“Progress on what?” you ask. This page tracks my progress in my career as a professional fiction writer. I use that phrase purposefully, because I don’t like writing nonfiction, and I don’t really want to write anything except fiction. I’d rather earn my living writing, but only fiction, and if not fiction, then I’d rather earn my living doing something else. :)
2012 = 146,821 words
2013 = 268,191 words
2014 = 217,641 words
2015 = 250,011 words
2016 = 220,071 words
2017 to date = 27,064 words
I track only publishable words, not for any particular reason, but because that’s how my spreadsheets are easiest to maintain—I simply copy in my ending word count from whatever doc(s) I’m working on. Therefore, deleted words or discarded stories get subtracted from my totals immediately. So, yeah, I could have 100,000 today but only 50,000 tomorrow.
2012 = 2 short novels; 1 novelette; 2 short stories
2013 = 4 novels; 3 novelettes
2014 = 3 novels; 2 novelettes
2015 = 4 novels; 2 novelettes
2016 = 3 novels; 2 novelettes
2017 to date = 1 novel
These are based on the word count scale below. I have to admit, one of those short novels from 2012 is really short. :) Also, one of the 2012 short stories is a one-off under a pseudonym that might never see another published story.
Looking at my output, I’m amazed I’ve been able to make a living these last three years with such a small amount of work out there. I’m definitely a bit of an oddity, even if my living is modest. I know many other authors with as many titles who haven’t been so blessed. Of course, there are also authors with many fewer titles earning considerably more than me, so there ya go.
Novels > 40,000 words
Short novels > 20,000 to 40,000 words
Novelettes/Novellas > 7,000 to 20,000 words
Short stories < 7,000 words
I write everything under pen names, and although I think it’s fun sharing some details, I don’t share my pen names.
Things I’d like to do in 2017
#1 Write more
Why am I so desperate to do this? Because I have so many series going that I absolutely need to write more if I ever want to see any of them reach their full potential. All my series have bigger stories wrapped up in them and they’re all important to me. I want to make progress on those stories while also writing some new things, and that’s all going to take time—and faster writing.
#2 Publish a book every 4–6 weeks
If I can reach goal #1, then I can reach goal #2. Simple. :)
#3 Stop agonizing over every word I put down
Learn how to let it go. Learn how to enter flow faster and easier. Learn how to stay in the chair longer. Learn how to write even when I don’t feel like it.
I’m working on these as often as I can. Practice, practice, practice.