Welcome to October, friends and family! It’s that time of year where I try to post something here every day of the month, as a way of preparing myself for NaNoWriMo.
Artists have their Inktober. I have Blog-tober. One year, I set out to write something writing related every day. As challenging as it was, I produced some of my favorite posts that month.
The Journey as a Writer
This whole blog is supposed to be about my journey as a writer. This journey has been going on for a long time. Sometimes, I talk about politics. Sometimes, I post short fiction. Sometimes, I talk about things in order to work through issues that are bothering me. This is all part of the journey.
When you set out on a journey, it’s important to choose a destination and a route. If you know where you want to go but don’t know how to get there, you could get lost. If you pick a route without a destination, you could wander in circles without purpose, knowing where you are, but never really going anywhere.
I want to be a full-time writer. That is a destination. In order to be a full-time writer, I need to be able to sustain myself by my writing, or be sustained. In order to feel like I’m having some success as a full-time writer, I must know that people are reading what I’m writing. One way to get that measurement is through number of sales.
Notice that I’m not setting out to be the next Brandon Sanderson or Stephen King. I just want to write. My definitions of success are not strictly bound to financials or popularity.
I thought there were two main routes in front of me: traditional publishing and self-publishing. With what’s going on with Penguin Random House and Simon and Schuster, with the big publishers consolidating and shrinking opportunities for new authors, the traditional publishing route looks more and more like a lottery ticket. Self-publishing, on the other hand, still carries with it all of the burdens of starting a new business.
The destination I have planned isn’t to become a master at marketing and selling books. My goal is to spend most of my day-job hours writing and revising stories. So, self-publishing has largely been off the table, though I’ve looked into a couple of options from time to time.
Smaller, independent presses may be a route that I hadn’t considered enough previously. It’s a compromise. I will still have to do a lot of work to sell and market, but depending on the small press, I may not have to do it alone.
That’s how I’ve been planning and negotiating my journey as a writer. I keep an eye on where I want to be, I try to plan my route as best I can, and then make decisions at every intersection along the way. I still have a long ways to go.
Novels and Blogging as a Journey
Planning a novel, a short story, or even a Blog-tober is similar, and simpler.
It starts with picking a destination. I want to write a novel about a psychic repo-man. I want to write a short story about baggage handlers, where the cargo is human bodies. I want to write a novel about a down-on-his-luck private eye living on The Moon. I want to write a novelette about a writer that gets his hands on a magic typewriter. I want to write a novel about synthetic humans solving crime and falling in love. This month, I want to write at least one blog post a day, to make sure I’m ready to write a novel in November.
Once you have the destination in mind, you plan your route. Some plans are more detailed than others. I wrote outlines for two of my three novels. I wrote shorter, less detailed outlines for most of my short stories. Some stories are simple enough I don’t need a detailed plan. The outline gives me a map, which I’m free to ignore whenever I want, as long as I’m still moving towards the destination.
With Blog-tober, I have to come up with the things I want to talk about in advance, so that I’m not floundering each day trying to come up with something to say.
Planning Blog-tober 2022
Today, October 1st, that’s what I’m doing. I’m at a Shut Up and Write, working on outlines for two stories, and developing my list of blog topics for the rest of the month. I’m also reaching out on social media, asking for topics from other people.
One person mentioned Inktober, suggesting I take that and riff on those. It makes me want to try some microfiction involving the Inktober topics. Here is an image of 2022 Inktober Prompts:
I’m not going to commit to tiny stories every day based on these prompts, but I’m tempted to do something with this list. Blog-tober is about writing at least one post a day. That implies it’ll be fine to post two, if the whim takes me.
We will see. Thirty-one posts is already a big commitment.
A bunch of tiny stories could be a lot of fun, though.
Welcome to Blog-tober 2022! Buckle up, because this one is going to be a bumpy ride.