Goals and Methods

Be stubborn about your goals, but flexible about your methods.It’s been an odd week of feeling under the weather and yet accomplishing one of my major goals of the year. Releasing The Builders–and watching it become the first of my books to hit a hot and trending list!–was more than a little exciting, and I’m sure helped the cold/flu symptoms I battled most of the week not completely tow me under.

Taking care of all the little details that go with a new release–updating my Goodreads page, my AUTHORSdb page, my authorgraph page, seeking out reviewers–it always takes more time than you expect. This weekend, then, we slid into the month of October, too, making me realize… I have three months before my next hard deadline. If I want to be absolutely sure to make that one, I need to put the third Red Slaves book on hold again, and at least get the draft of the new novella done. I don’t know what it is about Fire to Dragon, but the book has been stubbornly slow to reveal itself to me. On the other hand, when I started Dragon’s Pursuit yesterday… the words just flowed. I’m already over 2,000 words into the story. If I can just keep up the pace with 1,000 words per day, it will be done before the end of the month.

I’ll admit that releasing the novella before the novel may mean series readers face a spoiler or two in it, but really, telling Maxim’s story is helping me find my excitement about the Red Slaves universe again. Setting it in 2046 makes this story part scifi, projecting the kinds of tech my dragons might have to face and deal with. I even spent some time projecting population growth and socio-economic realities 30 years in the future. It’s odd to imagine I might be alive and an old woman to check my own prognostications at that point. I can see the draw of being a futurist. In fact, I was looking at an article from last year in which several of them prognosticate just ten years into the future, and their thoughts are helping push mine. As the author of that last piece points out:

And when culture does change, the precipitating events can be surprisingly random and small.

In fact, The Atlantic had a fascinating article about female futurists last year, which explored not only the impact of sexism in that field, but also the types of things traditionally old, white men like to prognosticate about–that leave out the changing social implications that impact women and minorities, and that push the boundaries on things people who are comfortable with their lives might speculate about (like living longer) as opposed to real resource issues that might come up should a city like Moscow actually hit 20 million inhabitants. The most interesting perspective is that people who are generally happy with the station they have achieved in life are more likely to project a positive future, while those who have seen the struggles inherent in our society are more likely to project dystopian futures.

It explains rather more than I’d considered.

And puts a different point on even the small cultural perspective shifts that come from moving around. Last week I read an on-point critique about living in Milwaukee that made me once again grateful that we’ve been able to shift our base of operations. Without opportunities, even the most talented can find the future bleak. Which brings me back around to the the quote that kicked off this post: I suspect my optimism has as much to do with my stubbornness as with any other characteristic or luck.

So, for goals for this round of the ROW80 challenge (which ends December 22), I’m considering the following:

  1. Complete draft of Dragon’s Pursuit, send it through edits, and have the final version ready to go for the January 4 publication date I’ve committed to.
  2. Complete draft of Fire to Dragon and send it for edits.
    1. If I’m really good, my stretch goal will be to publish this before the end of the year as well.
  3. Average at least 4,000 steps per day.
  4. Blog at least once per week.
  5. Begin to consider next year’s production schedule so I don’t end up with this kind of crush at the end of next year. 😀

For now, that’s more than plenty to be getting on with. For fellow authors who are interested in a supportive community pursuing public accountibility for goals, I highly recommend the ROW80 group, which has now moved its base of operations over to an open Facebook group. For the rest of you, I’ll be back next week with my progress update.

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