This post is a speculative autobiography. Which is really just to say, I want to talk about 2016. I don't have resolutions, exactly, in the usual sense. But I have plans, and I want to be organized about those plans at the outset. So, here is a speculative account of what will happen in 2016 if everything goes the way I want:
1. I will be organized about my writing.
I may not hew to a strict schedule, but I want to find ways to encourage myself to avoid the bursts and burnouts that have been characteristic of my process in the past. I know that I can sustain a prolonged period of disciplined writing -- I did that for about half of 2015, and came out 60,000 to 70,000 words richer than in a typical year for it. What I need to add to that discipline is organization.
So, for the first time ever, I'm tracking my daily word counts, which will allow me to record when my bursts and my burnouts happen and better diagnose and manage my writing troubles. What are my most productive months, and why? How can I replicate those conditions the rest of the time?
And, as much as anything else, I will be able to see exactly how much I produce. I won't need to guess at "60,000 to 70,000 words." I'll know. And that knowledge will be a motivator.
(This kind of tracking has already increased the amount that I read, so I'm excited to see what it does for my writing; since starting to track my reading on Goodreads, I've read more books each successive year, in part because I feel an intense sense of competition with my past self.)
2. I will finish the first draft of My Many Bodies
My more than half-finished new novel about the life of a woman who taps into the chaotic potential of butterfly wings to travel through time and prevent the country's most devastating natural disasters WILL make it into the revision phase. This can, realistically, happen in the first half of the year.
3. I will finish or near completion of my current draft of The Wall
My loooong gestating portal fantasy (now more than 12 years since conception), the first in what I am currently thinking of as the Child of Two Worlds Saga, will stop gestating. I've found countless reasons to put this project off over the years, but have never lost my interest or passion for it. It's high time I put it back on the production line.
4. I will finish and enter into the sub-cycle 5-6 new short stories
The first of these, tentatively titled The Fisherman and the Trout (not a title I'm wild about) is already in process and should be out to my beta readers by the middle of January. For the rest, I have options: a Dracula story I've put off writing for years out of fear that I couldn't do it justice, a complete re-write on an expatriate haunting I wrote when I was a less experienced artist, a werewolf project called Dog Years I've been sitting on while I finish other things, a story called The Night of Swords which was conceived and outlined based entirely on tarot readings, a surrealist crime story about an absurd parallel California, a story about art, mythology, and obsession titled The Minotaur... So, yeah. I have options.
5. I will be attentive to the website
You may have noticed the redesign that went live a couple of days ago. Along with that, I took all the pages that were "under construction" and I constructed them. These pages are, to some extent, organized archives of the blog, but I see that as a useful and low-maintanance use of my money. I will blog at least once weekly. I will announce my hiatuses. And, since I'm tracking my writing, I will be able to post monthly updates on my work.
6. I will take over the universe
I will do this with the assistance of a very important -- nay, irreplaceable -- accomplice. I won't say anything else about it yet. You'll just have to wait and see.