New Year, New Goals

Hello, hello! It’s another new year. We’re almost a week into it, so how’s 2021 treating people thus far? It’s been a mixed bag for me, but generally meh. I got some good news that I’ll share later. Aside from that, I started off the year with a rejection and am now up to three as I’m writing this (it’s just the 5th day of the year). Things have also been hectic for Dad because of some stuff with our neighbor that he helps out. So, yeah. I think meh is an apt description of 2021 so far. Anyway, since it’s the first Wednesday of the year and I have nothing to really ramble about, this is just going to be a yearly goal post.

I see a lot of people making vision boards and stuff like that for 2021, but I don’t really understand them, so I’ll just stick with written goals. But I think I’ll group them a little differently this year instead of just writing a random paragraph with multiple goals mushed together.

Writing Goals:

1. Write 3 short stories/flash fiction pieces. I need to replenish my stock of stories to send out into the slush void.

2. Finish the first draft of DS2. I lost steam on this one, but it’s not the story’s fault. I just need to suck it up and write words.

3. Dig out the sci-fi novel I stopped a few years ago because I couldn’t figure out how to fix it and see if I can rework it. I have a new idea that will require rewriting the whole thing, but it just might work. I’ll try, but I won’t force it if it fights me.

4. Pull out the “Lightning Bugs” novelette/novella that I haven’t worked on since Stonecoast (despite Nancy Holder’s cheerleading) and see if I can flesh it out and make it presentable. I’ve avoided it because, submission-wise, I don’t really know what to do with something of that length.

Shut up, Cass. I’m going to write. Soon.

Submission Goals:

1. Submit to two magazines or anthologies a week.

2. Query agents for DS1. I have about 10 to go on my list, but I’m at that point where I need to wait for responses before I can try other agents.

3. Query publishers for DS1. If I strike out with the agents, I have a few publishers I want to submit to before I debate trunking the book/series.

On my Kindle app, but yeah.

Reading Goals:

1. Read 35 books overall.

2. Of those 35, review at least 12.

3. Of those 35, I want at least 8 to be from my “want to read again” list.

Misc. Goals:

1. Finish the shawl of doom. This is entirely because I procrastinate too much, but I will finish the damned thing and move onto another project to procrastinate on.

2. Finish watching The Untamed. I don’t usually care about TV, but I’m behind on all of my foreign shows. It’s extremely rare for me to watch anything on my own (I’d rather read), but I will make time for at least The Untamed this year. I always need more adorable gay stuff in my life.

What about you? What are your goals for 2021? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments here or on my social media profiles!

Last Quarter Intentions

Hello, hello! How’s everyone doing today? It’s been a gloomy couple of days, so I’ve just wanted to laze around. You know how it goes. But next week is September’s book review post, then we enter the final quarter of 2020. Can you believe it? Time is racing by, but at the same time it feels like 2020 has been stretching on forever. It’s weird. Anyway, in preparation for the end of the year, I thought I would let you know what my intentions are. I’m not even going to bother calling them goals because that word hasn’t helped me stay on target in a long time. So, here’s a list of the things I hope to accomplish by December 31st.

Basically.

1. Finish the first draft of DS2. I originally wanted to finish this a week or so ago, but the blahs got me and I stopped working on it. I wrote some short stuff in the interim, so I wasn’t completely useless. However, I need to get back to the novel. I’m aiming for 65-75,000 words and already have about 18,000 written, so even if I wait to start on October 1st (I need to reread what I’ve written over the next few days to get back in the voice) I’ll only need to write between 900 and 1,100 on my writing days. I can do it. I plan to do it. We’ll see if it actually happens.

2. Finish the shawl. I’ve been working on this thing on and off since October, so I want to finish it and have Dad weave in the ends and block it, so we can get it sent off. It’s my own fault it’s taking so long. Hopefully since I don’t plan on trying to force out 1,500 words on my writing days, I’ll be able to squeeze in at least half an hour of crocheting on those days as well as more on the days I don’t write. My priority will be the words, but I’m still hoping I can finish both by the end of the year.

