Achievement Unlocked!

I did it. I really did it!

At the end of 2019, I set myself a goal: At least ten additional publishing credits, all published in 2020. At the point I made that goal, I’d already sold at least two stories that were set to be published in 2020, so I thought I had a fairly good idea of what was going on.

Now at this point, I’ve had a glut of announcements. Whee! Achievement unlocked. In fact, once everything is out that’s “due” to come out in 2020, I may average one work published a month.

That’s pretty amazing to me. I’ve come a long way in really not that long when it comes to actually getting things published. I’ve learned relatively simple things like formatting. I’ve toiled over stories to make them not just “good” but also stories that could be purchased. I’ve learned some of the ins-and-outs of looking for calls for submissions and how to answer them. I’m no expert, but I can look back and appreciate what I’ve learned thus far!

But 2020 is drawing to a close. Sure, it’s not done yet, but realistically speaking, even if more stories get bought this calendar year, they probably won’t be released until 2021 (or even later).

So… does that mean it’s time for me to make a goal for next year?

This is actually very difficult for me. I can make goals for how much writing I can get done. I can set schedules for myself for what I do, but as far as how much gets published… there’s very little I can do for that other than the production of stories.

See, I don’t decide when a publisher says, “Yes! We want your novel!” I control the novel, but not anyone’s reaction to it. I can’t determine when an editor exclaims, “This story! I must publish it!” I craft the tale, but not anyone’s decisions concerning it.

So what should I do?

Last year I set myself a goal I had no control over: Get ten pieces published. And that goal’s been achieved! And I think that’s a good pace for me at this point in my life. Let’s get ten more pieces accepted somewhere.

But I need to understand that’s really more of a dream, since I can’t control it.

What about my writing output? Can I control that?

Well, at least somewhat! Because I’m a pastor in my “day job,” my time is rarely fully under my control. If one of my members has an emergency, I go to them. I don’t schedule those. It’s not like I call up my members and say, “Oh, Helga? Yeah, today doesn’t work for me. Can you reschedule your heart attack for Tuesday? Thanks. You’re a doll.”

That said, while I can’t control specific days, I can still see patterns and predict overall how much I can accomplish.

So… what’s my goal for 2021?

(And before you say anything, yes, I realize that it’s not December yet. I like taking a running start on these things!)

  • I currently have 16 short stories out on submission. By the end of 2021, I will have 20 short stories out.
  • Over the course of 2021, I will complete rough drafts and at least one revision each of 2 novels.

I… I really expected more on that list. But really, I think that’s a fair amount to do. That means I’m getting at least four more short stories in my personal “slush pile” beyond anything that’s purchased. If nothing’s purchased, that won’t be that hard.

As for the novels, considering I completed a novel in a month and a day, I think doing two novels over a year is doable. Challenging? Yeah. But challenging isn’t bad! (And in fact, I’m aiming to do that first revision of that novel I did in September over the course of December!)

So, yes. Time to get back to it. Let’s see if I can get more published in 2021. But to do that… time to keep writing!

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