Hello and happy Wednesday!
Can you believe we’re six days into 2021 already? The entrance into the new year seemed to fly by for me, but I’m looking forward to another year of learning, growing – and writing!
The past two weeks, I’ve written about the writing projects I completed in 2020. On the list were pirate and fantasy novels, short stories about everything from a doll journeying to the Toymaker to a young man receiving a dragon for Christmas, and several drabbles; stories that only consist of a page or two. You can find the complete list here and here.
This week, I’m back with my writing goals for 2021! I have a lot of projects I’m hoping to outline, write, edit, and even publish this year, and today you get an insider’s look at them. I’d also like to hear about your writing goals for this year!
Publish Cabin Girl
This is first on the list because it’s my biggest goal for 2021! If you’ve been around my site before, or read some of my other posts, you’ve probably seen me mention my pirate novel, Cabin Girl. It’s far from my first story, but so far, it’s the one I’m proudest of.
Cabin Girl has been in the works since 2018, and has gone many, many edits and rewrites. It’s marked many firsts for me, including being my first ‘first-person’ story, my first pirate story, my first historical fiction, and – God willing – it’ll be my first published novel!
It’s a story heavily influenced by people and events in my life – although I’ve thankfully never been kidnapped by pirates or sold to Moroccan slavers – and it’s very near and dear to my heart.
I’ve talked before 1 about my struggles with perfectionism, and the thought of sharing something that means so much to me has been extremely intimidating. However, from the touching feedback I’ve received from the people I’ve let read it, and what I’ve been learning about how stories don’t have to be perfect to be worth sharing, I’m finally feeling peace – and excitement! – about sharing my ‘child’ with the general public.
Before publishing, I still have one last edit and a proofread to finish, a cover to finalize, formatting to muddle through, and some nitty-gritty details to nail down, but I’m striving to finish and launch the ebook and paperback versions on Amazon during the first quarter of 2021. It’s been a whirlwind of a journey so far, but I’m looking forward to sharing Cabin Girl with you.
Yes, another publishing goal!. Perhaps this is optimistic, as I have yet to publish the first one, but Gills is the prequel to Cabin Girl, and I think it would be neat to publish both somewhat close to one another. As a reader, I always prefer it if I don’t have to wait long for books in a series, and I don’t think I want to as a writer either.
It’s been fun to work on both novels at the same time. The freedom to tweak things that make both stories better has been wonderful, and seeing some of the character’s origins is neat, even though I did write them, haha. I’ve also gotten to include more trademark pirate escapades in Gills, so I don’t feel so bad about having to leave some out of Cabin Girl.
I have much more to do with Gills, as it’s still in the early rough stages, but because I’ve done all the research for Cabin Girl already, there are far fewer continuity and historical-accuracy things to fix. I’m hoping to complete another rewrite soon this year, and do some thorough edits with critiques I’ve received from early readers. If I am able to publish it this year, it’ll be during the second or third quarter of 2021.
Write 500,000 Fiction Words
Typing these words feels like admitting to insanity. When I set this goal, I didn’t stop to think about what it would take to actually achieve them. I just knew that writing 500,000 more words would get me to the 1,000,000 words of fiction some experts say is required to be considered ‘good’ at writing. It makes sense to me. By the time you’ve written one-million words, you’re bound to at least mostly know what you’re doing.
However, the other day I sat down and added up average wordcounts for the projects I plan to write…and they will get me slightly over halfway to my goal. So I guess my estimation skills aren’t great, haha.
That being said, even if it’s unlikely, I’m going to continue to write as though I will reach my goal, and just see what happens! To hit 500,000, I’d have to write about 1,370 words a day, or 9,615 words every week. In my attempt to do that, I’m hoping to…
Write 12 Short Stories & 3 Novels
This is my more realistic fiction goal. While reaching 500,000 words would be great, I’m going to aim for reaching my project-oriented goal, and see how far that takes me.
As I’ve mentioned the past couple of weeks, short stories have always been difficult for me. However, I’ve heard over and over how important they are when trying to improve writing skills, so I aim to write twelve of them this year; one for each month.
It’s not that I dislike writing short stories. It’s just that I struggle to come up with ideas that fit neatly into a shorter work. Over the past few months, I’ve been able to create some decent short stories though, and it’s been a fun way for me to test out different genres, writing styles, and plot ideas without committing to a full-length novel. I’d like to think they’re becoming easier for me, and I hope that continues as I work on them in 2021!
I also want to write three full-length novels this year. One in November, for my second year of NaNoWriMo 2, and the other two spaced around my work on Cabin Girl and Gills, earlier in the year. Ideally, I’d have them written by the end of August.
That being said, I’m still not sure which novels to write – and the problem isn’t that I don’t have story ideas. On the contrary, my current list of novel ideas contains about thirty that are pretty well-developed. My struggle is deciding which ones to focus on this year.
The top options right now are the following:
- Dreams of Snow (A fairy-tale retelling)
The Prince kisses a cursed and sleeping Snow White, but instead of waking her up, he falls asleep.
- Shattered (Dystopian/fantasy)
An entire world of people cannot be hurt physically, but literally shatter when hurt emotionally.
- Unchosen (Medieval fantasy/romance)
A spiteful princess despises her clueless betrothed, and in attempting to run away, finds herself stuck with him, discovering that love is much more than a feeling.
- House Divided (Civil War/historical fiction)
The daughter of a Southern plantation owner struggles to find her place among the division, as her family members fight on different sides.
- Dreamer (Fantasy)
A girl’s dreams turn to reality, and when they threaten to destroy everyone she loves, she must find the only one who knows how to control them.
I also have a fantasy novel about a cheerful amnesiac that needs a rewrite at some point, so maybe I’ll get to that as well… There just aren’t enough days in the year!
Write 2 Blog Posts a Week
On the non-fiction side of writing, I plan to continue posting here twice a week. Faith/reflection posts on Sundays, and writing posts on Wednesdays, with the occasional Friday post thrown in for things like guest-blogging, blog tags, and announcements.
Considering the length of most of my posts, and depending on how desperate I am by the end of 2021, I may decide to count the words from my blog posts and see how close I am to 500,000 then, haha. After all, non-fiction writing is writing too!
Obviously I don’t know what 2021 will hold any more than I knew what 2020 would, but God willing, you’ll continue to see me here every week. This blog has been a blessing to me in many ways, and I consider it a privilege to get to share my thoughts with you. I pray they’ve been a blessing to you too, even just for a smile, or a piece of timely writing advice.
I truly do cherish the opportunity to write – whether fiction or non-fiction – and to tell stories that I pray inspire, encourage, and otherwise positively impact others. With a mind buzzing with ideas and a heart full of gratitude, I look forward to another year filled with writing!
Well, those are my biggest writing goals for 2021! Did any of the story ideas interest you? Is there anything you’d like to read about here, on the blog? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
In addition, what are YOUR goals for 2021? Do you have writing aspirations, or is there something else you hope to accomplish this year? Chat with me in the comments below! I look forward to hearing from you!
1. My post about my struggles with perfectionism can be found here.
2. I talked about my first-ever NaNoWriMo experience here, here, here, and here.