Back on January 17th of last year, I listed some goals I wanted to achieve in 2021. Let’s see how I did.
- Finish my second steampunk screenplay. This includes making changes based on the feedback from my critique group. This will still be a vomit draft in the range of 200 pages. I won’t make any big rewrites until after I finish the first draft. I finished half this goal. I finished the screen the screenplay, actually on January 1st, and I’ve gotten feedback from one of my critique groups. The first “vomit” draft is 176 pages, which is an improvement over the first draft of my first steampunk screenplay, which was 199 pages. So I feel that I have learned to write more concisely. Ideally, a script should be 120 pages long. My first one is 143. I tend to write long, which is why I don’t really do short stories.
- Edit my first steampunk novel. Again, I’m making some changes as my critique group reads through it, but the really big changes won’t come until they finish it and can give me feedback on it as a whole. I completed about 90% of this goal. I edited through the whole thing, now I’m just polishing it. Let me explain what that entails. One of the pieces of advice I keep hearing in GLAWS is to read your work out loud. Your brain processes things differently when you read something to yourself and when read it out loud. When you read it to yourself, your brain skips over awkward wording and just picks up the meaning. Also, if you’re reading your own work, you already know what you are trying to say. But when you read it out loud, your brain has to vocalize it and that’s when you catch awkward words, phrasing and misplaced words. So, what I do is I have my wife read it out loud and I follow along and make notes on a hard copy. This is more line editing than any major story changes but it’s surprising what you catch even after you’ve already gone over it a hundred times.
- Get a ProCritique on both in February. This will lead to even more rewrites on both. This will probably overlap with #1 and #2. Again, I accomplished half this goal and got a ProCritique for my novel. This consisted of a professional editor looking over the first twenty pages and giving notes.
- Once I’ve done everything I can with my novel, it’s time to hire a professional editor. I’m hoping sometime between March and June. Not done. Like I said, my novel is 90% ready. And because of financial strains this past year, I haven’t been able to save up to do this.
- Pitch my first novel to agents at the August Writer’s Conference. I hope to be ready by then. If I do get an agent, then everything could change depending on how much he needs me to work with him, work on my novel from his suggestions, and how much I have to do to promote my novel before publication. The work doesn’t stop once you get an agent. Not done. This will be one of my goals for next year.
- Write my second steampunk novel. I’m shooting for approximately 100,000 words. At 3,000 words a week, that should take me about 34 weeks. So, if I start in May, I should finish by the end of the year. Not done. Another goal for next year. But now I know I can write a novel from a screenplay in a year, and hopefully, I will now be more efficient at it.
- I should add keeping up with my two critique groups, which means reading and critiquing everyone else’s work. Done, and it will be a goal again this year.
- Read a book a month. I’m really behind in my reading. And one of the best ways to become a good writer is to read good books. Also, there are books you read for education, in my case, learning about Victorian England. Okay, fail. I haven’t finished a book since I made this list. But I will renew my efforts for next year.
- I also want to keep up on my comic books. I don’t even collect that many. I was good up until two months ago, so 83% done.
- And finally, on a personal note, I’d like to try at least one new recipe a month. Cooking is a hobby of mine, and I’ve been doing pretty good so far since the lockdown. I tried fifteen new recipes. So, it will be a goal of mine again this year. Kris is on a diet, so I have to keep that in mind. But she has been also trying new diet-conscious recipes on her own for her breakfasts and lunches.
- On April 17th I have an appointment to give blood at the American Red Cross. This will be pint 3 of 8 toward my 13th gallon. I was one donation short. I delayed one donation so that I could donate at my own blood drive at Loscon. Since the attendance was expected to be half of what it usually is, I wanted to make sure we reached our goal.
There were some unexpected issues that came up in 2021 that affected my ability to achieve some of these goals, but I am grateful for the ones I did accomplish. Now that I have a better idea of the challenges ahead, I will take them into consideration for this year.
I will probably also add a new goal or two of a self-care and spiritual nature. An overall goal is to be more well-rounded and improve in every aspect of life.
An important strategy in goal-setting is to break down large goals into small, measurable steps. So, I will include that in my goal setting as well.
Dennis Amador Cherry
95th blog completed.
First Steampunk novel: 72,197 words.
First Steampunk screenplay: Need to update with notes from the novelization.
Second Steampunk screenplay: 175 pages
Second Steampunk novel: 0 words.
Third Steampunk screenplay: 38 pages.
Goals for 2022!