The title is a little inaccurate as I don’t do New Year Resolutions. It’s probably because there always feels like there’s this unwritten rule that says it’s OK to break them. You make a resolution to go to the gym three times a week. Week 1 and 2 are all rosy and you exercise with wanton abandon, but by week 3 your resolution has become nothing more than a string of tweeted excuses. ‘Too tired for gym. So much for the NYR.’ etc. I’m determined that my resolutions for writing won’t go the same way, so much so that I refuse to call them that. These are my orders; mandates or dictates if you prefer of things I have to achieve in 2012. They are the things I have to do; things that once done will set me on the path to being a paid writer.
Ignoring that for a few minutes, I should update you on what’s happened since NaNoWriMo in November.
I wrote the 50 thousand words I needed to complete NaNoWriMo. In fact considering what I thought it was going to be like, it turned out to be rather easy. However, I wrote 51 thousand words for NaNo and have only managed about 5 thousand words since then, and the novel still isn’t finished. It’s clear that I work well with deadlines and timescales, but I completely suck at motivating myself without one. Something to work on I think.
I was asked by a Facebook game company, Nightowl Games to write a game review for Dungeon Overlord. They contacted me by the email address I use for my Zombie Chimp Facebook page, so at least I know that the request wasn’t sent out to everybody. Though I suspect it may have still been sent to every gaming based Facebook page. I’m not going to dwell on the negative, the point is they asked me to review something and I did. You can read it here if you wish. I was a bit of a ‘newbie’, I didn’t ask how they got my details or ask if they could refer to or link to the review I wrote. Still it’s a learning curve, right?
Oh, probably the biggest piece of good news which for some reason is only just coming to mind now is that my role wasn’t made redundant last year. In fact I could be working here for another year. Not great from a ‘time-to-write’ perspective but the extra money and time to prepare is very useful.
Oh yeah, I seem to be forgetting all the big things. My new domain name and this website is up and running. The two WordPress blogs I had have been merged into this one. All the little widgets, links have been sorted out and it’s relatively well indexed. I get on average about 200 hits a day but these are mainly to the gaming help pages, rather than the Flash Fiction or Writing pages. Still it’s early days yet.
OK, that brings you up to date with where I am, so it seems the natural step to finally tell you the things I hope to achieve. No wait, the things I will achieve. Let’s be positive from the outset.
In no particular order, here they are.
First, I think I should explain what a Draft 1 is to me. Firstly and rather misleadingly Draft 1 is not my first draft of the novel. What I am writing now is my Draft 0. Due to the timescales of NaNo and my inexperience at writing, what I am creating now is nothing more than bilge; a bucket of ambiguous drivel that makes little sense and is only just readable. Once I’ve written this I will go through it all again and edit it so that it makes sense. The dream sequences that meant nothing, the complete and uncharacteristic shift in the way your characters act, the plot-lines that just stopped for no reason. Draft 1 is about getting all these sorted, so that what you have at the end of it all, makes sense. It may not be (or in fact is very unlikely to be) publishable yet, but at least what you are reading is not an unreadable bag of badger droppings.
If this is my novel, then woohoo but it’s certainly not what I’m aiming for now. For me to achieve this I need to write something and have it published externally. My blog doesn’t count, but then again it doesn’t even have to be online. It could be in a newspaper, magazine, journal, or website. I just need to get something I write, published.
This one could be heavily tied into ‘Get something published’ above. Put simply, someone has to pay me money for something that I have written. Again, the money has to be specifically for something that I have written, Google Adsense earnings do not count. Payment with non-monetary items is also counted but it has to be after the fact. Receiving a free game and being asked to review it does not count. Writing a review and then being given something afterwards as payment does. In short the payment must have a physical value for this to be achieved.
Definitely the easiest one to achieve out of the lot. I was going to start a writing course. I know there are books out there that can achieve almost the same thing for cheaper, but the course I’m looking at guides you in a number of fields, provides advice on getting published and guarantees I will make my fees back in earnings whilst on the course. Without muddying the water with the red-tape, it seems like a good thing to do for a fairly nominal cost anyway.
There you have it. These are the four things I have to achieve in 2012.
It should be a good year, I think.
Oh, and I just read a similar post at thehappyfreelancer.com so best have a wander over there and check it out.