I have a tradition on my blog of writing posts around the beginning of the year in which I look back at the year past and review writing goals that I had set for the year past that I did not meet, and then look ahead into the new year and set goals that I will review a year later, having not met.
2016 is a unique case, in that it wasn’t a complete failure, only a partial one. I rebooted my blog last January with the intention of kickstarting a writing habit that had gone slowly dormant over the previous few years. For the most part, I was successful. I wrote—and posted to the blog—a few short stories, inspired by Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Friday prompts. Granted, there were more prompts I did not post an entry for than the ones that I did, but I did write new content, for the first time in quite a while. I am proud of the effort that I made.
I also resolved to complete NaNoWriMo for the first time since 2011. I had made a few unsuccessful stabs at it since then (see my last post for a review of my checkered history with NaNoWriMo), but I was determined to finish it this year. I had an actual story idea for the first time since 2011 and I—heretofore rigidly entrenched discovery writer that I am—actually engaged in story prep! During late October I sat down and worked out a rudimentary long-form outline for the first time since I wrote Mother’s Daughter in 2008.
And it worked! I won NaNoWriMo, writing more than 76,000 words in November, which is by far the most productive NaNo I have ever completed. November 17 saw me write more than 10,000 words in one day to go over the 50K mark at the earliest juncture ever. My goal was to add count to the story every day and I did it. I wrote something every day, even if it was only a sentence or two. Most days I wrote about 90 minutes and added around 2,000 words. That seems to be a fairly consistent pace for me.
Even with all those words, the story was still unfinished when November ended. I plugged a couple of introductory chapters I had written several years ago onto the beginning and forged into December, which I dubbed with the hashtag #NaNoFinMo, for National Novel Finishing Month. This is where the fail comes in.
#NaNoFinMo was a fiasco. I only wrote a couple of days in December, and barely advanced the story. With the introductory stuff and the little bit of writing I managed to do, the story currently stands at 86,325 as of December 12, the last time I wrote. I spent November trying to write like a madman. I wanted to get to 50K, then when I went over 50 so early I set my sights on 75, and I made it. The problem is that I think I burned myself out. The tsunami of enthusiasm I coasted through November on seemed to disappear on December 1, leaving the story as yet undone.
So what are my writing goals for 2017? They are three-fold. I want to say I am committing to these, but I know my history of not living up to commitments when it comes to my writing, so I’m not going to commit to anything. I have no confidence in myself to see these through, but I am going to put them out there anyway.
- I want to finish my story. This story is already the longest piece I have ever written, and I want to say it is done. I have no idea how much is really left to write, but I want to get it done in January. #NaNoFinMo was a fiasco, so I am going to go ahead and dub January #NaNoFinMo2 and hope that the Quickening takes me and sails me through to the end of the tale. nanowrimo.com may consider me a winner for NaNo2016, but Sam’s Official Writing Canon will not consider it a win (and I won’t get myself a winner’s t-shirt) unless I actually complete the story.
- I want to post more story content on the blog. I have no idea if Chuck Wendig is going to continue with Flash Fiction Fridays in 2017, but even if he doesn’t I want to write stories and post them here. If I complete a First Line prompt, I’ll post it (unless they accept it). I can find prompts elsewhere, or maybe even generate ideas on my own (you know, as writers do). I want to write words down and put them here for you to read.
- I want to blog more beyond just fiction. The very earliest days of my blog were me talking about my life and sharing memories. It was epistolary and personal and I want to get back to that. I have moved so much of that kind of stuff to Facebook, but surely there’s longer-form stuff I could come up with to post here.
So, writing goals for 2017: complete #NaNoFinMo2 (the Quickening), post more fiction on the blog, and blog more often in general. Three goals designed to increase my BICHOK; to get my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard. Despite failing at similar goals year after year after year, I am putting them out there. I want to do it this time. I already talked about my history with commitment. I’m not going there. I promise to try, though.
You’ll know if I’m successful, because there will be new stuff here. Please, keep coming back to see how I do. If you do come back and see I haven’t posted in a while, call me on it. Help me stay accountable for my goals.
Tomorrow, there should be a post. I want to talk about some of my other, non-writing goals for the year. I also want to get started back in on the story. It will be an early test for my resolve to write more. Wish me luck, and please support your local blogger.