 – it seems a very writerly thing to do, when your success is pretty dependent on your productivity, commitment and, in some cases, luck. I’ve decided I won’t be doing that this time around. Instead, I’ll be looking ahead to 2016 and setting some clear goals on what I’d like to accomplish as a writer (and an individual) in the next twelve months.
- Finish my current novel: I spent the last three months almost exclusively writing the first draft of my current novel project, tentatively titled Convoy. The final words were actually written the other day, which was pretty cool. After letting that cool for a little while, I’m going to start revisions, find some beta readers, and then polish it up. This is the third novel manuscript I’ve finished, and the first one that really feels publishable to me. I’d love to have it accepted for publication somewhere by the end of this year (if that sounds like a long time, bear in mind that the publishing process is lengthy).
- Publish short stories in some big places: I’m really happy with where my stories got accepted this year. The semi-finalist mention from Writers of the Future last month was huge, but I was also super proud to be included in Nonlocal Science Fiction‘s last quarterly issue. I already have two stories slated for release in early 2016, and I’d obviously like to add to that. The idea is to aim high, so if I can get stories into somewhere like Asimov’s or Tesseracts (or hit the top 3 in Writers of the Future) that would make my year.
- Keep up my momentum, without losing my mind: The last two months were huge for my productivity, in large part because of my writing partner, Fanny Darling (check her out, she’s awesome). Keeping that up in the first third of 2016 is going to be a bit of a challenge, since I’ll be starting a position at Algonquin College next week, on top of my high school teaching. It just means I’ll need to be creative with my time management and not kill myself setting unreasonable goals.
- Maintain health and relaxation: Part and parcel of writing is keeping yourself healthy. I’ve actually committed to regularly going to the gym (be amazed, those who know me) and I want to keep that up, along with my increasingly-healthy diet. Plus sleep – this app I have to regulate my sleep cycles is working wonders. But along with that, I want to get back into some other things, like shooting pool more regularly. I find I’m spending a lot of my leisure time at my computer, and I’d like that to change.
- Another chapbook: Science is for Real has done much better than I expected since it was published in October, with only 1/4 of the original print run left to be sold. Obviously I’d like to sell the rest of them, but I had so much fun working with Linda Crosfield and taking part in the Ottawa Small Press Book Fair that I definitely want to do more chapbooks. I have a couple ideas that will probably have to wait until after I wrap up my Algonquin job.
I don’t think that’s too ambitious. And while I’m not one of those “you should do this to be an awesome writer” sorts, I’ve found that coming up with goals like this has helped me to focus my productivity quite a bit. So if you feel like you didn’t accomplish as much as you would’ve liked in 2015, maybe consider doing the same thing.
Once again, all the best to my fellow writers for the upcoming year 🙂