Sunday, January 07, 2007

Gooooooooooooals ...

A while back I figured I had five hours a day to write. That was before the night job kicked in. So let's say two on a good day now. And using the theory that it always takes twice as long as I think to accomplish a task, one productive hour. For this quarter that gives me something like 80 hours.

Not a lot of time. But this was how I figured my last quarter, with cold hard calculating numbers. And I got even less done than with my pie-in-the-sky mind-set the quarter before. Wha happen?

I came across a post by David Seah about over scheduling, that is setting up more tasks than you feel you can do comfortably. That's what the one hour estimate above is: comfortable, safe, conservative. Enough of that. Time to push the envelope again.

FY07 Q3 Goals

- Set up a budget by 1/14 to track and limit writing expenses for the calendar year.

- Move website to a different host by 1/28.

- Finish editing 'Midnight', SF novel, by 2/16.

- Finish writing 'Lodestone', novel for 2-year writing class, by 2/25.

- Write, edit, polish, agonize over, edit again, and submit a new short story by 3/31.

Looking back at 2006 as a whole, I am satisfied with what I accomplished. The challenge was to be sincere about writing. Now it is time to try for commitment.


Blogger Camille Alexa said...


Are you more compelled to write short stories or novels? From which do you gain the most satisfaction (in any form)?

January 7, 2007 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

Hmmm. Compelled? Knowing that I can get a short story done and out the door, I feel a greater urgency to finish a novel.

How about yourself? And what are your goals as a writer?

January 7, 2007 at 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the Seah post--love the part in the comments which states the "Law of Forced Efficiency". I know I was a lot more productive when I was still a working person. After I started SAHMing, I became a total slacker. If only because I could. Whatever didn't get done today, could get done tomorrow, simply because I didn't have any other plans! (Guess what happened to tomorrow.)

I love the way you plan in quarters. I tend to go by weeks and months myself. I should probably go by days. I have an edit that has to be finished by the end of the week, I'm already behind on my non-fiction goals, and here I am. Reading and commenting on blogs.

January 7, 2007 at 6:20 PM  
Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

Go, man, go! Good luck with the goals. It's always good to have them, but as Douglas Adams once said, "I love deadlines. I love the whoosing noise they make as they go by."

Just reread the Weird Tales guidelines (very good, BTW). To paraphrase, the story that isn't written or is sitting in your desk drawer will never be sold until it is finished and sent out.

January 7, 2007 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Camille Alexa said...

Waaiiitt a minute---are you telling me people write fiction for reasons other than compulsion? What the #*@$ could those reasons be? Wait, wait--don't tell me-- it's for the fabulous cash prizes--no,no, I've got it-- the rockstar-like fame w/the easy casual sex and the free booze--noooo, that can't be it....

I've been thinking about why I'm not compelled to write short stories. I wish I could--it seems there might be a greater chance for short-term payoff in satisfaction/feelings of accomplishment. I drop novels like other impolite bodily emissions one is embarrassed to admit to in public places.

I actually think short stories might be harder; you have a lot less time to paint a compelling picture and to leave readers satisfied w/ the end result. It's got to be very focused.

My personal goal is for people to have as much fun reading my stuff as I had writing it. I'm not sure that's possible...

January 8, 2007 at 9:41 PM  
Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

littlebirdblue, it's for the groupies. Nothing else. At $.02 to $.08 a word, what else would it be?

Shorts and novels are two way different beasties. I've used short stories, and a newsletter, etc. to temper the steel. Not everybody can write both well, and one isn't necessary to the other. A famous editor once told me to my face, forget the short stories, if you've got a novel in you get it out and show it around. I think I'm more of a novelists (getting my shorts down below 6000 words has been real work).

January 8, 2007 at 10:32 PM  
Blogger Camille Alexa said...

Mr. Buchheit,

"At $.02 to $.08 a word, what else would it be?"

I'm with you; it can only be for the tail--er, I mean, the adoring masses.

I agree; short stories and novels (even shorter-length novels like those of DORIS PISERCHIA and other 'vintage' sci-fi writers) are completely different. There are authors whose novels I adore, but whose short stories I can't even read.

I know there's discussion in the s/f community about whether you 'have' to write short fic before you write novels. I admire people who do both (or either), but I think you're right that one doesn't *have* to do both.

January 9, 2007 at 12:02 AM  
Blogger Todd Wheeler said...

"At $.02 to $.08 a word, what else would it be?"

Erm, we can get paid for doing this? I thought it was all volunteer work.

January 9, 2007 at 9:23 AM  
Blogger Steve Buchheit said...

Well, I haven't been paid, yet. I have high hopes, though.

Soon, dear Gods of Composition, soon.

January 10, 2007 at 9:09 AM  

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