I know it’s customary to start setting goals at the New Year but I’m ready now so I’m going to set them now by George. I’ve been re-evaluating my writing life since the World Fantasy Convention in November and I think I’ve got this “produce much content on a regular basis” thing that I’ve been doing for the past few years down now. I also think it’s time to start being more deliberate about some things. With that in mind, here are the things I am trying to accomplish by the end of 2015 in more or less the order of importance.

Attend Clarion Writers Workshop

I’ve been wanting to go to Clarion for YEARS now but it was only a little over two years ago that I first found the courage to start talking about wanting to go with my partner who then immediately created a plan for me to go there. But then of course I got laid off and I couldn’t apply last year cause there was no way I could have afforded everything associated with it, even with the scholarships they offer. This year I’m set. I want to go and I’m going to go and that’s just going to have to happen.

  • Write the application, the bio and the scholarship application.
  • As I write this, two of my sample story possibles are with Cat Rambo for editing. I need to decide between them and incorporate Cat’s edits.
  • Cat also kindly offered to review my materials before I send them so I need to send the rest of my materials to her for review.
  • Incorporate Cat’s comments.
  • Send the application.
  • Wait.

I will hopefully get everything on this list done by the end of this month. Except the waiting. The waiting will most likely go on until the end of March.

Win Writers of the Future

I’ve been entering the Writers of the Future contest for a while now, mostly with no deliberation about it. I would finish a story and send it there just in case. I’ve gotten a few Honorable Mentions but I haven’t understood why. This coming year, I’m planning to change that. I’ve been reading some blog posts about what the contest seems to be looking for as well as reading the past anthologies of winners and I’m starting to get a good feel for what I need to do to at least get past the Honorable Mention stage.

  • Come up with some cool technology ideas and things that I love about science fiction.
  • Plan at least ten short stories.
  • Have my writing group comment on the whole bunch and pick the ones that seem most popular
  • Write.
  • Submit.
  • Repeat two previous steps.

Obviously this is going to be an ongoing process during the whole year but I will in any case try to have the first two stages done by the end of January.

Get my second novel to the submission stage

I just sent off my first ever novel to an editor before I start the submission process. (For the curious, that editor is the inimitable Cathy Yardley.) With my new momentum it’s important that I get the next one coming round the mountain as well. It is already on its way, I just need to do the work to make sure it gets here.

  • Review outline.
  • Write.
  • Write some more.
  • After the first draft is finished, let it rest for at least six weeks.
  • Edit.
  • Make people read it.
  • Edit some more.
  • Submit.

Get an agent

There are many benefits to both the traditional and the self-publishing approach which is why I’m planning to do both. At the moment, while my catalogue of completed novels is what I’d consider a half and my shorter work assigned to another task, I’m primarily pursuing traditional publishing. Although I’m also aware that the market place for Urban Fantasy is glutted (which is what my debut novel is). Nonetheless, for a shy introvert like me pursuing traditional publishing means that I’m going to need an agent.

  • Finish book.
  • Make a list of agents who handle the kinds of stuff I plan to write.
  • Write a kickass query letter (iterate drafts until accomplished).
  • Have people read and comment on said query letter.
  • Incorporate inevitable fixes.
  • Check individual agent’s submission guidelines & gather submission package.
  • Submit.
  • Repeat last two steps until the list has been thoroughly mined.
  • Wait.