Friday, 19 December 2008

Writing Goals for 2008

Yesterday I took a look at my writing goals for this past year. It was interesting to read through what I thought I'd be doing in 2008. I made some goals, missed others, and had some unexpected work come my way. How did you do on your writing goals for 2008? Drop me a line in the comments section or post on your blog and send me a link.


"7,000 words per week minimum, 10,000 preferred."

To succeed at writing you have to write and write and write. I made this goal nearly every week, but it was more like 7,000 words. Ten thousand is just too much for me unless I'm really inspired.

"Write A Fine Likeness (80,000+ words) and submit it to agents/publishers"

I started this Civil War horror novel on Jan. 2. It ended up being 94,000 words and went through several revisions. It just received its first rejection by an agent last week. I'll be doing another revision and sending it out again after the holidays.

"Continue to pitch Hard Winter."

This is my first fantasy novel. It's been making the rounds for a few years now. Currently it's in an agent's inbox.

"Edit Roots Run Deep and submit it to agents/publishers."

This is my second fantasy novel. I did a couple of revisions early this year and it's sitting in an editor's inbox.

"Break into four major magazines"

Here's where I fell down, mostly for lack of trying. Early in the year I got discouraged after sending out several well-crafted pitches tailored to specific magazines, on subjects they hadn't published. Most of the time the editors never even replied, even to my followup queries. One editor strung me along for most of the year, saying he'd give me two features, before lapsing into unresponsive silence.

"Continue to pitch to The Writer, British Heritage, and Missouri Life."

These are my regular magazine markets. I landed two or three articles in each of these in 2008.

"Continue to submit existing short stories."

Been doing that. One fantasy novella, "The Quintessence of Absence" was accepted by Black Gate magazine. The rest gathered rejections. I finished no new short stories in 2008. I prefer novels, both to read and to write.

"Resell old articles."

A mixed level of success. It's way easier with my writing articles than with my history articles. Anyone know of history markets that take reprints?

"Finish proposal for To Take St. Louis: The Confederacy’s Last Gamble in the West, and submit it."

This is a Civil War nonfiction book. It's making the rounds, having gathered a couple of rejections on the way.

"Finish proposal for Willoughby: England’s First Great Explorer, and submit it.
Finish proposal for The Last Emperors of Rome, and submit it."

I didn't get these done.

On the other hand, I got some unanticipated work. Osprey accepted my Guerrilla Tactics of the American Civil War proposal, so I spent a good chunk of the year writing that book. I finished last week. I also wrote up three more proposals for them. Two look like they're going to be accepted and the third was rejected.

I also wrote another Civil War nonfiction proposal, They Faltered Not: How A Few Runaway Slaves on the Frontier Changed the Course of the Civil War. It's making the rounds. I started two blogs, finished up Outlaw Tales of Missouri (started in 2007) and got hired by Pulse Guides to update their guidebook to Madrid.

All in all, a pretty good year. More income than last year, but I'd still be making better money as an office drone. I'd also be going not-so-quietly insane. I wonder what 2009 holds for me?

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Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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