New plan! Same as the old plan! But different! HELLO 2016 – 2017, I IZ HERE!
*does a dance*
*pines for youth*
I think in tax years now. It’s a filthy habit that makes me shrivel up a bit at my pretension, but there it is. I started to do this dirty thing when I decided that being a writer should be treated as a proper business, back in the dim and distant past (2011, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth like mighty kings), and businesses sync to tax years. That makes today the last day of the year, and tomorrow the start of a new one.
Because you come here all the time, looking through my metaphorical sock drawers for things that you know would only frighten and disgust you if you actually found them, you’re already aware that my ‘business’ has lain fallow for the last year. The last eighteen months, actually. I have been in hibernation, like a tiny writing dormouse or a particularly erudite bear. At first the hibernation worried me, because I hadn’t planned it and had buried no nuts. Then I sort of accepted it and survived off my own stores of body fat. Now, a year and a half later, I have started to wake.
Of course, the first thing I see is the bleak horror of my own strained hibernation metaphor. Nobody should wake up to a strained metaphor, particularly one of their own devising.
This is the worst wakening ever.
The last time I had a plan the vague idea was to try to turn writing into a full time career. It didn’t work. I’m not that kind of writer. I’m rubbish at the self-promotion, for a start.
“Buy my book! It’s quite good! Well I like it anyway! Probably not your sort of thing though! Sorry to have bothered you! Forget I mentioned it!”
According to the big book of authoring, post-millennial edition, being a successful writer is mostly about the shouting. Until such time as I can afford professional shouters to stand outside the windows of all the readers and do the shouting for me, possibly ringing a bell and wearing a tricorn hat like in days of old, that’s not really going to happen. I can’t personally aspire to much more than embarrassed whispering.
But that doesn’t mean writing stops being a business, at least for me. I like that it’s a business. It gives me structure around which to be creative. Without structure, creatively, I have a tendency to flop in on myself like a person made of jelly left too long out of the fridge. Plans are by no means necessary if you want to write. It’s not a rule. It’s just something that helps me, and gives the effort a bit of direction. Your mileage may vary. It probably should.
So I have a new plan! It is a five year plan. It has an end point, but I’ll save that for another time. It has a start point, which is now. Year one is as simple as it gets – break even. Earn more than I pay out. I was regularly doing that before, but having taken my off the ball things have suffered in the last year. Books have sold – because some people will always find the books they want to read even when you don’t shout at them – but in dribbles over twelve months. My only writing expenses have been the hosting of this website and a couple of bits of software, yet I didn’t break even last year. So, a little bit of a reset for year one. I don’t need to turn a profit, but not making a loss would be good. That will at least make it a hobby which pays for itself again, and if I can maintain that then all will be good with the world.
So there is a structure and a fairly modest aim. A dribble of income should keep coming from the books I’ve self-published. My first goal of the year is to write some short stories in April and May for submission to magazines and anthologies. If I can sell one or two of those by the end of the year then that’s a little more in the pot (I also just fancy writing some short stories, and a plan is rubbish if it doesn’t let me do the things that I want to do). After that, I’ll finish and release the last of the Lomax Chronicles, then there’s a mostly complete novel to polish off. If I can get those things done, and break even in the process, it will be a good year.
The first short story is probably called ‘ISM’, and probably has a dog called Whoopi in it. There are several other words in it, some of which I have already written down.
And we’re off.