Usually, the first part of Writing Wednesday is where I just list out the status of my goals. There’s only a couple of months left this year, so it’s time for me to do some explaining (or re-explaining) about my goals and objectives (the methods to my madness); I’ll go into a little more detail about the whys and wherefores as I report. Everyone who writes and has goals (if you don’t, you should) has their own methods and rationale, but you might still learn something from hearing about mine.
1) Write 3,000 words of fiction each week
This is a productivity objective, designed to push me to keep writing every day. I’ve made this goal on some weeks, but my average in my best years has been just under 2,000 words per week.
For 2019, my average is currently just under 1,500. I logged 1,013 words of fiction last week. That’s my best week in over a month, but still a disappointment, especially since I only wrote on three days instead of all seven; I can’t get close to this objective without writing every day, so if I don’t force the time to write, my average will always be disappointing.
2) Five new stories written and out the door by end of year
This is a surprise to me! I’ve been thinking all this time that I set my 2019 goal as ten stories, and was trying to figure out how I could possibly make it. Well, apparently I was smarter than I realized at the beginning of the year, and knew I would be hard-pressed to make ten stories with the completion and release of Swordsmaster. The point of this goal is to make sure that I not only WRITE (Heinlein’s Rule #1), but I must FINISH what I write (Heinlein’s Rule #2)
I completed my second short story for this year this weekend (“Installment Plan” just needs a final review before I start shopping it around), and began my third one (working title “Calling Down Lightning”) I have roughly two months to complete it and two other stories to make this year’s quota.
3) 7-day turn-around (or ASAP) on getting rejections back into rotation.
Heinlein’s Rules 3 & 4 state that you must put your work on the market, and keep it there until sold. From my perspective, in this age of eBooks enabling easy self-publication, there’s no point in waiting for a traditional publisher to buy my work. I send my stories out to as many (PROFESSIONAL RATE) markets as they might fit in, and as soon as I receive a rejection, it goes out to the next market until I decide to ePublish (which DOES keep it on the market.) This year I’ve done what I can to keep my stories from just sitting at home, but it’s been a struggle at times to find both appropriate AND open markets for the few stories I’ve had available.
4) Indie publish SOMETHING every 8 weeks (keep to exact schedule), with a 3-week preorder and promotion campaign for any eBook priced over 99-cents (generally, that means a collection.)
Again, this is about keeping stories on the market. I’m moving the release date (again) for Cats of War II (a Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire collection with stories 4-7.) Release is now planned for November 22nd. Aside from my recently generic “not getting around to things” mode, the fact is I have nothing available to release after this collection, so the only impact of the deadline is that I SAID I was going to release something every eight weeks. This will give me a little more time for a preorder campaign, formatting and proofing of the paperback (all my collections have paperbacks), and since there was a previous Herc Tom collection, I’ll probably need to do a coupon on that one as well.)
5) Blog each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Honestly, I like to blog (I suffer from thinking I’m clever), but the main reason behind my blog is as an anchor to help direct people to my stories. I have made all my postings so far, most likely because it’s something I enjoy – as opposed to:
6) Be more active online aside from my own postings (comment on 3 blogs per week.)
As poor as I am at marketing, part of what I’ve heard is that you can’t just post monologues on social media, you must also be genuine, and interact (have conversations) with the people out there. I have a hard time with this one – partly because I’m not a people person (I’m too busy trying to get things – like writing-done), but mostly because I have a hard time just making comments for the sake of making comments – I need to personally connect with the topic and then feel like what I’m saying adds value. Between these two reasons, I don’t devote the necessary time to it, and when I do it’s still hard to find something to contribute to. This last week was a total fail on this front.
7) Finish Swordsmaster
This being my first novel, I misread how much work it would be to finish all the revisions and finally publish it. I had to have this goal in place to keep from revising Swordsmaster forever. It worked.
8) Create Swordsmaster cover
Just wanted this one on my radar to make sure I didn’t wait until the last minute – even if I failed on #7 above, I didn’t want this to be why.
9) Read 8 speculative fiction novels
Part of the advice on most books about writing is to READ so you know what’s out there in your genre, and what the readers are expecting to see. This has been a stumbling block for me because my “free time” is hard to come by, so when I can sit down and have a choice between reading and writing, I always fall on the side of writing. Audible has made this easier – I have plenty of opportunities to listen to an audiobook when I can’t be writing.
I’ve listened to five books this year (books 10-14 of Robert Jordan’s (and Brandon Sanderson’s) The Wheel of Time, and I’m now on my sixth book – Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower. I’ll need two more after this, but shouldn’t be a problem (It would be so nice if George R.R. Martin would suddenly release the last two books of A Song of Ice and Fire, but he would have to write them first, wouldn’t he?)
Those are my methods and madness. With goals, it’s important to remember the WHY of them – for me, it’s to make sure I keep moving forward in my writing. If something becomes simply a box to check off, it doesn’t need to be there. Especially if it starts to interfere with the REAL work. Just saying…
Swordsmaster – my first novel (which only took me forty-some years to write) is ready for reading.
Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.
The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?
Swordsmaster is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
(there is also a paperback on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1691904910
William Mangieri’s writing can be found in many places, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri