Monday, May 10, 2010

It's Like This

Now that we are five months (!!!) into the year, I think it's time to check in with my writing goals for the year and see where I'm at.

In one sense, I'm way ahead of the game: I've read a lot of short fiction. I've always been a fan of the short story, so it's not hard for me to read, read and read some more. Over the past five months, I've focused mostly on horror fiction- and horror doesn't automatically translate into blood and gore, a subject for a future post, eh?- and it's been an eye-opener to see the myriad ways in which horror can be defined. I've also revisited the work of Shirley Jackson and Roald Dahl, two of the absolute best BEST short story writers ever published. Just brilliant, those two. Harlan Ellison is another master. Oh, there are so many! It's beyond humbling to read all of these wonderful stories- and even the occasional clunker or two- and wonder if I have a snowball's chance in hell of ever writing something good, something that will stick in a reader's mind long after they read the last sentence. And that, right there, leads to the part where I suck.

My goal is three submissions. Doable, yes? Yes. But. One must have something to submit and therein lies my dark secret: I have no finished story. Not even a half-written one. Nada. So I clearly have work to do. Ideas are percolating and I am constantly reminding myself that the goal is to get something written, not necessarily perfectly from the get-go, but just down on paper. The perfectionist in me has a hard time with that, hence my obsession with getting the first paragraph just right before moving on, but I will never make it if I don't tamp that fear of failure down.

I plan on checking back in with this goal in two months. The year will be more than half over by then; I want to have a workable first draft by then.

To all of you, how are you doing with your own writing goals?


Samantha said...

Writing goal? Wait, we were supposed to have one of those? Just kidding. My current goal is my next contest submission, due June 1st. Now that I have the opening picked out, I hope to see it move forward.

Sheila said...

Well, as you probably saw, I've got a writing goal for this summer. And I've met one of my writing goals for the year already -- I finished The Daughters of August Winterbourne before the end of May, and at under 200K words (though feedback so far says "it feels a little thin..." Sigh.)

My next goal was to see if I could get my Regency down to a publishable length, but ... even after taking out 50K words, it's still at around 190K. Which means that at least another 90K have to come out. Which means cutting sub-plots.

And I'm still failing on the writing-related goal of getting my website up and running. Curse you, CSS!