At the start of the year, I set out writing goals for myself. These goals were part of a larger investment strategy—investing in skills and desires such that they compound to reach long-term objectives bigger than any one goal.
Now that a full three months have passed, I thought I’d offer a little assessment of how I’ve done so far. You know, accountability!
To state again, my writing goals for the year were as follows:
- Maintain my blog to the tune of at least two posts per week.
- E-publish a book
Assessing My Writing Goals
As for the first goal, I’ve far exceeded it. I’ve typically posted between four and six blogs per week—averaging five. I feel great about my output so far.
However, my blog writing has hugely outpaced my fiction writing, which was the primary intention of my second goal (I want to e-publish a work of fiction). As such, going forward I’ll try to balance my fiction and blog writing, and intersperse stories for media outlets in as well.
I’m still very optimistic about e-publishing this year. I have a couple fiction projects nearing the end of first drafts. Also, while not my first choice, I have a couple completed projects that, if I needed to, I could clean up and e-publish. We’ll see.
So, I feel good about my progress on my goals so far, but I plan to redistribute some of my time and energy so that Goal No. 1 doesn’t dwarf Goal No. 2.
Some Interesting Findings
As many of you know, I’ve been tracking my writing right here on my blog, updating readers every week on my writing progress for the previous seven days. I’ve found some intriguing tidbits, in no particular order.
- In the first three months of 2018, I wrote 94,387 words in 66 hours and 15 minutes, average 1,425 words per hour.
- I write fiction the fastest (1,841 words per hour), blog posts second fastest (1,647 words per hour), and journalism considerably slower (759 words per hour)
- In the first quarter, I wrote 77,664 words worth of blog posts and, unfortunately, only 8,081 words of fiction and 9,657 words of journalism.
- I wrote every day of the first three months of 2018 but for 12 days.
- I averaged just over 1,000 words per day.
- On my most prolific day in January, February, or March, I wrote 4,424 words (all for the blog).
- Here are a couple interesting charts tracking my writing by words and time.
For reference, here’s what I wrote back on January 3.
My main writing goals for 2018 are to get back to what I really love about writing—the things I aspired to initially. My goals this year are pretty much the same as they were five years ago, but this time, I have a few things I didn’t have then: greater wisdom, a better strategy (which is to say: a strategy that actually exists in my mind and on paper), and thousands of hours more in practice.
Goal Number One: Maintain My Blog to the Tune of at Least Two Posts Per Week
Here’s how I’m going to achieve this goal.
- Scheduling: I’m setting aside specific days and hours every week to write.
- Accountability: I’m going to keep track of my writing productivity by posting it on my blog. And I’m trying out to a tag-team writing project with a friend.
- Revising: I’ll go to some of my old unpublished work, update it, clean it up, and publish it. Don’t worry: I won’t recycle old posts. But I have hundreds of thousands of words of content that I discarded or pressed pause on. Much of it isn’t worth seeing, but with a little TLC, some of it is worth the read!
Goal Number Two: E-Publish a Book
Here’s how I’m going to achieve this goal.
- Research: One of the things I’ve learned in the last year about e-publishing is this: to publish a book, whether online or through traditional publishers, writing is only 25 percent of the work. Another 25 percent is rewriting. And 50 percent of the work in publishing is being able to get your words in front of eyeballs. That means marketing, platform-building, planning, and all those other gross words. I’ve read several books and talked to a few successful authors about publishing, but I know I have a lot more to learn. So, I’m committing the time and energy—and dollar bills—to doing the research that will lift my writing from the eyes of a few friends to the eyes of the reader masses!
- Scheduling: Like I said above, I’m committing specific days and hours each week to write what I love.
- Investing: I’m far more likely to achieve a goal when I’ve invested financially in it. I read more of the books and watch more of the movies I pay for than those I get for free. With that philosophy, I’m fronting some cash to the cause of e-publishing. Some will go to a cover, some to edits, and some to software and marketing. But with money down, I’ve got more skin in the game than just my word.
I’m also planning to keep up with some of the writing gigs I stepped into last year. That translates to a regular beat and a menu of stories that I wouldn’t otherwise write (or see published). It’s a fun way to multiply bylines and build a platform, not to mention do cool research and talk with fascinating people. But the point is, as great as it is, journalism isn’t my prime directive this year.