Since I started this site a few years back, I’ve posted my goals for the new year and gone back through to update people on my progress as the year progresses. Here are my goals and updates for 2020 and 2021.
I hope this provides the aspiring writer just starting out or trying to find their way a bit of a roadmap and inspiration to design their careers. It also bears noting that I am a full-time writer with no other job but writing and editing!
2022 Intention: Level up my craft and work on writing my next books
Last Update 12/01
Write and edit my horror novella
- I’ve started researching and plotting in my head already. Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have a rough outline that I can start fleshing out more in Feburary. My plan is to do the first rough draft in a week during March and spending a few more months editing.
- April Update: Novella is written, and I’ve already started on edits.
- July Update: Working through edits with a projected completion date of August
- October Update: Finished editing the book!
Put my horror novella out on submission
- If all goes according to plan, I’ll have my novella finished by the end of the summer and ready for submitting out during the fall.
- July Update: Still on target!
- October Update: my horror novella is out with agents and publishers
Keep querying my novel Out of the Machine until July at the latest
- I’ve gotten a few positive rejections and crickets from some editors and agents, but I’ve only sent it to 10 agents, at most, which is nothing. Based on my projections of the agents I have queued up to query, I’ll be done with them by July. At that point, if I have no takers, I’ll start submitting my manuscript to publishers directly.
- April Update: Just sent out another batch of queries yesterday, have two agents reading partials, and will be sending out my final batch of queries in June.
- July Update: I sent out the last query in June and won’t be re-querying or submitting until next year—unless one of the agents or editors reading it currently, plucks it from the slush and says yes.
Apply to writing programs (Clarion West, Odyssey, Futurescapes, etc.)
- So far, I’ve applied to Clarion West and Futurescapes.
- I got into Futurescapes
- April Update: Still waiting to hear back from Clarion West. I decided not to apply to Odyssey because I didn’t think I’d get in. The application requires 2 references. And while I have a lot of writing colleagues who would give me wonderful references, the more I looked at Odyssey’s alumni and talked to a past student, the more I realize I’m not the target student or I’m not the student that they would want. So, instead of running my head against a wall trying to get into Odyssey, I’m just going to spend my effort in other places like Craft has some great online classes along with Writing the Other, Cat Rambo, and a few other places.
Gain a third column
- I currently have two monthly columns (Into the Night and my reviews for Lightspeed Magazine) but I’d like to add a third into the mix. I’ve got some feelers out, but I haven’t heard anything yet. I’m pretty contfident that I’ll land this one by the end of the year.
- April Update: I actually think, for now, I’m going to keep my columns at two a month. I recently snagged a new gig that is taking up more of my time, so two columns is about as much as I can do while still keeping up with my other projects.
Edit and submit the last few stories in my bank
- I have 13 stories I want to polish up and submit to professional publications. I’ve just started on the first one.
- April Update: I’ve edited through 3 stories and 2 of them are out on submission. I’ll be moving to edit the next story in my bank next week.
- July Update: I’ve edited through 6 or 7 stories, and several of them are out on submission. 2 of them have sold, and 1 of them is being held for further review.
- October Update: I sold the story being held for review to Monstrous Futures. Several more stories are out, and multiple are being held for further review
- December Update: Finishing editing up and sending out the last of the stories in my bank!
Pitch pieces to top paying markets
- This one is pretty self-explanatory.
- April Update: With the new job, I’m still going to do this, but at a slower rate, so I have time to work on each of them with the proper care.
- July Update: I’ve sorta pulled back on pitching to focus more on my fiction submitting and editing. But I am still sending out pitches every now and then and working on pieces for the Washington Post and Writer’s Digest.
Start my third rewrite of my fantasy epic
- Since I started writing professionally, I’ve had been working on a fantasy novel that it’s taken me a while to get to the level in my craft where I can successfully pull off what I envision. This summer and fall, I’m going to try a third time to write it and see if I’m up to conquering the beast of a story
- July Update: I’ll be diving into my first read-through and refamiliarization with the project this month. Since I’ve written two drafts of the beats, I’ll be spending this month and next really digging into both drafts to make sense of the story and plant myself back in the world.
