Goals. I have them obviously. Otherwise, I would not update this blog or write reviews and editorials. But I have not taken the time to sit down at the keyboard and actually think them out.
So, that’s what we’re going to do.
Goals for 2020 – The Definitive List
I want to maintain this blog and the continually update the website.
I have been neglectful about how frequently I update and expand the site. Right now, it’s barebones and I kind of need it to be this minimal. I don’t currently have the time to be building out huge scaffolding for a site that isn’t all the public. One day, I hope to add more pages. But, if I am being completely honest, there isn’t all that much more information than currently exists here.
But I want to maintain the once-a-week post a random photograph. It’s manageable and I enjoy the opportunity to write about whatever the hell I want. It makes me feel good. Also, you know the rules. If you want to be a writer you need to read a lot and write a lot. Writing for this site makes sure that I am including writing in my day at a time when I normally wouldn’t include writing in my day. That’s a good thing.
Finally, I made a deal with myself that if I could maintain this blog consistently for an entire year I would then buy the domain and actually advertise the site in author bios and all that. So far so good. The frequency of posts is a manageable schedule and it allows me to backlog the site. Am I posting everyday? Hell no. But there is regular content that is updated weekly. For someone who is working a full-time job and trying to shove a bunch of other extracurricular writing into the mix, I think that this posting frequency is just right.
I want to continue publishing with websites and try to expand my audience.
The idea of “brand management” when talking about yourself is perhaps the most uncomfortable thing I have ever encountered. I hate thinking of my writing as contributing to my “brand,” but not thinking about some type of branding is a short road to obscurity. I don’t want to be the writer who has a ton of stories published but never raised their profile beyond their Facebook friends. I want people to read the stuff I produce. I like making stories. I don’t like having them sit in my computer.
So, I’ve made some strides in this arena already. I contribute to a horror film site run by a mentor and former professor. I also work as a staff writer for another horror film site on the side. As a staff writer, I need to produce one article per month. So, that is rather steady. I can also publish pieces with my mentor’s site when I feel the urge.
But I still want to try to do a bit more. I have a lot going on. So, I want to say that I would like to be published with at least one other site by the end of 2020. It’s low hanging fruit, but I think it’s a realistic goal. I don’t want to set myself up for failure.
It is also important to focus on branding here. I need to be sharing Twitter handles on these posts. I’m working on a following and, right now, I have very few people following me on social. Social is not easy for me. I don’t feel comfortable tweeting, but it is a necessary evil.
As always, I need more short story publications.
I have been lucky to place a story in 2018 and 2019. Now, I need to actually make sure that I am trying to actively publish more than once per year. I need my name and my fiction to be out there more often and in front of more people. The branding and the following is all for nothing if I am not getting stories out there for people to read.
The goal is 3-4 stories in 2020. New stories and new markets. Again, low fruit here. There are authors that pump out like 10 stories a year. I don’t know that I can do that. I’ve received my first acceptance of 2020. So, one is already in the bag. It’s a running start and I’m grateful for it.
I also need to be deliberate in pursuing publication in harder markets. It is not easy to be published in any market. There are some that are easier than others, but sending a story is never easy. That said, there are scales in the short story market. People are looking at what breaks through at the bigger magazines and, if you want to move forward in the fiction world, you need to be breaking into those markets.
I haven’t done that yet. But I also haven’t been trying nearly as hard as I could have. I’ve been placing stories where I think they will be accepted. That’s good and bad. It helps my ego and my drive to be accepted. It hurts to be rejected. But I need to eat the rejections because moving forward means facing rejections. I have not done all this work to not move forward. So, 2020 will be the year of the sliding scale submission.
What do I mean by sliding scale submission? I mean when I have a story, I am going to the top market that is accepting submissions. If they reject, I go to the market directly below it. If they reject, I go to the next on in line. And so on and so on. This method is going to invite rejection. That’s okay. I need to learn to live with it.
And I may not get anything published in a “premiere” market. That’s okay. I may not be ready for that market yet. I see my writing growing and I feel like it is growing in the right way. But that does not mean that I am ready to swim with the big boys yet. I might be, but I doubt it. I think I need a lot more rejections before it happens. But we’ll see.
I think that is it.
It’s not a long list, but I think it’s an in-depth list. There are things I really need to think about as 2020 continues on and I think they are manageable.
Something to think about: I am always reminding myself that I just made a commitment to this mission in 2019. It’s not even been a full year since I decided that I needed to do this stuff to remain sane. In that time, I’ve accomplished a lot. And it was a lot of work and time. Patience is everything. Remember that. Patience and hard work.