Writing My Novel: Summer 2011 Goals

Goals in Writing MugI’ll be honest: I pretty much squandered May in terms of writing.  Having just finished a really hectic semester at work (that also included taking my first Ph.D.-level course), I was more than a little burned out on writing.

It was an excuse—still is, actually—but I honestly didn’t have my head in the game and was barely productive.

To be honest, I squandered May. I had a good time, and I honestly needed the break, which is why I’m not beating myself up about it.  I just realize now that it’s time to get back to work, to treat writing like a job.

It was like when June 1 rolled around, though, it was like the calendar jumped right off my wall and slapped me in the face.  I realized that my time was limited, and that if I really intended to have a polished draft of the novel to beta readers by the end of summer–much less a drafted sequel–I had to really step it up.

So I sat down and figured out exactly how many days I have until I go back to school and worked out my schedule for the rest of the summer.

Right now, last summer’s manuscript is sitting at 29 chapters, or ~86,000 words.   If I can get through one chapter a day, I can be finished with the revisions by the end of this month, which means that once I start working on the sequel in July, I can finish the first draft of it just after the semester starts.  That is, if I can then stick to last year’s quota (writing 2,000 words per day or 10,000 total words per week—and just doing it M-F, unless there are special circumstances) for the duration of July and August.

It’s going to require massive amounts of self-discipline, but I know that last summer was great.  I loved last summer, almost everything about it.  I woke up, wrote, went to the track, watched some TV, wrote, spent time with my family, read, and wrote.  It was glorious.

And I started from the beginning of May last year.  Oh well.  The only thing that my starting in June cuts out is my plan to write and polish some new short stories.  That was the side-project, anyway.  I still have the time to get the main stuff done.

As of right now, my summer 2011 goals look like this:

  • Revise Birthright (working title): Approximately 71k words left to get through, not including any additions I have to make.  If things go well, I hope to be able to upload it to Kindle by November or mid-December at the latest.  We’ll see.  Is self-publishing really the way to go?  I still think so.
  • Write the sequel, Blood Rites (working title): Based on last summer, I have an 85k baseline goal for this novel, but it may be longer or shorter than that.  Most likely longer, if the revisions to Birthright are any indication.

Now, these are only short term goals.  I have much longer-term goals in my mind, and even some short term ones that are no longer applicable (regarding my short stories and such), but my focus for the next three months is going to be on these two.

Do you have any specific writing goals you’re working toward, either short term or long term?

By B.J. Keeton

B.J. KEETON is a writer, teacher, and runner. When he isn't trying to think of a way to trick Fox into putting Firefly back on the air, he is either writing science fiction, watching an obscene amount of genre television, or looking for new ways to integrate fitness into his geektastic lifestyle. He is also the author of BIRTHRIGHT and co-author of NIMBUS. Both books are available for Amazon Kindle.


    1. It certainly is. Thanks for the support. I hit over the halfway mark today by finishing revisions on chapter 16 (out of 30). Not too long until I can get this to beta readers.

  1. Good for you, it’s great that you are starting with goals…this is where many writers fail they take it as a hobby. good luck to u i’m sure that you will do great

    1. Yeah, one of my main motivations about writing is that I don’t want it to be just a hobby, so I can’t treat it like one. I want to make my living from doing this eventually, so I have to act like I’m doing that right now. It’s tough, but when I can write in the summer like this, I’m more fulfilled than ever.

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