- October Update: I have A LOT of past drafts to go through and more planning to do before I can start writing. I’ve mapped out a mid-2023 start date
Compile my second short story collection
- Besides the 13 stories I’m working on to submit to publications, I have a handful of other stories around a theme of absence that I’ll be putting into a collection and submitting to publishers at the end of the year. So far, I have a few of the stories together and know I need to write probably 5-10 more depending on length. There’s also a chance I’ll combine the horror novella and the short story collection like I did with Plagued Company.
- July Update: My plan is to start this in September once my horror novella is out on query.
- October Update: Compiled the short story collection, but it isn’t as big as I was hoping. Since I have a few horror pieces coming out over the next few months, I figured I’d hold off on it until I get the rights back on those and can add them to the collection.
Gain more traction with my courses
- I have a couple hundred students in my courses, but I want to enter a steady flow of selling and teaching my courses. Toward reaching this goal, I have a few free virtual teaching events coming up over the next few months and am gonna start appearing as a guest on a few writing and editing podcasts. More news on this in the coming months!
- April Update: Sells are picking up after my teaching spot with Clarion West. I have not reached out to podcast hosts like I should to lock down those guest appearances, but I’ve just written it into next month’s plans, so will start working on this more soon. My focus has definitely been promoting my courses through my teaching gig, articles, and posts on my writing site.
- July Update: My focus now is on coming up with an ad set to push these courses through the door and in front of more writers and learners.
- October Update: Came up with ad sets and will start running them within the next month!
- December Update: I think since my last update, about 30 new students have enrolled in affiliate sales! I don’t make much off of those sales, but the new students are always awesome.
Study voice and syntax
- My aim is to study these subjects and learn them to a point where I can manipulate them in a more advanced way. I don’t want to just write intuitively, but I want to be deliberate, too. I’ve got a few books, exercises, and practice stories planned for learning syntax over the next four months. Then I’ll switch over to doing a deep study of voice for four months before combining the two for the last four months of the year.
- April Update: These past few months have been great. I’ve done a copy work story every month, studying how the writer constructs their sentences and what effects they have. This is my last month and I’ll be doing a deeper dive at a story I copied last month while performing more sentence exercises targeted at getting me to write clearer and more engaging lines.
- July Update: Still going strong on my personal study and getting a lot of great feedback back about how my prose and writing has been improving over the past few months.
- October Update: This is going really well! I think it’s a nice show of how well my study has been going by how many pieces I’ve sold to top magazines this year. A few times the editors have specifically noted the voice or prose of a piece as being standout.
- December Update: Spent all year focusing on studying voice and syntax in a variety of ways. I’ll be closing out the year with copywork of Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones.
Compile and edit two writing craft books
- With over 150 writing craft articles, I’ve decided to compile them into a collection, edit them, add more information, and publish them as books. I have four books currently compiled around fiction writing, dialogue, scenes, and a general writing book. In 2022, I’ll work on my fiction and general writing book, which I plan to self-publish in 2023.
- April Update: Surprise, surprise, one of the writing books I’ve been working on is actually more substantial of a project than I originally realized. My plan was to write a short ~20,000-word general writing how-to book, but when I started putting the book together to include everything I would want to learn if I was trying to become a professional writer today, it became something else, something more. My new plan is to focus on cleaning up the ~100,000-word book, so I can send out nonfiction book proposals to publishers or pitch it to my agent if I get one with one of my other projects.
7 thoughts on “2022 Writing Goals/Intentions”
‘Writing deliberately’ is such a cool goal. It’s obvious how much you’re growing in the craft if you’re breaking things down like that and dissecting them bit by bit. Love your posts as they inspire me to continually work on my craft, and it’s only been like a week since I was inspired by your last one. Thanks for sharing!
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I’m so glad my writing inspires you, Stuart. You’re an inspiration yourself. I love reading about your journey and process. My whole thing is writing deliberately and with intention to craft the specific effect, image, or story that I’m driving at. It’s been a great help in figuring out my weaknesses, helping me develop my craft, and getting me more connected with the stories I write.