I read Dean Wesley Smith quite a bit. His is one of the few blogs I follow that dissents from much of what I hear in the publishing industry. He is one of the few people who says (shouts really) that if you are going to be traditionally published, ignore agents and get a lawyer. He says to go directly to the publishers, don’t worry about promotion, just write books and get them out there, don’t worry about editing, just write well, don’t worry about cover art, make your own.
Those are some strong opinions that would, and I’m pretty sure do, ruffle the feathers of a lot of people, but it’s good to have an opinion that balances out the rest.
But one of my favorite topics he covers is how to write as much as you want and produce content. He talks about making yearly goals, whether by amount of stories or words, and he isn’t afraid to make them too high and fail. He advocates above all else, making sure that a writer writes.
I actually want to do a post on some of the things I’ve read over the past few months, but that’s not the point. The point is that I’m trying to take that advice to heart. For a long time I treated writing like it was synthesizing some rare element. I have no idea how to do that, it just sounds really, really hard and time consuming. And in a way, that’s how I saw writing. It was high science or mystical art, like chemistry or alchemy, but I had no idea what went into it. And it’s not. There are a lot of things difficult about writing, but putting words on paper should not be one of them. Nothing is going to blow up in your face. You’re not going to rip a tear in the universe with your bad writing and release the Outsider’s horde into our realm.
Actually, that’s a pretty good story idea.
Anyway, part of my yearly goal will be producing short stories. I’ve gone back and forth over how many I want to do. I was thinking 12-24 for the year, or 1-2 a month. I thought 24 a month was too much, but I’ve just finished the first draft of one short story and it took two days. It’s only 2000 words and needs quite a bit of fleshing out, but I think it’s a weekend of work tops so I think I’m swinging toward that 24 number.
There is a quote (I might have used it before, I apologize) by Michelangelo that goes:
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss it, but we aim too low and reach it.”
I’m shooting for first and second novel completed and beginning whatever publishing process I choose, starting the third, and twenty four short stories this year. I am shooting for a word goal of about 250,000 words (that’s the word count Mr. Smith used in . This could be too high, or it could be too low. I will adjust accordingly next but for now I don’t know. What I do know, is that if I fail half of it, I will have written a lot.
What I am also going to be looking at (part of that whole getting published thing) what markets are out there for short stories in particular. I am leaning toward self publishing for the novel, but just about everyone seems to agree that short stories can and should be published traditionally. Anything I find will be published in its own category up at the top. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has a link that shows a list like that but it is filled with broken links and outdated publications.