Writing Goals

I recently completed a new afterword for Schrödinger’s City, one I’ll be posting on this blog when we get closer to the publication date. It’s largely a reflection on my writing career over the last seven years, a topic that’s been on my mind as of late, especially as I am in a very different mental space than I was when I penned my first three novels.

A part of my reflection that didn’t make it into the afterword is how much more difficult it is nowadays for me to keep myself focused and energized than it was seven years ago. I think some of that can be chalked up simply to age, but the are probably other factors as well.

However, I’m not the kind of person to dwell overmuch on causes. I much prefer identifying and chasing solutions, and my go-to strategy for keeping energized and focused is the creation of goals. This doesn’t mean that the goals are a rigid framework. It may turn out, when I when I look back in a decade’s time, that I ended up deviating from this plan significantly. That’s not important. What is important is that these goals help me keep up my momentum.

Short Term (2020-2021)

  • Draft and publish Intersection Thirteen
    • a large bureaucratic and economic system falls apart when a once-in-three-centuries event strikes a nation-state whose territory is contained entirely within a pocket universe
  • Draft Land of the Free
    • the life and times of various individuals in a far-future dystopic North America where all major cities have become fantastic and lethal hellscapes
  • Publish one short story collection

Medium Term (2020-2025)

  • Publish Land of the Free
  • Draft and publish The Ghost King
    • in a world of magic, a magicians’ guild conjures up a demiurge to help them make decisions when their archmage goes missing and their land’s king proves mentally unstable; but as time advances, the demiurge’s power grows, as do the people’s blind faith in its decisions…
  • Draft and publish The True History of the Ksezian War
    • set in the world of Palípoli, an ancient writer, a medieval writer, and a modern writer all sit down to craft their own versions of the great Ksezian War; to their dismay, they find the world around them changing with each of their embellishments
  • Draft and publish Programmieriad
    • a mashup of the modern tech industry and the ancient world modeled on The Iliad; two Seattle tech companies wage a great war with one another, their programmer army utilizing a mixture of coding skills and bronze weaponry.
  • Publish one additional short story collection
  • (Optional) Publish another Palípoli short story collection

Long Term (2020-2035)

  • Establish a definitive “second period” of my writing, beginning in 2020 with the publication of The Other and containing at least three novels and two short story collections. (2020 to ~2025)
  • Establish the foundation for a third period. This will require revisiting my reading goals once I’ve finished my second phase. I have a number of classical authors to finish out (Thucydides, Cicero, Virgil, Livy) as well as medieval and renaissance thinkers. There are also a number of science fiction and fantasy authors where I have some ponderous gaps to remedy, most notably, Wells, Le Guin, Lem, and Miéville. (~2025 to ~2028)
  • Begin a third phase. I have no ideas what these works will be, even thematically, as a decade tends to change a person a lot. And who knows where I’ll be on the other side of all that reading, too. Anyhow, the rough shape of this is another 3 to 6 novels, but in this phase, between each novel, I’d produce a work of non-fiction. I’m thinking either literary criticism of some of my favorite works, or perhaps thematic collections of criticism organized around a particular topic (ecology, politics, etc.). (~2028 to ?)