A Look Back at 2012

image002At the start of 2012, I did a post about My Goals for 2012. Before I do the same for 2013, I wanted to look at how I did last year.

Make Better Use of My Time

Well, I don’t think I did very well with this. I got some projects done, but I didn’t get as much done as I could have. I have an excuse for the first couple of months: I slipped on some ice and cracked a bone in my arm and a rib. That slowed me down for a while.

I said I would set deadlines, but didn’t. I did shift my focus from short quick projects to longer projects. I got several started, but some of them are not finished yet, so I look less productive than I was.

I read more this year. Forty-four books in total. That took up my time, but Pierre Berton’s advice is “read, read, read, write, write, write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite”, so it wasn’t time wasted.

Contingency

I completed Contingency and got it into the Hundred Dollar Film Festival. It won the best of Alberta award. That was very gratifying.

Somedays . . .

I wasn’t happy with the version I finished earlier in the year, so I pulled it out of the Hundred Dollar Film Festival. I reshot it later in the year. The new version was much better, so, if it gets accepted, it will be ready for next years festival.

My Most Difficult Case

I set a deadline of April 1 for this project. I didn’t do anything on in 2012. Next year. For sure. Really. I mean it this time.

The Crying Lady

I planned to use Xtranormal to turn the short story into a film. I never started on it, but I did use Xtranormal to make Make ’ em Squirm: The Sharkbiter Way. I found that a valuable step toward a longer project.

Transportation Planning Story (Novelette)

I wanted to write a novelette based on one or another of my transportation stories. I made some more notes about ideas and developed the story a bit, but didn’t get to any actual writing.

I did start three stories I hope will develop into novelettes. I based Bright Freedom on one of the feature scripts I wrote in 2011. I got a first draft done, which was mostly a direct conversion of the script into prose form. I cut out some material and added some as well. I restructured it a bit. I left it for a while to work on other projects before I did a second draft. It is still on hold. The first draft came in at 17,400 words.

I worked on two other novelettes. Both were science fiction stories. Felix is about an expedition to Mars to search for a lost robot rover. The idea came from an H. P. Lovecraft story. I have about half of the first draft done. It looks like done the first draft will be less than 8,000 words.

Heat Wave is the story of a scientist who runs into resistance to his research. I met a researcher several years ago who told me about their experiences, which gave me the idea for the story. The story also incorporates some of my own experiences. It looks like it will end up about 10,000 words.

I did some research into the market for science fiction stories. It looks like there are quite a large number of magazines that publish science fiction. Some don’t pay very much.

One magazine has a long list of clichéd stories they won’t publish. Unfortunately, Heat Wave is similar to one they list. I could fix that with a different ending, but the ending was the point of the story. I plan to finish the story the way I planned, and then see how people react to it.

I wrote a shorter science fiction story, Pete’s Plan, which I submitted to a couple of the magazines. Both rejected it, but there are many more to try yet. I rewrote it after the first rejection, and I plan another rewrite before I resubmit it to another magazine.

The Unexpected

Several of my projects this year were not planned. That included Make ’ em Squirm: The Sharkbiter Way, as well as the short stories and novelettes I worked on.

Blog

My 2012 goal was to post at least one blog post a week. I did 58 posts. I did miss a couple weeks because of my accident. I didn’t had as many visits to my blog in 2012, but that may be partly due to changes in the way visits were counted.

My Goals for 2013

Next week I’ll do a new set of goals for 2013.

2 Comments

  1. Too bad you didn’t set deadlines. I think discipline is a great tool to shape your work. Anyways, nice read.

    • Hi Carciel,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I have tried deadlines in the past, and set some for 2012, but I don’t find them useful.

      First off, when I set my own deadlines, they aren’t really deadlines. If something comes up, or I run into a snag, I ignore the deadline. I do find that if I have an imposed deadline, like a submission date for a film festival, then that is a motivator.

      Secondly, I find it difficult to be creative when I have a deadline. For some kind of work, that isn’t a problem, but for creative work, it just stifles me. I find I shift to a more mechanical approach to my writing, which is often too mechanical to start with. When I do that, I find what I produce is just bad and I can’t use it. Most of my good work grew at its own pace in its own time. I can’t really force it.

      The approach that I do think works is to have a set routine for my work. Many writers set aside a specific time each day to write. It doesn’t need to be very much time; Three to six hours would be plenty. Even an hour a day would help. If I stick to that kind of routine, then I can be more productive. The challenge is that it can be difficult to maintain that routine. The Internet and “life” always provide distractions.

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