Tag Archives: goals

Writing 2015, by the numbers


Happy New Year everyone! In the grand tradition of one year ago, I’m taking advantage of this time of transition to look back at my writing stats for 2015, and set some goals for 2016.

Writing Hours: My goal is to eventually get to the equivalent of one hour per workday, i.e. five hours a week, or 260 total hours for the year. It’s pretty challenging with full-time work, full-time relationship, new house with lots of things that need to be done, etc., but I still figure you get further with a goal you fall short on than with no goal at all. For 2014, I ended up with 65.75 hours, an average of 1.26 hours per week. So how’d I do in 2015? My records (maintained, of course, in Excel) show that I logged 70 hours. I am duty bound to report that 70 does not equal 260. But, hey, it was an increase! A 6.5% increase, to be exact. So even if I fall short of 260 in 2016 (very likely), this gives me something to beat!

Weekly submissions: I aim for a submission each week of poetry, fiction or nonfiction, which would come to 52 submissions a year. Of course, life intervenes, and some years it intervened quite badly. 2014 was my submitingest year ever, with 43 weekly submissions. No longer a record! In 2015 I did 44. Stats on the leader board at this moment in time are as follows:

statsWe’ll see how those “pending” submissions turn out. And of course, having done this, I now aim to get at least 45 submissions out in 2016!

Novel/Poetry Collection submissions: I try to get my unpublished novel Out in the Neon Night, and my poetry collection Pushing 40, out to contests and independent publishers once a month. Life, well, you know life… So, not quite 12 each this year, but I did submit the novel 7 times and the poetry collection 7 times. Several of those submissions are still pending, so I’ll keep you posted. In the mean time, you can read a chapter from the novel here, and several of the poems from the collection have been published over the last few years, and can be found at the Poetry section on this website.

As you may have detected above, I sometimes get frustrated by the limited time I have available for writing. Maybe you have a similar problem. It helps me (and maybe might help you too, who knows!) to remind myself what I have been able to do with those 70 hours:

  • Launch this website!
  • Get back into regular (semi-)weekly blogging through the website.
  • Complete the penultimate draft of my full-length screenplay, and start on the (please let it be so) final draft.
  • Produce a passel of new poems, and complete revisions on several in-process ones.
  • Brought a short story that I haven’t worked on for several years to workshop, and used the comments to start a revision on it.

My goals for 2016? How about:

  1. Finish that screenplay BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY and start sending it out into the world.
  2. Use the block of time that frees up to finish a first draft of a novel-in-process.
  3. Complete the short story revision mentioned above.
  4. Finish a new short story I’ve been working on.
  5. Use darkly bright and sparkly poet Kim Addonizio’s book Ordinary Genius to spur some new poetry.

So that’s my 2015 by the numbers, and some of my goals for the coming year. Tell me about yours!

What are you working on?


I try to hold a few blocks in my weekly schedule sacrosanct for writing. Between work, home life, and Mud Season Review editorial duties, it can be tough. Sometimes it ends up less sacro and more sanct. But it gives me some regularity, and a steadyish stream of writing throughput. So what am I working on with this time?

  • Blogging– My target is to post something once a week, and keep it to 500 words or so. I try to set aside Monday lunches for this, though, practically speaking, it can slip to some other weekday lunch as scheduling requires. This is going out on a Wednesday, for example. In any case, it’s going pretty well. You’re reading it now, aren’t you?
  • Poetry– Pervasively, there is something poetry-related I can be working on at any given time, so I reserve one lunch hour a week for this. At this given time, I have a handful of new poems from the last year that I’m working on revising, and a new poem that I accidentally wrote last week which I have to transcribe from my journal to a typed version. Most of my poetry is kind of accidental bolt-from-the-blue initially, and usually comes out longhand in first draft.
  •  Full-length Screenplay– The damned thing is untitled. I’ve been working on the damned thing for years. I currently have a block of a few evening hours a week I set aside for it. The good news is, there’s light at the end of the tunnel- I’m probably not going to make my target of getting to final draft by end of year, but early next is eminently achievable. I really love the damned thing, but it will be good to have it done. Then it can start going out to make its way in the world, and I can work on an unfinished novel and a short story idea or two that is rattling around.
  • The Unknown– These are my current projects. I have half-baked glimmers of inspiration on an ongoing basis, though. Most don’t pass the threshold to “I actually want to work on that.” But sometimes, without warning, something- an idea for a personal essay idea, a sestina, a short story, etc. will appear and say “You WILL work on me NOW!” I plead in vain about all the regularly-scheduled projects and the time they require, but there’s no reasoning with my Muse when she’s in that mood. So you never know what could be on the list next week…

How about you, fellow writers? I’d love to hear what you’re working on!