Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

2010 Year in Review, Part 2

Statistics of GoalsWord Count

I’ve finally finished tallying all my numbers from last year. In some areas I’m pleased, in others…not so much. Some of my displeasure arises from the way I set my goals.

For example:

I exceeded my word count goal, reaching 174% of the objective.

This would suggest that I set my goal too low and need to increase it for 2011.

But if we discount everything I wrote except for fiction, I only reached 25% of my goal.

Yet – part of my 2010 goals were dedicated specifically to promotion of my book and trying to attract readers to my blog. So neither 174% of goal, nor 25% of goal, tell the whole picture.

I can break it down further:

I reached 91% of my word count goal in blog posts alone. And promotional guest blog posts and non-fiction articles I wrote consist of 59%. .

I would have liked to have written more fiction. I would have liked to have had more finished stories to submit. But I wasn’t specific enough when I set my goals last year. (See that post here.)

This year, I’ll create separate goals for each of these three categories of writing.

Days Written:

My goal was to write between 57% and 71% of the days of the year. (An increase over the 53% of the days I wrote in 2009.)

I wrote on 215 days of the year, or 59%.

I reached my goal, but it felt like an uphill battle most of the time.

I’m toying with the idea of trying to average 6 days a week of writing minus 10 Federal holidays. This would bring the “writing days of the year” down to 302, rather than 365.

Using that number, I would have attained my 71% goal. But: I haven’t decided if this is “cheating” or not. (What do you think?)

Short Fiction Stats

Completed Written: 3, but all were flash fiction

Incomplete: (Started in 2010) 0

Incomplete: (Started 2009 or earlier) 2

Completed Stories just sitting around doing nothing: 10 – this includes two stories which have been published and the rights reverted back to me.

Submissions Stats

Fiction Submissions: 11

Fiction Acceptances: 2, and I have 2 outstanding submissions.

So: 22% acceptances so far. This could rise to as much as 36% or dip as low as 18 % once the other markets respond.

In 2009 I submitted 25 times and had 5 sales, for 20% — roughly the same rate of acceptance. But I’d rather have more sales.

I didn’t actually set a goal for submissions in 2010, but I will for 2011.

Novel Stats

Revisions: 3/4 complete on 1
Completed: None
Started: Two
Queries: None, but did not intend to do so

For 2011, I’ll be setting a query submission goal.

Non-Fiction

3 articles written and 3 published

These aren’t counted in my submission statistics because they were guaranteed publication….but I’m not sure how to count them when I do my comparison at the end of this year. I might wind up adding them after all.

4 newsletter items written, 1 published – but the newsletter these were written for went belly up after my first article appeared.

These, too, aren’t counted in my submission stats for the same reason as the articles. Again, they might end up in the submissions spreadsheet, simply because record keeping will be easier.

Other Goals

I also wanted to:

1 – meet more people
2 – attend an additional convention
3 – do more readings

I managed to do all three, the first accomplished mostly by attaining the second two as I added Darkover attendance and readings at both the Constellation Book Store in October and the Library of Congress (with Ellen Kushner and Catherine Asaro!) in March.

I’d also intended to try two writing software programs (yWriter and Writer’s Dream Kit) and post reviews. I did try WDK, but didn’t write a review. Maybe I can find time for that in 2011.

This year, I intend to write more fiction — including finishing one of the novels I started in 2010 — and search for an agent. I’ll post official — well defined — goals later.

How did you do with your goals?

6 comments to 2010 Year in Review, Part 2

  • 🙂 My evals and goals are in the past 3-4 blog posts. (Tonight’s is just going to be the Arisia schedule and plugs.)

    I did not set word count goals for myself, though, because I knew I’d fall into the same problem you did. Between my jobs and blogs, I way out-worded myself than in fiction, that and the way I write fiction is that I overwrite and then cut a good 20% or more (usually more) for the 2nd full draft. Also, I do do tweaking editing to get me into the groove to write (despite what the pros, say, but I meet my fiction deadlines, damnit and I have yet *knocks wood* to find myself in writer’s block due to this habit. Usually it helps.. anyway, I digress) … So, I set project goals. Like a completed novel, or x completed short stories. It doesn’t matter how many words I do in a day; it matters if I get x projects done in a certain time.

    I know I write a minimum of 1000-2000 words a day (except Saturdays and holidays); it’s just that writing is as almost always more business and work… but it’s still writing, and I pretty much proof everything and evaluate each piece (even blog comments) to see if it’s as well written as I’m comfortable with based on the effort I want to put in.

    If I tried to break up all the writing I did into word counts for paid articles, blog posts, promotional, social upkeep, business emails, fiction/brainstorming/editing chat sessions, essays, critiques, etc., I am sure I would go crazy-beyond-recognition.

    In any case, my two cents is to make project based goals and try and meet those. I’ve found that very helpful and the better I set those each year, the happier I am with the results. 🙂 Good luck!

    • Hi Trish!

      I think it’s good to set project goals, but there’s no way I can give up my word count! =) I like seeing the numbers grow every day. Besides, I know if the numbers are growing, that I’m going to complete the project goals.

      But I realize, as you mention, that keeping track of all the words can be burdensome – which is why I definitely do not track “business” words (emails, other correspondence, comments, chats, etc.) Keeping track of that kind of spreadsheet would drive me crazy!

      I might think differently if I wrote full-time, as you do.

      Like you, I use editing (sometimes) to get me going in the next session…and I count those words, too. I use a change tracker on my software to keep track of the total word count so that I know what I started with and what I finished with so I can make the calculation. (Craziness, yes. Imagine what my spreadsheets used to look like when I kept track of ANTI-words, too…the words I deleted from my manuscripts!)

  • Sina Tielking

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post

  • plaid shirts

    Another one bites the dust…

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