Looking ahead to 2023

One part of me says “no, don’t get too ambitious in disclosing your goals for 2023. After all, look at what happened in 2022.”

Another part says “eh, go ahead and do it anyway. Accountability purposes, plus it helps you articulate some thoughts you’ve been fiddling with.”

I don’t think it hurts to consider what needs to be done for the year ahead. I don’t make resolutions as such, but as I sat down yesterday and worked my way through my publication/drafting/production/craft schedule for the year, I started feeling better about how I do things and what I intend to accomplish this year. Rather than having the things I want to do swarming loosely in my head, I looked at my tentative goals, then booked out time to get them done. That includes when I’m starting worldbuilding on one set of stories, when I’m drafting, and when things go into production. I’m also including the goals of having some craft work ready to sell by fall for the holiday season, and maybe even before then.

For me, setting out these tangible goals makes it easier for me to get things done. If I can see it on paper–in this case, a written plan, with one copy on the wall behind the computer and the other folded and tucked into my planner–then it’s easier for me to focus. I need some structures, whether self-imposed or externally-imposed, to get this done. Too much stuff floating loose in my brain leads to gridlock and paralysis. I started falling prey to this during the last half of the year.

The reality is that I am more productive when I have a plan. Even if I don’t hit all of my deadlines, the plan motivates me to do my best to accomplish them. It’s probably an artifact of when I worked as a paralegal (and again as a special education case manager), where I needed to think in terms of daily blocks of time. If I know what I’m doing (above and beyond word count measures), then I can mentally block out the time. If I have too many things that I should be doing, I end up not being able to carve out those mental blocks of time and…paralysis sets in.

In any case, 2023 continues one goal I had for 2022, which was to clear out some partially completed stories on my hard drive and get them out in the world. Also, due to my cataract, I missed getting some things set up in paperback and marketed wide. The other piece is that I want to start writing and circulating short stories for publication again. Yes, it’s a time-consuming pain in the butt. However, at some point I hope those stories will gain some visibility.

To that end, I have blocked out a drafting goal of one short story a month.

Serial writing also requires a certain amount of schedule planning. I have enough episodes to provide weekly episodes of the new Martiniere Multiverse book, The Cost of Power, through the end of May. I’ve flagged when I need to think about writing more, if I haven’t created new episodes by then. The Cost of Power will probably run for most of 2023 on Substack at that rat.

I’m also toward the end of worldbuilding for a new Kindle Vella serial, Federation Cowboy, which includes a chapter outline. Since I want to publish new Vella episodes 3x a week, at about 1000-2000 words per episode, I need to make sure I have 3000-6000 words ready to go per week. So I will start posting once I’m about 18k into the story, just to be safe. Plus I want to write three other serial stories, Into the Vortex, Dark-Shaded Heart, and Oregon Country (which will start posting in 2024, depending on what happens with Vella). All of those stories have rough outlines and, in some cases, are partially written. They should add up fast.

I also plan to start working on a new fantasy series this year, probably for publication in early 2024. That series will not be serialized.

I have two stories that need new covers, new back matter, and uploaded for wide distribution (they’re currently only on Amazon because they went up when things really went to pieces thanks to the cataract).

How do I produce this much work?

The serials are reasonably easy. I can work on one to get ahead by about four weeks, then let it rest. I’m finding that for those stories, that seems to be the best pacing. Once they’re completed, I can let them sit before editing for publication. The Vella stories have to sit for 30 days after the last episode before I can publish them, anyway.

I have the following categories in my monthly record: Drafting (composition), Editing (both for myself and others), Production (covers, interiors, and these days the promotion stuff), and Worldbuilding. Drafting gets three months per story, but that’s easily flexed. Editing is a one month thing, and reflects only my work, not waiting for others. Production gets one month. Worldbuilding gets three months, whether I need it or not (part of that flex strategy).

Basically, the longer parts of the process (drafting and worldbuilding) get more time than the others. And with the serials, I can write ahead, then turn my attention to other things.

So, roughly, this is the plan for this year and what I’ll be putting out:

February 7, 2023: A Different Life: Now. Always. Forever. (Martiniere Multiverse series, A Different Life subseries. Near-future agripunk SF with romantic elements and a HEA).

March 7, 2023: Reissue wide (and in paperback) of Beating the Apocalypse. Cozy apocalypse with hopepunk elements.

April 4, 2023: Reissue wide (maybe paperback, depends on length) of Bearing Witness (Vortex Worlds series, Weird West multiverse novella).

By May, I hope to be caught up with paperback reissues in the Netwalk Sequence series and Becoming Solo. If not, that will happen in May.

June 6, 2023: Federation Cowboy wide ebook and possible paperback release (Standalone, space opera)

August 1, 2023: Into the Vortex (Vortex Worlds, release very tentative, Weird West multiverse).

Honestly, after June, there’s a lot of tentative stuff going on. But that’s the way I plan.

Feel free to ask me any questions about this process!

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