“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 (partial year, July – December)
2013 = 268,191 words
2014 = 217,641 words
2015 = 250,011 words
2016 = 220,071 words
2017 = 126,581 words
2018 = 92,198 words
2019 = 239,736 words
2020 = 35,649 words
2021 = 34,134 words
2022 = 8,767 words
2023 to date = 41,695 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. Sometimes chopping words off a story is the only way to move forward.
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 = 1 novel
2019 = 1 novel; 2 novelettes; 2 short novels
2020 = nothing
2021 = 1 novelette; 1 serial story; 1 short story
2022 = nothing
2023 to date = 1 novel; 1 serial story; 1 short story
For 2022–2023, I’m not counting serial story chapters, although I might decide to count them later.
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.
(After the dramatic dive in output from 2020–2022, I’m no longer making enough to call it making a living off my books. :o Because of where I was mentally, I didn’t really care as long as I had enough money to feed myself. I’ve started caring again, and I’m now taking steps to get back to the making-a-living levels of output. I don’t expect it to happen overnight, because these things can linger. But I already see progress and that makes me happy.)
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.
Things I’d like to do in 2023
#1 Write more
I had a dramatic dive in output for a while, related to a lot of things happening in my life, but I seem to be recovering in 2023. :D I hope to write a lot of words this year, and I have a plan, but the plan is the kind of plan where I overreach but end up happy with my progress even when I lose. :D
My dream accomplishment for 2023?
Write several books for every series, some short stories, and a few stand-alone novels. Get my main series out in hardcover, and redo some covers and paperbacks.
#2 Publish a book every 6–8 weeks
I’m trying to build new momentum with my series, and more frequent releases will help that effort enormously.
#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 story longer.
This one ends up staying on my list every year because I know if I can accomplish it, all the other goals I have will be so much easier to reach.
Now, on to the work! Books don’t write themselves—or maybe in these days of AI, they do, but my books don’t. Even if I ever turn to AI for help as an assistant, I will always be the mind behind the stories. Never doubt it. :-)