I had to go back to see when I’d hit my 200th post. It took a while, because it’s been two years. Two years for a hundred posts.  Not an awe inspiring rate. When you consider that almost half of those posts were written in the past three months, it’s downright embarrassing.  Not because I wasn’t blogging, but that it was a reflection of how writing has gone for me over the past two years.

In December of 2009 I started my job at the Cultural Trust.  New jobs are a huge disruption. I lose half of a year, at best, to the pressure of fitting into a new home.  Starting at the Trust was far, far worse. Because of how much I still had to learn about development, the better part of a year slipped into the void.  My job was my life.

I was talking with my friend Danielle on Monday, and she asked me a question.  Do I consider myself a writer or a programmer? There were a few ways I could have answered, all technically true.

I’m both.

I’m one now but am trying to transition into the other.

I’m barely a journeyman at both, so who knows?

My answer to her was, I think, more honest than those.  I told her it’s tough to say, because I get paid to do one, but not the other. But I do one without pay, and I don’t know if I’d keep doing the other without it.

I’ve done alright at being a writer.  I have done a miserable job of finding a way to get paid for it.  This isn’t just a problem for my ego.  A paycheck would mean it’s a job, too. It would mean I didn’t have to squeeze out another thousand words after a day spent slamming my head into a website.  Even a small amount of money could be the difference between needing to spend five days programming or four.

So this is where I say enough.

No, not enough writing. Enough wanting. Enough hoping.  I need a plan.

The plan starts today.

I’m going to keep it manageable.  I’m only worried about the next year. Since I know something just north of squat about getting paid for this, I could end up next year with little to show. The plan might need to change midway, anyway, so a year is as far out as I want to think. So, what’s the plan?

Wait, I actually need to come up with one? Um. Hold on a second.

Ok, plan.

First, I have a finished novel. The most important possible thing is for this novel to get into print.  The best case scenario is for publication, even with the tiniest possible press in the world. As much as I would love fame, fortune and the adoration of women for Broken Magic, what I really need are publication credits. I need a resume. I need a book in the wild. I’ll self-publish if that’s what it takes, but I’m not quite there, yet. So here’s step one: If no one has agreed to publish Broken Magic by March, 2012, I’ll publish it myself.

Second, I need another novel. It’s been years since I wrote Broken Magic and it’s embarrassing. More importantly, if I’ve gotten a publication credit on my resume, then I need something that said credit helps me publish. So, step 2: Write the first draft of Mimesis by June 2012. Finish the second draft by November, 2012.  The upside to this is I’ll have a finished novel before the world ends in December.

Third, I’ve been running from film long enough. I’ve been working on a webseries idea with Rachel and it’s weird and interesting and it’s something I can film. I don’t have a lot of hope for anything I film making me money or leading directly to fame and glory, but it’d something with my name people could see. So step 3: Film a short webseries in the summer of 2012. Release it before the end of the year.

Simple, right? 2012 isn’t already making me feel weak and nauseated or anything. No. Not me.

This plan has implications. I’m still going to be working a full time, mind shredding programming job. I’m going to have crises I can’t foresee and vacations and mental breakdowns and any number of other problems. I’m going to hate what I’m writing, have writer’s block, get inspired by something not on the plan. It’s going to be really, really hard. That means I have no idea what my free time is going to look like next year. I’ll do what I can not to vanish. If nothing else, you’ll see me online.

We’ll call this the draft version of the plan. If you have thoughts, suggestions, ideas, hopes or complaints, let me know. But next year, I’m making progress. I’m moving forward.

Or at least, I’m giving it my best possible effort.

Vow made on my 300th post. See you at 400.

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10 Responses to 300

  1. Mels says:

    let me know what I can do to help (besides nag. which I will do anyway)

  2. cabri says:

    I’m jealous. I want a plan that I can ignore when that Psych marathon comes on! ;)

  3. samatwitch says:

    Best of luck for your plan. I believe you can do it – and maybe it will inspire me to do one of my own! Have you looked at Indiegogo.com for possible funding for your webseries? A couple of local webseries that my friends are involved in have used/are using that site to raise money.

  4. LBS says:

    You need book publicist? Too bad! I’m not a publicist anymore… but I am fairly accomplished in making websites sell shit. You know how to find me.

  5. Eric says:

    Thanks for the support and/or total lack of faith (cabri!). I appreciate them both. The next year is going to kill me. Unless I fail, in which case it won’t, and but will it suck if next year turns out to be easy and lazy.

  6. I, also, will be glad to help where possible.

    Do you have your already-filmed feature-length movie on that plan anywhere, too? :-)

  7. Fox says:

    Out of curiosity, are you querying through the winter months? I’ve been back and forth on this one: first, not sure if agents will feel like reading over the holidays (and I don’t blame them), and second/most importantly, I’m terrified of sending stuff in December and having agents assume this is a freshly-penned NaNoWriMo novel, scrawled down in 30 days with no polish whatsoever.

    Shockingly, I found out there are a number of people who think that’s a good idea, and I am paranoid about ending up lumped in the slush pile with them. My plan thus far has been to use Dec and Jan for research and begin the query process again in February, once the WriMo-hopefuls have dwindled (along with the new-years resolution people at the gym!).

  8. Eric says:

    I’ve found that I can find a good reason not to query during any months, so I decided I would just do this (considering said query-able novel is years old at this point) and hope that the time period wasn’t a hinderance. I have to imagine that the novels which have been pounded out in 30 days and unrevised are so obvious that they can’t help but reflect well upon a query not like that. But like I said, I can outthink any good reason and make it a bad one given enough time.

    Mostly, I think the backlog of submissions is so long that anything we send in in November is getting read sometime in January anyway, so I’m not sure that sloppy NaNo novels look any different than the sloppy garbage people normally send in.

    But this is all basically justification, right? Mostly I’m just trying not to find an excuse not to send another query in, which are excuses I have found to be eminently easy to find when needed.

    All that said, I think your plan is sound. February is the time when people are almost certainly in work, not on holiday and hopefully powering through the slush pile.

    What are you querying, if I might ask? Novel, I take it? Recently finished?

  9. Fox says:

    I think I read an article somewhere (or my husband read it and told me about it, since he is trying to work as mini-agent to keep me in line until I land a real agent) about how in recent years, agents have seen a massive increase in slush directly after the end of NaNoWriMo, complete with people admitting, “I just completed this NaNoWriMo novel and am seeking representation.” I would so not have the guts to do that, ever.

    Right now, I’m querying for my YA paranormal love story that I wrote back in the end of 2008 and have been editing and reviewing with my writers’ group since early-2010ish. I feel like it somehow took me longer to write the query letter than it did to write the book. So far, no luck, but I feel the tiniest bit hopeful as long as there are letters floating about the interwebosphere that haven’t brought rejections (yet)!

  10. Pingback: Checking In On My Scary, Scary Goals | Saalon Muyo

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