Sunday, 1 February 2009

New Year's Writing Resolutions: One Month On

At the beginning of the year I posted my New Year’s writing resolutions on my blog. Now that a month has passed how have I been doing?

1. Write 7,000 words per week minimum, 10,000 preferred.

I’ve not been making this goal most weeks because I’ve been doing a lot of editing. I wrote several pitches, but these tend to be both short and labor intensive. My average word count has been about 5,000 words per week this month. I plan to do better next month.

2. Get through that huge list of magazine article ideas I'm going to pitch. As I send them out, the list will be added to, so this is a perpetual goal. Same goes for several book proposals I have.

I’ve sent out a dozen pitches this month, mostly for books since there’s generally a longer turnaround from editors. One publisher was interested enough in my query to ask for a full proposal. I’m working on that now. This would be a new publisher for me, so I’m quite excited.

3. Search for another paid blogging job.

I quit my job at PlanetEye when they reduced their pay from a good wage to almost nothing. This month I’ve been offered two blogging jobs, one unpaid and one with low pay. I turned down both. It seems getting a well-paid blogging job is more difficult than getting magazine work. I’m applying for another major blog site that does pay well. Fingers crossed!

4. Finish a how-to book on writing that a publisher is interested in.

I’ve been organizing the chapters and worked out an outline. I have a ways to go, but now I know where I’m going.

5. Continue to try to sell my three novels to agents. Getting an agent, both for my fiction and nonfiction, is a major goal for me this year.

All my novels and nonfiction book proposals are sitting on various agents’ and editors’ desks. I keep a list of possible agents, and when I get a rejection, I send it out to the next one on the list. I’m always tinkering with the proposals to make them better.

6. Do another round of edits on all my novels, especially my Civil War horror novel, which I believe is the most marketable. Every work is a work-in-progress until it's published, so it's always good to do more editing.

I did a major edit on my Civil War novel this month. I haven’t gotten around to the other two novels yet.

7. Write my next novel, set in London and Oxford. I'm going to outline it in the first few months of the year and really start writing when I go there in April.

I’ve been giving this novel a fair amount of thought, but I’m saving the writing part for when I get there.

8. Finish two short stories and two novellas I've been fiddling with.

I haven’t done any work on these.

9. Write and send out Willoughby: England's First Great Explorer, a book proposal I was supposed to write last year (whoops!).

I haven’t done any work on this either

10. I also have some work already lined up for this year, including a book for Osprey, editing the page proofs for a book for Globe-Pequot, a few magazine assignments, and updates to a Madrid guidebook.

A whole week of this month was taken up with checking the page proofs of Outlaw Tales of Missouri (TwoDot, upcoming April 2009). I also did the research for a magazine article and did the proofs for another one. I’ve also done some work on the Madrid update.

11. Increase my online presence. I'll be getting Authorsden and Myspace accounts, and working on and promoting my blogs a bit more.

I decided to get on Facebook instead because I think it offers better networking opportunities for writers. I’ve caught up with many writers I knew when I still lived in Tucson, as well as ones I was on panels with at various conventions. While there’s a lot of silly timewasting aspects to Faceook, I can see how it can be a good networking tool. A friend of mine, who’s far more experienced and connected than I am, has gotten several jobs through Facebook connections. I also signed up for Authorsden but haven’t completed my profile yet. I've been posting more regularly on both my blogs.

So all in all, a pretty productive month. I haven’t written as much as I’d like, but January is a good month to send out lots of pitches that will hopefully bear fruit later in the year, so that’s what I’ve been concentrating on.

How has your first month of writing been? Drop me a line in the comments section or post your progress on your blog and send me the link


Research Paper said...

My writing has been nice and at track so far. I have this plan of having more book report assignments done for each month and true enough, I have been increasing my writing per month. I do not have a blog but I am busy writing as a freelancer.

Sean McLachlan said...

Ummm. . .I thought I told you to go away. Writing essays so lazy students can cheat their way through school doesn't count as writing in my book. Once again, go away.

Does anyone know how to block certain users from posting comments, or do I have to enable comment moderation?

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.

You can also find him on his Twitter feed and Facebook page.