Goals and Weird Books

Once more, my thoughts are turning toward my goals, evaluating how I did in accomplishing my goals for 2009, and what goals I'll set for 2010. Dean Wesley Smith, the science fiction novelist whose blog I've been reading regularly of late, has momentarily paused his Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing series of posts (that link will take you to a post containing links to all his posts on this subject thus far) to launch into a series on motivation and goal setting. Thus far, he's written two posts on the subject: Motivation #1 and Motivation #2.

I'm not going to blog about my goals just yet — I do want to read what Smith has to say about goal setting first — but, nonetheless, my thoughts have already begun to give some form to the goals I want to set for myself for next year.

Smith's Motivation #2 post makes an important observation. When writing — assuming that you compose at a keyboard and that you do your first drafts in proper manuscript format — most people take 15-30 minutes to write each page. (I'm in the range of 15-20 minutes.) One manuscript page, properly formatted, is 250 words. A modern novel is about 90,000 words. Thus, if one were to write just one page per day, 250 words in 15 minutes' time, then one could write a novel in no less than 360 days. Less than a year. Expand your writing time to half-an-hour, and one could produce that 90,000 word novel in 180 days. One novel in a year, with half the year off. The point of this idea being, life happens. You want to take a vacation, even from writing. There's an illness in the family, and you don't even have to be the one who is sick. You have children. No matter what your situation, life happens, and you can't always write every day. However, if you can spare half-an-hour each day to write just two pages, you'll complete your novel in six months' time.

This is an issue that I've already given thought to, even prior to having read Smith's most recent post. Thus far, I've never achieved the word count goal I've set for myself each year. Weeks ago I decided to set a goal for my word count that would be more ambitious, and yet would allow life to happen. At the moment, I'm unemployed, so I've lots of time to devote to my writing and to reading. When I find a job, however, I'll lose 8 hours of my day, plus commute time. So, I want my goal to be something that is both ambitious, and yet which doesn't feel like it is out of reach. I want it to be something that not only feels achievable, but also something that I can smash with abandon if I achieve my daily goals consistently. I keep using the word "ambitious," because I want you to understand that this does not involve lowering my expectations. On the contrary. My intention is to raise my expectations, but to do so reasonably, and then aim to exceed them.

I've mentioned before that my favourite place to look for out-of-print and hard to find books is at AbeBooks.com®. One of the more stimulating and humourous aspects of AbeBooks is their Weird Book Room, where you can find the strangest titles published. Here's a brief list, to give you an idea of the nuttiness that abounds in the world of weird books:

These are just a few of the titles to be found in AbeBooks's Weird Book Room.

0 comment(s):

Post a Comment