Deadlines and Resolutions

It is the start of the new year and traditionally the time to make resolutions about changes that we want to make in our lives. I make new year’s resolutions, with various amounts of serious commitment, every year. And like most people they rarely outlive January. The first week of January must be the busiest sign up time for gym membership. But I’m sure the gyms are a lot less crowded in February 🙂
But this year I have decided to make some resolutions regarding my writing that I want to share here. I have decided to publish a new ebook every month this year. More if possible, but at least twelve. Now that does not mean that I intend to write twelve novels this year, a sort of year long NaNoWriMo. An ebook could be a single short story. Or it could indeed be a full length novel.
One of the things that I feel has been holding me back from developing my writing career is that while I have been writing stories and novels since I was ten years of age writing as a career has always been an aspiration, or a dream, and not something that I actively pursued. Except for a time in the early 90’s when I sent a couple of manuscripts around a bunch of publishers, and received a bunch of rejections, before I realised that even if I did manage to get published I would have very little hope of actually making a living as a writer, nevermind achieving my dreams of wealth and fame as an international bestselling author.
But now I know that times have changed and it is now possible for me to make some kind of regular income from my writing. I am doing so already. But half a dozen short stories do not produce a significant living.
In the past because my writing had no chance of providing me a living I always treated it was a hobby. And a hobby is something you do in your spare time, at the end of the day, when you have completed all your other commitments. And so in the past I have not been very disciplined in my writing schedule. I wrote when I had the time and or felt the muse. But now I will have to make sure that i carve out some time every day to write. It’s kind of a chicken and egg situation, if my writing made more money then I could justify spending more time writing, but my writing won’t make more money until I spend more time writing. At the moment I know that I can guarantee one hour’s work a day. That is a realistic goal that I know that I can make most days.

The other factor in my realisation of this resolution is how much I can actually write in the time I have. I am not the most prolific writer in the world. So apart from making myself actually sit down and write, and not letting myself get distracted by “Networking” online, or research, or catching up on my email, I do not write all the quickly. At least not compared to the writer’s whose advice I am following.  Of course when comparing myself to other writers I have to remind myself that most of these writers have been professional writers for many years, if not decades. So they have a lot more practice at writing fast than I have.
Over the past couple of months I have been recording my writing times and word counts and I have found that a good average for me is to get three hundred and fifty words written for every hour that I write. That is if I divide the number of words that I have written in finished stories and chapters by the amount of time that I spent writing them I get three hundred and fifty words an hour. That includes all the scenes that I might have started but deleted from the finished story and all the re-writing and editing time, etc.
So if we take an average of three hundred and fifty words of finished story for every hour that I write and combine it with an hours writing every day we get 2,450 words per week(7X350). My story lengths range all over the place, but a publishable short story would be in the range of 5,000 to 7,000 words. And a chapter of a novel usually comes in at between 7,000 and 10,000. That makes about three weeks for me to write a short story or a month for me to write a chapter of a novel.

Again these are the minimum goals that I am setting myself. If I practice writing an hour every day maybe I will get faster at writing. And if I manage to make some extra time to write then I will get more words written. So I might write more than this.

One more piece of advice about setting writing deadlines that I have read on several successful writer’s blogs is that you have to hold yourself accountable for them. Several writers relate how they have “bets” with their writing buddies that if they don’t meet their deadlines that they have to buy them a steak dinner or some such penalty. So as well as telling my wife about my deadlines I am also going to post them on my blog for the handful of readers who visit. So there will be motivation for not having to explain to my blog readers why I have not met my deadline as well as hopefully generating some kind of expectation from my regular readers about the availability of my new stories.

At the moment I am concentrating on finishing my “Face Splash” story. Which has four more parts to go. And then I will also publish a “bundle” of the complete story. Which makes five ebooks.
Next up will be “Caribbean Threesome” which is about 40% complete. Which consists of four parts and a “bundle”. So that is five more ebooks.
In terms of publishing one ebook a month I am covered until November 🙂

So “watch this space” to see if my resolutions make it out of January this year.

Note This is a cross post from my regular bi-weekly posts on the One Handed Writers blog.

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