“Progress on what?” you ask. This page tracks my progress in my career as a professional fiction writer. I use that phrase purposefully, because I don’t like writing nonfiction, and I don’t really want to write anything except fiction. I’d rather earn my living writing, but only fiction, and if not fiction, then I’d rather earn my living doing something else. :)
2012 = 146,821 words
2013 = 268,191 words
2014 = 217,641 words
2015 = 250,011 words
2016 = 220,071 words
2017 = 126,581 words
2018 to date = 15,914 words
I track only publishable words, not for any particular reason, but because that’s how my spreadsheets are easiest to maintain—I simply copy in my ending word count from whatever doc(s) I’m working on. Therefore, deleted words or discarded stories get subtracted from my totals immediately. So, yeah, I could have 100,000 today but only 50,000 tomorrow.
2012 = 2 short novels; 1 novelette; 2 short stories
2013 = 4 novels; 3 novelettes
2014 = 3 novels; 2 novelettes
2015 = 4 novels; 2 novelettes
2016 = 3 novels; 2 novelettes
2017 = 2 novels
2018 to date = nothing
These are based on the word count scale below. I have to admit, one of those short novels from 2012 is really short. :) Also, one of the 2012 short stories is a one-off under a pseudonym that might never see another published story.
Looking at my output, I’m amazed I’ve been able to make a living with what I’ve put out there each year. I’m definitely a bit of an oddity, even if my living is modest. I know many other authors with as many titles who haven’t been so blessed. Of course, there are also authors with many fewer titles earning considerably more than me, so there ya go.
Novels > 40,000 words
Short novels > 20,000 to 40,000 words
Novelettes/Novellas > 7,000 to 20,000 words
Short stories < 7,000 words
I write everything under pen names, and although I think it’s fun sharing some details, I don’t share my pen names.
2017 was a shocking year for me. I’m not sure what happened to my motivation to write, but something happened. It started at the end of 2016 to be honest, but wasn’t so noticeable because I had the rest of the year to keep it from looking quite so bad. It’s taken me many months into 2018 to really start to get back to things. I’m not sure where I’ll end up, but for the moment, I’m still making it as a full-time writer. If I want that to continue, I have to do better going forward than I did in 2017.
Things I’d like to do in 2018
#1 Write more
Why do I want this? Because I have so many series going that I absolutely need to write more if I ever want to see any of them reach their full potential. All my series have bigger stories wrapped up in them and they’re all important to me. I want to make progress on those stories while also writing some new things, and that’s all going to take time—and faster writing.
I want to write 2,000 words every day, or at the very least, average 2,000 words a day each week. It’s a plan in progress, for sure, but I believe I can get there.
#2 Publish a book every 4–6 weeks
If I can reach goal #1, then I can reach goal #2. Simple. :) Publishing on a more regular schedule, and more often, will allow me to gain some much needed momentum on each of my series. Right now, some series have gone more than two years between releases. That’s no way to build a series.
#3 Stop agonizing over every word I put down
Learn how to let it go. Learn how to enter flow faster and easier. Learn how to stay in the chair longer. Learn how to write even when I don’t feel like it.
I often make writing harder than it needs to be. I really want to stop that. I like writing. I don’t like it when it’s hard. It’s harder more often than it has to be, full stop.
I’m working on all of these things. Practice, practice, practice.