Here we are, the first week of a squeaky-clean, fresh-faced New Year, so I guess it’s time to make a list (and check it twice) of my writing goals for 2017.
As a newcomer to fiction writing, I considered 2016 to have been reasonably successful in terms of response from readers and social media platform, but like many other writers, I want to improve.
I know there will always be highs and lows, but by savoring the highs when they occur I hope to be able to push through the lows when they rear their ugly heads. By making this list and adhering to it, I want to make 2017 memorable.
With that in mind, here are my goals;
I’m a member of the “10 Minute Novelists” Facebook user group and an offshoot of that group is the “365 Challenge”. The group is designed to help writers develop the habit of writing daily by setting a daily word count. All original fiction or non-fiction writing counts toward the daily total, which may be a blog post, journaling, planning, outlining, setting, character development, research, etc. The keyword is “original”.
I believe this will be a great incentive for me to write daily. I try and write something during my lunchbreaks at my day job, so my target of 250 words should be achievable.
Learn and Use Scrivener
My wife bought me an enrollment to Udemy’s “How to Write a Book in Scrivener” home-study course and I’m looking forward to getting that rolling very soon. I’ve had the Scrivener software but only used it sparingly, so this is now the ideal opportunity to use it to its fullest advantage.
Tied in with learning Scrivener, these goals can be grouped together:
- Finish my works in progress!
- Write longer short stories (and more of them) – my finished short stories currently average around 6,000 words. By focusing more on plot and the outline, I want to increase the word count, but definitely not at the expense of the story.
- Novel outlines – I have a couple of very loose outlines tucked away in a folder that I want to devote more time to expanding upon and who knows, maybe even write!
To keep me in the daily writing habit, creating more blog posts will definitely be beneficial. My aim is for one new post per week but ideally, I would like to post two. Here are a few ideas I have for new blog posts in 2017:
- Story Excerpts
- What I’m Working On – Occasional updates
- What I’m Reading – Occasional updates
- Author Interviews
- Guest Posts – Invite other writers to post on my blog
- Writers who have influenced me and why
- Who would play my characters if a story was made into a movie
I want to write posts that will encourage interaction with readers/followers of my website. By increasing my blog output, I hope that will be a big help with my goal of increasing my social media platform. In terms of platform numbers, I want to double my Twitter (currently 1,250) and Facebook (268) following over the next 12 months.
The Haunted Pen Website
I’m currently considering dropping the “.wordpress.com” from the site’s URL and changing it to “thehauntedpen.com”.
The advantages are:
- dropping “.wordpress.com” from the URL makes it shorter, easier to remember and find (also a shorter URL is better when designing business cards, bookmarks, etc.),
- Free blogs appear less professional than self-hosted ones,
- In terms of site visibility, Google prefers “self-hosted” sites more than sites with host names in the URL such as Blogspot, Wix, Webs, etc.
- It’s a relatively low fee to do this.
Later in the year I’m also considering setting up a website mailing list for website followers and offer a free story on sign-up. I believe that building a targeted and invested e-mail list of subscribers to be the most important element of an author’s website, if the author wants to make his or her writing and publishing a sustainable venture, and I do.
To quote Stephen King – “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” I agree with this statement and will be taking his advice to heart throughout 2017 (but they won’t all be your works, Mr. King…).
I love to read; I always have. It’s not unusual (how many people can now hear Tom Jones singing in the background?) for me to read a couple of books simultaneously and sometimes it’s three if I have one on the tablet as well.
In December 2016, I attended three free online writing webinars hosted by Joanna Penn (J.F. Penn, The Creative Penn) and found the experience educational, enjoyable and rewarding. I’m looking to attending more throughout the year.
My final goal for the year will be to have stories available for purchase on Amazon. This goal will only be achieved when I am fully ready, though.
I take fiction writing seriously, and this year I’m taking that level of intensity up a couple more notches. I love to write and I love the feeling it brings me knowing I’ve written something that other people enjoy enough to comment on.
Wish me luck. I’ll be checking this list more than twice as the year progresses.