Or just buy me yarn. No flattery necessary.

3. Keep querying and submitting. I haven’t missed a week yet, but I’m slowly running out of agents to query until I get rejections from some others (ones in agencies where you’re allowed to query other agents even if you get a no from one of them), I might drop down to two or three a week instead of five. I’m only 25 submissions away from 100, so I’m not worried about cutting back a bit. Then, I can look for publishers if none of the agents bite. I’ll still keep up with my two short story submissions each week too.

4. Read extra books. Once I finish the book I’m currently reading, I’ll have met my 30 books goal for the year, but I’ll still need to read at least two books for November and December’s reviews. I’m also planning to reread HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone and I’m sure I can find a book or two in my Kindle collection of stuff I’ve bought but haven’t read to fill out the rest of the year. Or maybe I’ll just say screw it and read manga instead.

I mean, if I had enough money, I’d be less anxious which would make me happy, but books work too.

I could talk about my intention to try and make new friends, but we all know how bad I am at keeping up with the ones I have, so I probably won’t do anything different. I’m trying. Slowly. But it’s not like it was back in the Yahoo chat days. Back then I’d randomly *glomp* someone and hey presto, new friend! Nowadays, I join a new forum or group and just lurk because I feel like a creeper. So yeah, new friends would be nice but are unlikely because I’m a socially awkward weirdo.

Anyway, that’s what I hope to accomplish by the end of the year. What about you? Anything you want to get done within the next three months? As always, feel free to share your thoughts or comments or whatever here or on my social media pages!

Keeping Track

Hello, hello!  Thanks to my friend and fellow Stonecoast alum, Tony PisculliI actually have something halfway productive to talk about today.  After my last post, he asked me how I keep track of my submissions and gave me a couple of ideas for how to improve on it.  So, I’m going to ramble a bit about three options for keeping track of the things you submit and where you submit them.  The first two options are things I currently do, but the third is one that I hope to implement in the near future.

keep track
As one should.

1. Duotrope.  This is a nifty website that offers a searchable database of magazines and anthologies looking for submissions.  It keeps track of acceptance rates and a bunch of other useful tidbits like what word count and genres these places accept.  Its information is fairly accurate, but always check the submission guidelines of each venue before you submit, just in case.  One of its main features is the ability to track what you’ve submitted where.  It’s currently my go-to way of keeping track of everything, but it is flawed in that some smaller venues aren’t listed, so I need a backup way of tracking those.  But for $50 a year, it’s a great tool for writers to invest in.

2. File names.  I learned a long time ago to use the date, the story title, and the name of the publication when I’m saving my work for submission.  Labeling the file something like 2019.03.20_story_publication keeps everything in a neat chronological order.  However, the more submissions you make, the more unruly this method becomes.  One thing Tony suggested to help improve this was to give each story its own folder, that way everything isn’t mixed together and it’s easier to scan through and see where you’ve submitted individual stories.  I plan on giving this a shot before I send out too many more submissions.

Microsoft-Office-Pun-Meme

3. Spreadsheets.  This is something I’ve been meaning to create for a while now, but I keep putting it off because it’s going to take at least a couple of days.  It has been a long time since I’ve made any kind of in-depth spreadsheet for anything, so I’ll have to teach myself all the ins and outs of it again.  But I would love to not only track where I’ve sent things, but where I want to send them in the future and when.  It’s difficult to keep track of which venues have open submission periods.  I’ve almost missed a number of windows because I didn’t write it down anywhere.  Plus, a spreadsheet would allow me to personalize the information I keep track of, like which venues encourage me to submit again or random encouraging words for a particular story to look at when I’m considering trunking something.  When I do get around to creating a spreadsheet, I’ll make sure to give you all a glimpse!

geeks-0411-saved-by-the-bell-de
Sure…

What about you?  How do you keep track of your submissions?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share?  Have you ever considered a spreadsheet?  What kind of information would you include if you created your own tracker?  Feel free to comment here or on my social media profiles!