The first week after NaNoWriMo I had to force myself not to write a new story draft because it had become such a habit. The second week it was kind of a relief not to have to write anything, and that terrible story had finally left my brain. In the third week I was anxious to get back to planning or writing something, lest I fall into a not-writing habit. Then came the holidays and the end of the year, and I predictably fell out of the writing habit.
Now it’s the beginning of a new year and a chance to start anew.
But first, a year-end wrap-up of 2013. In 2012, I was convinced that I could write three first draft manuscripts a year and had a schedule laid out to do just that. It started out great when I hammered out the Sovereign of Tel at the beginning of 2012. Then along came Curses which I abandoned. Then along came Airworld which dragged and dragged. Then NaNoWriMo came around and I kept working on Airworld. Then 2013 came around, and I was supposed to start a new manuscript, but I just kept stubbornly plugging away at Airworld until I finally gave up long after I should have. Then I started and abandoned a couple of drafts. Then I wrote something vaguely resembling a manuscript for NaNoWriMo 2013. To make a long story short, I wrote 1.5 manuscripts in 2012 and 1.5 manuscripts in 2013, for a grand total of one potentially usable manuscript over two years (The Sovereign of Tel).
Okay, not the greatest two-year cycle ever. The sure-fire "become a best-selling author" retirement plan is looking a bit grim right now. Particularly since I have yet to come up with a single thing to send to an agent.
That seems like a problem. I’m never going to get anywhere if I keep writing first drafts. At some point I’ll need to polish something and send it out. And hey, guess what? I have a bunch of first drafts I can polish.
So that’s what 2014 will be: The year of polish.
Yet I cannot stop writing first drafts, either, so I should plan to keep writing those, or at least planning them. But perhaps three-a-year is a little ambitious. Perhaps this year I will plan to write one or two first drafts, while the rest of my time is spent revising at least two other manuscripts. (Probably Tel and Kubak Outpost.)
I also have an idea that I will pursue some freelance writing this year. The biggest problem with that is finding something that pays a meaningful amount of money without over-committing myself to writing, say, 25 blog posts a week. (That is a real number that I saw.) If I could pull in around $100 a week from freelance writing I would call that a success. That would be enough for me to think, "This might have a real chance of becoming a full-time income if I quit my day job."