2018 wasn't a bad year for me as an author. I released three new novels (The Lawless Series, available here), a collection of novellas (Dragonsgate: Preludes & Omens), oversaw the release of five audio books (you can see all my titles here) and did eighteen conventions in four states. I also wrote three novellas and two short stories that went out free to readers of my newsletter. (See the header above for the sign up link.) Foolishly, I didn't write down anywhere how many newsletter subscribers I had at the beginning of the year, but I think I've added roughly 150 new subscribers. I've also released four of my titles in hardcover.
All and all, between the novels, the hardcovers, the audiobooks, and Dragonsgate, I've got twelve new products to sell. Again, not a bad year... except for one kind of important aspect of being a writer. I've got no idea how many words I wrote in 2018. Only one of the Lawless books, Victory, was started in 2018. Big Ape did go through rewrites, and the Dragonsgate collection went through multiple drafts. My best estimate based on final word counts is that I wrote, plus the chapters I've written on my latest dragon novel, amount to about 180k of first draft material. Which is an underwhelming number. Under 3500 words a week. I quit my day job for this?
Back when I had a day job, I told people I could produce 10,000 words a week. Which I could, but only for a few months at a time. Then I'd take a break, and switch into editing mode. It's hard to keep 10,000 words of first draft coming out each week because the imagination runs dry. On the other hand, I've got no shortage of ideas. I frequently find myself staring at a blank screen while I'm working on my latest project while ideas for other books prance around before me. I normally shoo these uninvited ideas away and try to focus on the project at hand.
It's time to shake up my habits. My goal in 2019 is to master the art of working on multiple projects during the same week or even the same day. If one set of characters doesn't show up that day, I'll write whoever does show up.
Second, it's embarrassing that I don't have a precise word count of what I've written this year. That changes moving forward. For the rest of the year I'll be posting a weekly update of my word count for the year. My goal is still relatively modest: 10,000 words a week, with two weeks of vacation, to produce 500,000 words of new first draft this year. This is a huge leap past anything I've done before, or event attempted. I did 366,000 words a few years ago, but there I had an elaborate system of crediting myself fractional rates for second draft and third draft, and gave myself bonus points for releasing books or selling short stories. This time, the 500,000 is a goal only for fresh writing, though I will count blog posts and other non-fiction.
Wish me luck!
Welcome to my worlds!
I'm James Maxey, author of fantasy and science fiction. My novels include the science fantasy Bitterwood Saga (4 books) the Dragon Apocalypse Saga (4 books), numerous superhero novels including Nobody Gets the Girl and the Lawless series, the steampunk Oz sequel Bad Wizard, and my short story collections, There is No Wheel and Jagged Gate. This website is focused exclusively on writing. At my second blog, Jawbone of an Ass, I ramble through any random topic that springs to mind, occasionally touching on religion and politics and other subjects polite people are sensible enough not to discuss in public. If you'd like to get monthly updates on new releases, as well as preview chapters and free short stories, join my newsletter!