2023 Writing Goals/Intentions

Since I started this site a few years back, I’ve posted my goals for the new year and gone back through them to update my progress as the year progresses. Here are my goals and updates for 20202021, and 2022 for interested people.

As always, I hope this provides any writer 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!

Last Updated: April 2023

2023 Intention: Build community and strengthen craft

  1. Apply to MFA program
    • All I want to do is deepen my craft and strengthen my writing. All I do feeds into this, which is why for the past couple of years, I’ve been prepping to apply to MFA programs with the hope of landing a spot in one and spending 2-3 years becoming a writer that terrifies and breaks hearts. I have my schools picked out, references picked, and my samples all written and edited. I’ll be spending most of the year writing and editing my personal essays for each of the schools.
    • April Update: I’ve finished 2 applications and am waiting on recommendation letter stuff to finish them up and mark them as complete. I’ve also finished writing 2 of my personal essays and am starting on the 3rd.
  2. Study history, science, and psychology
    • I like to study subjects outside of my regular writing-related work to help influence my stories and for general interest. This year, I’ve picked history, science, and psychology as my broad fields of study. I’ll be reading books, articles, papers, reports, studies, watching movies, documentaries, series, shows, and doing anything else I can to learn the ways of the world, both soft and hard.
    • April Update: I’ve been exploring some web series, documentaries, and podcasts, but mainly I’ve been focusing on reading books. The books I’ve read so far this year are:
      • More Than Words by John Howard
      • Over My Dead Body by Greg Melville
      • The Oracle of Night by Sidarta Ribeiro
      • The Milky Way by Moiya McTier
      • City of Omens by Dan Werb
      • No Bad Parts by Richard C. Schwartz
  3. Study world-building and description
    • Last year, I spent my dedicated craft learning time studying voice and syntax, which was so amazing for my craft and writing! This year, I’m focusing on world-building and description. Like last year, I’ll read books, take classes, participate in workshops, and perform a lot of deliberate practice.
    • April Update: I’m still working through my copywork of SGJ Mongrels and using that as a deep dive into how he creates his descriptions and builds his settings in a clear and striking way. I’m also slowly reading through Setting and Description and spending a lot of time exploring the exercises in that book while doing generative exercises every morning to brainstorm specific details and how to describe them. Like with my study of history, science, and psychology, I’m also spending a lot of time reading to learn how authors tackle description and setting. The books I’ve read so far this year for this are:
      • Hangsaman by Shirley Jackson
      • All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
      • Chasing the Boogeyman by Richard Chizmar
      • Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward
      • Requiem for a Dream by Hubert Selby Jr.
      • Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen
  4. Write 2 new stories a month
    • It’s been a very long time since I’ve done a slow write of a short story that I wanted to dedicate this year to crafting some stories that aren’t a part of my August story-a-day challenge but have a bit more foresight and planning. I’ll also be basing each story on a personal memory or experience and blending it with a larger theme. I hope to make these stories top-tier literary speculative fiction of the kind you’d hold dear, no matter how dark.
    • April Update: I’ve only written 2 new stories so far, but I’m still doing what I wanted to do, which was draft stories at a slower, more careful pace. I’ve been spending a lot of my writing time, exploring the world and areas around me that relate to my story in ways to deepen their descriptions and craft a more real fictional world for my readers.
  5. Apply for or approach a publisher about editing an anthology
    • I’ve been an editor for a few years now and have had stories on award recommend lists and getting reviewed in places like Tor.com and Locus Magazine. While I’ve guest-edited whole issues and been with Strange Horizons for a few years, I’d love to break into the anthology game and work on a themed anthology with a publisher.
    • April Update: I am in the process of working with a team on building a Best of Anthology. More news on this as I can share!
  6. Query and send my horror novella out till September
    • Last year I wrote and edited a horror novella that’s been out on query and with some publishers since October 2022. I plan to keep sending it out to publishers and agents until September. Then I’ll take another look at it and serialize it on this blog or make another blog for it. There’s a small chance I’ll self-publish it like my other books.
    • April Update: I’ve revamped my query and selected a new round of agents and publishers to send the book out to. So far, I’ve gotten good rejections but nothing else.
  7. Rough draft horror thriller novel
    • I have been working on my next novel and plan to draft it in the fall after much research, planning, and preparation. I won’t be editing or querying it this year but will save that for 2024 to give the manuscript room to breathe. I’ve mapped out my research and reading materials and even have some loos plans for road trips to the desert to do some real-world research.
    • April Update: I’m considering that I may push the rough drafting of my novel back to 2024, so I can use this year as a big deep dive into pre-planning and research. I’ve already drafted up the rough 67-chapter outline that charts the course of the story and will finish drafting the other subplots by October. I’m confident in my fast drafting skills to complete the 100K draft in three months, but also, I’m in no rush and want to really explore my world and develop my craft to knock this novel out of the park.
  8. Get more involved in the speculative fiction writing community
    • Community is so important, and I feel that even though I write reviews, edit for a prominent magazine, teach classes, offer free advice, and moderate a speculative fiction writing group in my community, there are more ways I can help out. Instead of trying to spread myself too thin by adding more to my plate, I’ll just deepen my intentions and efforts in those areas throughout the year.
    • April Update: I’ve been volunteering as a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer Association mentor for the past three months and have already applied to do another session in a few months! I’ve also been trying to get more people involved in my local speculative fiction writing group, so have been networking and doing outreach around that.

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