Goal Check 2021

It’s the end of August, and it’s a good time to do an update of if I’m meeting my yearly goals as a writer. I posted one of these updates at the end of April. Because my goals aren’t huge in terms of numbers, only updating about every four months is reasonable. If I had daily submission goals, updating on a monthly basis would be a better interval.

I wish I had better news regarding updated numbers, though.

Short Stories

Short Stories Written and Polished: I have six stories that are polished to submission status, one that was but I pulled and need to polish again, and another that’s mid-polishing. Two of these were already self-published, either on the blog via the Writer in Motion program or in my first Newsletter. It’s a bit shady to include those two because getting them published via another outlet may not be feasible now that they already appeared once. The purpose of the polishing goal is to write stories that I can submit to markets. 
Including the four stories that probably should not be included, because they are being re-polished or already self-published, puts me at eight stories for the year – right on track! Not including them actually puts me behind my April update of five. 

Story Submissions: I have submitted stories 27 times so far this year. This is exactly on track. 
I made a goal mid-year to try to always have something submitted to Daily Science Fiction. They have a 2-4 week response time. If I kept up my short story polishing goals, and the word counts met those for Daily Science Fiction, I could meet this goal. However, not everything I am polishing right now meets their requirements, so this goal is on hold while I figure out how to meet it properly.

Rejections: My goal is for a 100% rejection rate on my submissions. This keeps me submitting, and I win if I meet it, and I win if I don’t because stories were accepted! I am currently at 27 rejections. 

Stories under consideration at this moment: Three.
​The numbers look odd because I had six submissions with only one rejection in 2020. One of those stories was accepted and four have since been rejected. I also had another acceptance in 2021 of a 2021 submission. My numbers don’t look like they add up, but they do. Writing this blog post made me check the accounting. I use both a tracking spreadsheet and The Submission Grinder hosted by Diabolical Plots. 

Novel Update

Querying: I sent my first query on April 18 and have sent 37 queries to-date. I received a partial request and a full request. I have had 29 rejections or no response after X time is a pass. 
I also haven’t sent a single query in August. Why not? Over the course of querying, I came to the conclusion that my opening pages were in the way of requests. At the end of June, I wrote a new chapter 1 as a writing exercise – not a replacement, but a step back. I’ve been editing and polishing it, very slowly, since. Unfortunately, I’ve had two weeks where I’m trying to finish a critique I promised for the end of July and therefore not working on my own stuff. On top of that, I have some ARCs to read and review. Time management of my writing, editing, critiquing and reading time, which are essentially the same time, has been poor over the summer. My reading speed has tanked in 2021. This is a problem.
Overall, I’m not at novel goals at all. I don’t have a dozen queries out right now. I’m not at a 10% request/response rate. 
Just as soon as I finish/send off this critique, I will focus on the novel chapter and then push my query numbers back up to a dozen out.

What next?

I currently have over 30 flash and short stories to finish and polish. I have two novels to edit and do more with besides the novel I’m querying. I have a third novel to finish. I have two novellas that I need to decide what to do with them. And I have a novellette I need to finish. I have more writing and editing than I can do unless I devoted my full time to it. Unfortuantely for writing (but fortunately for my bills) I have a full-time day job. However, fall and winter are coming. My mountain-faring will be reduced. My schedule will be shuffling. Maybe I’ll take the advice I was given by a successful author: While querying my novel, plan and write the novel I would write if I could write anything. Now that I’ve already done that 3 times, cough. What do I want to write now?

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