“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 to date = 7,244 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 to date = nothing*
*For 2022, I’m not counting serial story episodes, 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 2019–2021, 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 2022
#1 Write more
Specifically, I’d like to end the year having written at least 320,000 words for the year. That would give me one book for every series I have and one book extra for whatever I want.
This is about 877 words a day or 1,231 words for every working day calculated using the standard of 260 working days in a year.
A relatively easy goal and totally doable.
My dream accomplishment for 2022?
Write several books for every series, some short stories, and a few stand-alone novels. This is almost certainly out of my range, but I’m not going to say it’s impossible, because it might not be. I just haven’t done it yet. :-D
#2 Publish a book every 6–8 weeks
If I can reach goal #1, then I can reach goal #2. Simple.
This is true for both the 320,000 words a year goal and (of course) the larger dream accomplishment.
One book for every series includes a short story and a short novel but it would allow for 7 releases for the year, so about 7.5 weeks between releases if spaced out. The lower end will be close, but it will be there.
I won’t even have to think about this one, except to space out my releases a bit.
Publishing more often, with some regularity, will allow me to gain some much needed momentum on each of my 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 story longer.
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.
I’m working on all of these things. Practice, practice, practice.
This is something I keep on here every year, because it’s a never ending battle against yourself when you have a bent for perfectionism.
I’m very good at letting go once I’ve finished a book. I’m terrible at it when it comes to the writing.
#4 Stop thinking and planning and start doing
I overthink things too often.
Sometimes my head feels like it’s going to explode with all the plans I make and all the self-analysis I do while I try to figure out why I’m behaving a certain way. But knowing that doesn’t often help.
That’s when I need to remember to stop and do something.
The only cure for overthinking is action.
Writing is writing. Thinking about writing is just thinking.