Sunday, 27 December 2015

Progress Report on Writing Goals, 2015

When I first moved back to the Bay Area, two years ago now, I wrote a post considering both the year just gone and the year to come. I was coming off a pretty good year in a lot of ways - mainly at work, with a promotion and a raise and the move here, but also my personal best for the half-marathon and my first sale of a story to an SFF market. As I said at the time, the year just gone had included a number of events that wouldn't make sense to expect every year - I gave 2014 permission to not be quite as great as 2013.

Fast forward to December 2015. A lot of things have stayed the same - I live in the same place, I do the same job (mostly) and I haven't sold anything else. In part this last one is because I'm starting to run out of short story markets to submit to, and I'm running out of short stories to submit. The last time I finished a short story and was happy with it was 2010, and I'm progressively less happy with the ones I still have on deck. I've been considering jettisoning the ones I do have (ie, by selling them on Amazon or iBooks), in the hopes that it forces me to think of new short story ideas. But there just aren't that many ideas coming down the pike, so I'm hesitant to pull that particular trigger...

But it hasn't all been doom and gloom with the writing. I finished my first (short) novel since 2011, and continued studying screenwriting, which produced three new treatments/outlines (to go with the four I wrote in 2014). I also produced my first full screenplay, in collaboration with a friend, and I can't deny that I've got the bug for it now.

Not only that, but this year's experience writing a novel (and revising/editing it) has given me the confidence to continue targeting longer-form fiction. I used to look at novel-writing as a thing you toiled at for ages, like chipping away at a marble block for years until you'd revealed the angel within, but now I'm starting to think that there's a lot to be said for knocking out a novel more quickly - or at least, getting the first draft done in three months.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post outlining the rather ambitious writing goals I'd set for myself, and I think that what helped was breaking each one down into its component parts and setting deadlines for when those parts needed to be accomplished. That, and working on stuff consistently - I suspect I've had fewer streaks of inactivity this year than in previous years, in part because breaking the goals down (by quarter, month and week) meant there was less to do each day and therefore less of a psychological barrier to starting.

So what does the coming year hold? More of the same, to a certain extent - another novel, another screenplay, more movie treatments and more blogging. I'm forgoing the comics scripting for the time being, as it doesn't seem like a big priority and I don't know any artists to work with.

On a deeper level, I'm starting to think that it's time to get myself to where movies are being made, and potentially even see how I can get into the movie business, in any capacity. This another area where I need to credit the Nerdist Podcast, as Chris Hardwick's talks with a number of producers (most recently Brian Grazer and Kathleen Kennedy) have given me the idea that their job could be an interesting perspective on getting into movies.

So as I say every year, here's hoping the year to come brings some improvements and some forward progress - even if it's only greater confidence with the novel and screenplay forms!