The Year of Hard Work: the end

Well, I started my Year Of Hard Work this time last year, pre-NaNo 2015. It doesn’t feel as if a year’s passed, but…welp, guess it has!

Green Sky Writing

My original plan was focused around the GreenSky series; I wanted to get Books 5, 8, 9 and 10 finished, and then by NaNo 2016 have the novels planned and write the first.

Well, I screwed that up during NaNo 2015 by finishing Books 8 and 9! I was then focused on finishing the series and plotting the novels. That got pushed back again at Easter, mostly due to Empty Skies rewrites (but hey, at least Book 5 got finished). I tried to kick-start it again at the start of Summer, failed, and haven’t managed anything much since. That said, I have roughly plotted out the three novels, provisionally titled the “Three R’s”. So not too bad!

So…my aim for the rest of the GreenSky series is twofold; get the novellas finished and edited, and plot and write (at some point) the novels. I’m also still writing short stories in the GreenSky world, which is fun.

Other Writing

My original plan was to look over Shadows in the Light and Ghosts in the Fog, and keep working on short stories. At Easter, I added the goal of having six short stories published this year, and I’m currently on four! Two are GreenSky and two are set in the world of No Man’s Land.

‘Bluesky’ and ‘No Man’s Sky’ – now No Man’s Land and No Man’s Stars – made an appearance at the start of summer. I promptly got sucked into No Man’s Land and I’m 2/3 of the way through No Man’s Sky, with No Man’s Stars being plotted for NaNoWriMo 2016.

Shadows hasn’t got any further; I was wondering about doing work on this at Christmas, but I’m still mulling over possibilities. The third book in the series has been roughly plotted too, and has gained the working title of “Hunter in the Dark”.

The Wider World

I had three aims in my first post; get more involved on social media, do more with  Swindon FreeWriters, and get more involved with Grimbold Books.

By Easter, I was doing pretty well. I’d gotten up to 300 followers on Twitter and got my own author page on Facebook. SFW always takes a while to get going after Christmas, but Grimbold was definitely going strong – I’d gotten roped into helping read submissions, which was amazing, and helping with editing.

And now? I’m up to 600 followers on Twitter and trying to use my Facebook page more. I’m just taking it slow and trying to be me – hopefully interesting! I’m editing four books for Grimbold, including an anthology, and generally getting myself involved. It’s fun!

Writing Audit

Word count…uh. Lemme go count.

Lots. Will that do?

When I checked in October last year, I’d written over 654,000 words over two years.

Well, I’ve done nothing more on Shadows, but Dresden had one long story (42,000 words) and several shorter ones (probably about 15,000 words in total, possibly more). GreenSky has had Book 5 finished (10k words), Books 8 and 9 finished (40k each) and Book 10 part-done (5000 words), plus a rewrite of Book 5 (20,000 words), totalling 115,000 words.

I’ve done 70,000 words on No Man’s Land and 50,000 on No Man’s Sky. I’ve done about 5000 words of erotica and 14 finished short stories at about 5000 words each, so that’s another 70,000 words, plus let’s say 8 unfinished stories at about 1000 words each…

So that’s another 203,000 words plus GreenSky’s 115,000 and Dresden’s 57,000…that’s 375,000 since October 2015. And that’s a conservative estimate, as I suspect some of the totals are less than the actual story lengths or I’ve forgotten things…

I was aiming for 100,000, and I’ve done at least 375,000 words in a year.

Booyah!

The Result

So…what have I learned?

  • If you’re interested in something, throw the ‘should’ out the window and write the thing occupying your brain. It’s how I ended up with No Man’s Land!
  • Keep working on short stories. I pick anthology calls that inspired me as that seems to make me write stories (instead of random snippets), and I’ve been checking for them every fortnight or so. I’ve ended up with a number of short stories on the go as well as my completed ones, and it’s been a good challenge to get better at them.
  • I can’t predict what I want to work on…I didn’t expect to start an entirely new series of novels or get one finished and the second half-done in a few months! That said, not planning seems to work pretty well for me as long as I just keep writing.
  • I write stupid numbers of words without really thinking about it. I just keep writing the stuff that interests me!

I’m not going to bother doing another official Year Of Anything, or keep track of my word count – it’s not that interesting or useful to me beyond an “oh that’s cool” stat. I’m happy writing what I want to write, and working on what I want to do; it’s the method that works best for me.

So for the next year, I’m just going to keep going and keep writing!