How hard are the Three Rs?

A foggy evening 01

A foggy evening 01 (Photo credit: AnneCN)

Happy New Year to one and all whether ye be avid readers, passing travelers or fledgling writers like me. May 2013 be filled with purpose, inspiration, endeavor and fulfillment.

Before you delete this page as a return to school or education, please believe me that the Three Rs are notreading, writing and arithmetic’ but some profound observations – well at least my take on my plans for the year ahead, along with a glance at the twisting road traveled in 2012.

Hence the Three Rs become: reaching realistic resolutions. WARNING: I’ve never been much good at sticking to New Year Resolutions but here goes.

Published Novel:     In 2012 I managed to get Spiral of Hooves accepted by a US e-publisher, Spectacle Publishing Media Group and hopefully this year the novel will become readable by more than a handful of inspirational mentors. However my intent/resolution is to get at least one more novel published in 2013, possibly Wyrm Bait which is the most progressed. But that requires me to produce a draft that will lead to Resolutions 2, 3 and 4.

Beta Readers:     I realize that finding willing Readers for a Work In Progress is not easy, neither is learning to apply their constructive critiques wisely [ADVERB!!!]. I was lucky on Spiral of Hooves to have colleagues from the Tunbridge Wells Writers Circle who were willing to read the manuscript and make valuable comments. However I feel that I will have to cast my net wider [CLICHÉ!!!] for the next WIPs, in part because I need some comments from typical readers of the genre and of MMORPGs – the setting for much of Wyrm Bait. Once the manuscript is ready for constructive criticism, I will be making a plea for volunteers. Resolution 2 – find willing Beta Readers.

Editor:    Editing has to be both essential and tough. It is part frustrating slog and part chance to rediscover and remould the words. In 2012 – and before that – there were some days when I enjoyed editing but others when I got lost in the forest of errors and stragglers. I don’t expect that to change over-year. Once I have re-drafted a manuscript then I know that I will have to turn to a professional if the work is ever to be seen by the buying audience. I’m not sure where to look but I have some ideas, although money is an issue at this stage. So resolution 3 is to find an editor that is both constructively critical and sympathetic.

edit on the go

edit on the go (Photo credit: fensterbme)

Publisher:     When I have passed Resolutions 2 & 3 then I will have reach a firm decision on how I intend to get published. Back in 2011/2012 there were periods in which I seriously considered finding an agent and even compiled detailed lists of which ones to approach; list that I still have. Then I began to realize that I would need to travel to anyone that expressed interest and wanted a face-to-face interview/assessment. Being disabled in a wheelchair and restricted by my MS as to the where I go, that got ruled out. Or are there agents out there that will use online conferencing to assess clients? What about mainstream publishers? Can I tread a conventional route in my wheelchair? And then there is self-publishing, an option I considered pursuing when I got a winner’s prize from CreateSpace completing NaNoWriMo in 2011. Problem = money. Any spare would go to the editor, so then where? Resolution 4 is my Catch 22 – decide how to get published.

Final Drafts:     I need to ensure that I finish 2013 with at least two final drafts of my current WIPs, including whatever that publisher-ready novel. There needs to be something in the pipeline [CLICHÉ!!!] that takes the pressure off [CLICHÉ] when the publisher/readers/conscience tells me another creation needs to find a place on some other tables/hard-drives/e-readers/old-fashioned parchment or whatever. So Resolution 5 is produce at least TWO final drafts.

First Drafts:     When those final drafts are passed on to their next incarnation, it will be essential that some of the ideas that are churning around inside my head or gathering dust under my computer desk have become First Drafts = by the end of 2013. Mathematically, applying the arithmetic that I learnt decades ago, I know that if I keep subtracting 2 from 6 there will be zero. As I write this blog, I have six novels at various stages from Spiral of Hooves, which should be available soon as with e-publisher, to its sequel Tortuous Terrain, which is an outline idea with characters and opening scribbled in its own notebook awaiting more. In between are four WIPs all at least first draft so in theory I can relax for 2013 as far as creating more is concerned, concentrating on the editing. But that ignores the urge to created, to explore new ideas and the future … and NaNoWriMo 2013, which should yield another first draft. Resolution 6 – write two + more first drafts.

100k in 100 Days:    During November and NaNoWriMo my daily word count was between 1,750 and 2,500 words but that was a drain on the rest of my life. I need to have some realistic target and with the 100k in 100 days challenge I have a new target, one that might be achievable as it allows for more than just novel words. This Blog post counts and basically all but not the shopping list. As a result I will attempt to post more often during the challenge: This is my more leisurely version of NaNoWriMo, where you have from 1st January 2013 until 10th April 2013 in which to write 100k words. That’s just 1000 words a day. There are some, not very strict rules. See:  Resolution 7 is to write at least 1,000 words per day indefinitely.

Hard Read:    Reading has always been a part of my life but TV, gaming and writing have always proved to be distractions from this essential pastime. At the moment I am reading various crime/mystery/thrillers that I bought but there are books in my bookshelf that are definitely Fantasy plus ones that I never got round to reading after buying them second-hand to complete sets. One book usually takes 4- 6 weeks as I spend so much time on the computer, but I need to reduce the time online – delete more emails perhaps. Resolution 8 is read at least 12 books in 2013 and vary the genre so not boxing-in my mind.

MMORPG:    TV is no longer the escape nor cinema. When I can put the writing aside then I escape to another world. Playing games – MMORPGs ~ Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Games – with my wife is our wind-down even if we get frustrated sometimes. Unfortunately even restricting gaming time to evenings we have a variety-seeking habit of changing games after a while and I keep creating new characters. We were playing LOTRO – Lord of the Rings Online – but are now in SWTOR – Star Wars The Old Republic … and we met online in Perfect World. Resolution 9 is to reach the maximum level on at least one character in SWTOR by the Spring.


USA:     For those who hadn’t realized, my wife was born in the USA and her family are mostly in Idaho and Utah but it will be two years in April since we saw any of them. Although Juanita talks to her kids, her mum and an aunt on the phone that is not the same as physical contact. Money is tight but getting over to see at least some of them has to be the priority – after covering essentials on both sides of the Atlantic BUT before luxuries. So Resolution 10 should be No 1 as it’s getting over to the States and spending time with the family in 2013.

Looking back over this Blog post I realize that to earn my Writing Wings I need to focus and the Three Rs that I have to concentrate on should be: reading, research and writing.

Whatever your poison [CLICHÉ], good writing – The Silver Scribbler

6 thoughts on “How hard are the Three Rs?

  1. Just be careful a) not to take on so much you burnout and b) not to be hard on yourself if you can’t live up to your own intentions. However, I think what these kinds of lists *should* be thought of is “setting intentions,” which is very useful as a form of visualising one’s reality. Creative visualisation is crucial to success in one’s goals. Without it, I’m not sure we accomplish much, to be honest; I know I don’t. Best wishes!


    • I should have replied in January last year, but I had too much going on, as you warned, Alison. However, assessing what I have achieved in 2013, most of my ‘list’ has been achieved: published novel, beta readers, editor and… well the WIP is still the same one and the word count is erratic. So not setting any targets for the Year of the Horse. Happy New Year, Alison and everyone else that reads this.


  2. Pingback: Baiting The Bull | Writing Wings

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