04 January 2013

A Round of Words in 80 Days: My Goals

As I mentioned in my last post, I find it helpful to get involved in various writing communities and set specific goals/assignments to keep me accountable and on-track. And...well...just to keep me writing at all. Evidently I'm a poster child for behavioral learning theory, which states, in essence, that a person will learn/do if the external environment is set up in such a way as to be motivating--reward desired behavior, punish undesired behavior--which of course is where you get piano teachers slapping students' hands with rulers when mistakes are made and the dunce cap in old-school classrooms.

All tangents aside for the moment, a Twitter connection recently turned me on to A Round of Words in 80 Days. Rules can be read on the site, so I won't bore you by repeating them here. But the main point is that I need some goals for this. Some measurable and achievable goals. (Learning assessment training, don't fail me now!)

The Goal
I, Sione H. Aeschliman, hereby pledge that by March 28, 2013 (the end of ROW80 Round 1) I will have completed five speculative fiction short stories and have them ready for publication (either submitting to lit mags or self-publishing...not sure which yet).

The Strategizing
In order to achieve this, I'll need to have first drafts done...*looks at calendar*...no wait. I need to work backwards. If final drafts are done & ready to go by March 28th then I'll need to have them back from readers by...let's say one week of editing per story (which is probably generous but then things do tend to take about twice as long as I think they will)...so I'll need to have them back from readers by Feb. 21.

And readers will need a couple weeks probably, so the last story needs to go out to readers by Feb. 8...let's say 9th to give me an extra whole day of writing. (I'll be sending the others out as I get them finished and then letting them sit while I finish the drafting process for the other stories).

Which means that between Jan. 7 & Feb. 9 I have five weeks to write the stories, which means one story per week (eeeek!). *Deep breaths* Okay. I can do this. Is only 3000-5000 words per week. At my average writing rate, that's 3-5 hours of writing per week. I can do that. No problem.

The Plan
  • Devote six hours of Saturday each week to working on these stories.
  • Produce one 3000- to 5000-word story each week.
  • ROW80 guidelines say to check in twice a week, on Wednesdays & Sundays, but that seems overkill for my goal, so I'll just check in on Sundays (i.e. new post on this blog every Sunday with report on progress--ooh! And excerpts! I'll do excerpts!)
  • Have last story out to reader(s) by end of day Feb. 9th.
  • Take a break Feb. 10-21st.
  • Revise & edit stories Feb. 22-28.
  • Celebrate goal achieved by...what would be a nice reward? Oh, I know! Making myself my favorite dish: fettuccine in garlic-cream-wine sauce with chicken. (Nom nom nom. I can taste it already.)


  1. Welcome to ROW80!
    Looks like you've got a good plan there. We'll be here cheering you on. Good luck!

    1. Thanks, Juliana. I look forward to participating--my first time!

  2. That sounds like a tall order Sione. I know you can do this.
    I should have tagged along and tried it. Seems like a fantastic challenge. I'll be here to cheer you on any time you need it. :)
    Ra Ra Ree.. kick um in the knee
    Ra Ra Ras... kick em in the other knee
    Woohooo GO Sione!!