Last year, I had two fairly simple goals for my fiction writing: (1) write 500 words each day; and (2) concentrate entirely on short fiction. I certainly managed to achieve the second goal, but I was very, very far from achieving the first. Still, I had my best year ever in 2012, in terms of store sales. I have no less than seven things coming out this year. These pieces, half fiction and half nonfiction will appear in places like Analog and Lightspeed and the Beyond the Sun original anthology. In addition, I sold a story to Daily Science Fiction in 2012. That makes this paragraph from last year’s goals a resounding success:
Sell a story to each of the following places: Analog, Asimov’s Lightspeed, Daily SF. For Analog, it would be my second story sale. For each of the others, it would be my first. I’d like to be the kind of short fiction writer who can sell to a variety of markets.
I didn’t sell a story to Asimov’s but neither did a submit a story to Asimov’s in 2012.
Still, that paragraph represented ideals, not goals. And this year, I feel like my goals are shifting a bit. With the small successes that I’ve had in the last year, my concentration is shifting from attempting to sell stories to various places, to getting back to having a good old time writing them. That sometimes gets lost in the process. I, for one, can get easily distracted by the numbers: happy when I beat my goal of 500 words a day, and very disappointed when I don’t. Over time, this has the effect of making writing about meeting arbitrary numbers, instead of the reason I got into writing in the first place: because I love telling stories.
So this year, my goals are a little different and a little more difficult to measure. My primary goal for 2013 is to have fun writing stories. I want to get back that feeling of joy putting stories together. I want that thrill I get when I story takes a turn that I didn’t expect it to take, or where the ending comes together in some unexpected way. For a while, I worried that the types of stories I wanted to tell were not really the types of stories that readers wanted to read or editors wanted to buy any more. I like those old-fashioned science fiction stories, stories that bring me, as a writer at least, a sense of wonder.
I’m no longer worried about that. In 2013, my focus will be on writing short fiction that I enjoy. I’ll send it out, as always, and maybe I’ll even sell a few stories. But the stories that I write this year are going to be the kind of stories that I most enjoy reading. More than ever I am convinced that I am a short fiction writer. Any interest I had in writing novels–regardless of my lack of talent in that direction–has waned completely.
My fiction-writing goal for 2013 is simply to have as good a time writing stories as I can possibly have. I’m not going to set any benchmarks, I’m going to try not worrying about the numbers. If I manage to have a good time producing one story this year, I’ll have met my goal. Because, when I get right down to it, I write these stories for me first. I love writing science fiction. I love the short fiction form.
In 2013 I plan to have a blast doing what I love.