Quarter One Goals - 2018
With the new year comes the flood of New Year's resolutions that people tend to announce either to the world or to themselves - goals that they aspire to accomplish over the course of a year.
Coming from the tech industry, working with small teams in small and mid-size nonprofits, annual goals just aren't my style.
Over the years, I've come to appreciate project management processes like Agile - a highly collaborative method of project development based around iteration and short, frequent meetings - and Scrum, a subset of Agile that is based around comprehensive task management, tasks that are broken up into small sprints that are expected to be completed in short time scales, usually two to four weeks.
I'm not going to get into all the details about Scrums or sprints or anything like that, but the reason I bring this up is because I've seen the benefits of the Agile methodology. But can such processes apply for writers? Can a writer take all the goals they have for a period of time and break them down into their many different pieces and see them to the end?
I suppose we'll find out together - without further ado, here's my list of goals for the first three months of 2018:
- Complete my manuscript (first draft).
- My top goal for the beginning of this year. Since I have family flying in to stay in my home toward the end of January, I will be pushing very hard to complete my story before they arrive.
- Complete at least two rounds of self-editing.
- This will likely start immediately after I finish my manuscript, though I am debating whether or not I let it marinate for a week or so before going back to give it a once-over. I've been told that letting your work rest upon completion will make editing it a bit less personal, but at the same time, I already have a good idea regarding what will be changing with the earlier chapters.
- Submit the third draft of my manuscript to an editor.
- I already have an editor - Kim Chance - lined up for the job, and she's informed me of the anticipated time frame for completing a full inquiry of my work - at least four weeks. I've worked with her already, as she provided a critique of the first fifty pages of my work, the results of which impacted the rest of my novel. I'm looking forward to working with her again.
- Attend the San Francisco Writers Conference.
- My understanding is that this is Dreamforce for writers - except that it's all happening in a single hotel. (Few annual conferences will ever compete with the scale and craziness of the Salesforce conference in SF.) I feel this will be an excellent chance to network with fellow writers, editors, and agents. It would also be a chance for me to finally put my business cards to good use.
- Complete a final round of editing, based on feedback from the editor.
- Regardless of the feedback I receive, I already know this will be very detailed and will require a significant amount of time to absorb, review, and apply. It is likely that this will roll into the next quarter, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
- Line up beta readers.
- Once I've started #5, I'll begin lining up my official group of beta readers.
- Write a short story in the horror genre!
- One thing I've been mulling about is writing up a series of short stories ahead of writing another full-blown novel. Thanks to a nightmare that I had a few weeks ago, I now have the perfect place to start: a supernatural horror short that I hope sends some shivers down your spine. Being that horror is a genre that I'm a huge fan of in the world of cinema, I believe writing such stories will be a different challenge for me. I cannot wait to see what kind of monsters I can conjure into existence.
I'm oh-so-close to finishing my story, but that isn't the end! There is much to do afterwards, so I hope that all of you can keep me accountable by my sharing these goals with you. Three months isn't a lot of time, but as always, I am up for the challenge.