Well… that middle-of-the-year point has come and passed, and that means it’s time for me to take a look back at the first half of 2014, and measure myself up to what I’d hoped to accomplish for the year. Public accountability and all that. So I’ll go through my 2014 goals one-by-one and say a word or two on them. Feel free to, you know, move along until I post something of actual interest to you, but hey, I wouldn’t mind you sticking around and commenting at the end to help keep all of us honest!
1) Read at least 400,000 words worth of fiction in the first half of 2014: This was a goal well-met, which wasn’t surprising, but was a welcome milestone. I can’t be sure of the exact number of words I read through July 1st, because I hadn’t recorded an updated on the progress of the novel I was reading at the time for several weeks, but I believe it was somewhere in the neighborhood 600,000 words to 630,000 words. Not too shabby. If I set the goal of reading 400,000 words in the second half of the year, I’ll surpass 1,000,000 words of fiction read in 2014 easily. So, that’s what I’m going with. One Million: here we come.
(Click on down to read the rest of the goals…)
2) Find a consistent writing schedule that I can realistically achieve, and then maintain it: As a technical matter: this is a goal that I have thus far failed to achieve. My writing schedule is anything but consistent. It’s been all over the place, with a few weeks where I was consistent for a short time in May (diving back into “Story of V” and finishing up) followed with several weeks in which little or no writing at all was done (very, very small amount of progress on “Book of M”). Between the time I actually wrote the blog post in which I mention I’m working on “Book of M” again, and the time it went live on this blog (a delay because reasons), several weeks in which I wrote not a word on “Book of M” passed by.
For the second half of the year: Continue pursuing this goal. I’d like to get in a consistent groove in some fashion, however modest or small that may be… be that writing 1 day a week consistently, writing several days a week for two weeks then taking two weeks off (because house, and life, and fatherhood, etc.), and two weeks on, or… I don’t know… something. That’s what I’d like to achieve.
3) Contingent on the success of Goal #2, focus on completing a final draft of one short story: This goal is in process, with regard to the current status of “Story of V”. I’ve had one Beta Reader to provide (valuable and much-appreciated) feedback. Ideally I’d have one or two more folks to give it a read, but if I’m realistic, this blog doesn’t really have the reach to pull in many volunteers and I don’t have the bandwidth to enter into a quid-pro-quo Alpha/Beta reading relationship right now (with a critique group or with other authors on an individual one-off basis). So at some point I’ll figure out that I’ve got all the feedback I can honestly expect, and I’ll proceed to the final edits phase.
By the end of this year, then, this should be done. At this point, I don’t yet feel comfortable setting any additional follow up goals, like start working on the next short story, until I know better how Goal #2 pans out.
4) Contingent on the success of Goal #3, submit completed story to a professional market or contest: This one is still waiting on #3 above, obviously.
5) Develop a plan to revitalize the blog: I actually did start to think about this one, and even fiddled around looking at new theme options on WordPress.com, and so on. But the reality is… I don’t have the time or energy to devote to this. I know the look and feel of my blog is dated and cluttered. But without the time to invest in changing it, there’s just not a whole lot I can do about it.
One minor point in favor of this goal, however: I’ve started taking a little extra time, before hitting “Publish” on my posts, to search out some art or images that I can legally use to spruce up the physical appearance of the posts. Not all of the posts. (This one won’t get an image attachment.) But enough of them that my blog homepage doesn’t look like an intimidating wall of text. Exept… it’ll probably take a few months for this to catch up and have a noticeable impact on the blog’s appearance.
For the second half of the year, I hope to find at least a little time to put toward thinking and planning this out. I might begin with only the rudiments of a plan. But that’ll be something, right?
6) Find a consistent blogging schedule that I can realistically achieve, and then maintain it: This is not a thing that has happened. It probably won’t happen this year. Maybe next year? I have all these ideas for “regular feature” posts – even if these “regular features” are only regular on something like a quarterly basis – but no where near enough time to implement them.
If possible… I’d love to be able to get back to a minimum of a consistent weekly post. But of course… that assumes I’d have something to talk about on a weekly basis. To do that… I’d need at least enough free brain-bandwidth time to figure out how to convert the daily motions of life into a coherent weekly story of some sort… Right now, I don’t know how to do that.
7) Personal Life Renewal: Hey… I’m still a work in progress. I think it fair to say I’ve made some progress toward this, but I’m not yet the man I want to be.