“Writing is like sex. You should do it, not talk about it.” – Howard Ogden
Have you ever heard that quote before? Yeah. Me neither.
A brief look back. I had goals, man. Didn’t meet any, but still. My writing goals for the year were to finish a first draft of a memoir I’m working on. Also to self-publish an e-book that describes how Leo and I ran the whole 300-mile Superior Hiking Trail for charity in 2014. Neither of those things happened.
I also had an “action plan” for how to make those two things happen. I wanted to write 250 words per day and update a word tracker with progress. (I like keeping lists. I also like Judge Wapner. Judge Wapner.) I also had a poorly worded item that said, “Finish Projects. Write any amount per day.” So, wait. Was that 250 words per day or any amount per day? Pick one, loser. Anyway, those three things fell by the wayside.
Here’s the part where the Instructor Pilot looks for root causes and finds Lessons Learned for 2016. “Next time I will (insert Lesson Learned).”
My desire for finished projects (books) is exactly the same. I’m good at the “vision thing.” But where I fall down is concrete steps to make it happen. I fall down when it comes to weekly and monthly milestones. I have a yearly goal that is absent of any intermediate steps. My lesson is that I need to come up with weekly goals and monthly goals that get me to my ultimate goals.
So what are my ultimate goals for writing in 2016? I have three major goals.
- Submit an updated version of my e-book Outside Duluth to a publisher.
- Finish first draft of memoir and complete editing.
- Establish weekly and monthly goals that support 1 and 2.
There. I will discuss the failure of the above with you in 12 months.
I won’t go into how the rest of the year’s non-writing goals went in 2015. But the common thread was a lack of intermediate milestones.
There were bright spots this year. I’m getting a fair amount of poetry published, which is surprising to me. I feel pretty awkward and happy about it.
I won the 2015 Lake Superior Writers Short Story Contest category. I worked harder on that story (my only piece of fiction) than any other for the year. It was great to see that it was worth the effort. It was also a little frightening. Making sentences that you are truly proud of is demanding.
My non-fiction story “Isolationist” won first place for the literary journal Line of Advance (Vol. 4). That bodes well because I’m using it as the first chapter of my memoir. Also, my non-fiction piece “Buckle Up” earned Honorable Mention in the anthology The Talking Stick (Vol. 24). I still feel most comfortable in the non-fiction game.
So, here’s a helpful mantra for my three goals in 2016:
“Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.” – Neil Gaiman.
Words: 31120 (85 words per day) (that’s less than 250 words per day, I think)
- 3 in print journals
- 6 in online journals
- 2 military poems
- 7 of 9 outdoors topics
- 2 of 9 creative nonfiction
- same 2 of 9 in lit journals (1 online and 1 print)
- 1 contest winner
- 1 honorable mention
- 7 outdoors articles in print magazine
- 2015 LSW Contest Winner short story
8 Publishers in 2015:
- 1 magazine
- 3 literary journals
- 4 literary journals
Grey Sparrow Journal
The Talking Stick (Vol. 24)
Ash & Bones
Line of Advance (Vol. 4)