1. Finish at least one short story per month.
Total completed: 2 (Technically, I could say two and two-thirds, since I'm almost done with another one, but it's on hold for a few days while I figure out how everything fits together.)
This month's two completed drafts were ones that I've had in progress for... a couple years now, so it feels good to finally get them done. They need some polishing up, but the pieces are all there, anyway, and I should be able to start sending them out by the end of this month. One is a lighthearted fantasy piece called "Real Dragons Don't Wear Sweaters," about a pet dragon wanting to be a real, wild dragon instead of being cute and fuzzy and pink, and the other, currently titled "Best of Breed," is a somewhat grittier piece told from the perspective of an anthro female cat and explores the relationship she has -- or doesn't have -- with her male human handler.
I'm really happy with how "Dragons" turned out -- I love the characters, I love the humor I was able to use, and I feel like it's one of my best stories in recent months. "Best of Breed" has been trickier, and as I've worked on it I've had to keep shoving away the potential criticisms popping up in my mind (predictable, cliched, confusing, whatever). Whatever editors and readers wind up thinking about it, at least I've finished the draft, and it might clean up better than I think, anyway.2. Put at least one long short story/novella up for sale on Smashwords.
Working on it. That two-thirds story I mentioned in #1 is a novellette/novella (depending on what its word count winds up at) called "Signal," and that's the draft I'm planning to be my first Smashwords offering (not counting a story or two I'll put up for free just to test everything out).
The biggest problem at the moment is that, while I know how I'll want the cover art to look, I don't have a lot of spare cash right now to commission a really good artist to do it, and I don't have the skills or the tools to do it myself (since I really want it digitally colored, instead of traditional media). But I'm planning to ask around, since there may be very good artists willing to do the work for less than I'm expecting. *shrug* (Another consideration is that I'm hoping to eventually make a profit, even a tiny one, from selling stuff on Smashwords, and the more I pay upfront for cover art commissions, the more copies I have to sell just to break even. I wish I had more artist friends...)3. Work on my website.
I'm counting this one as done.
This was my biggest priority for March, and all the main pages are there now. At this point it's just going to be an ongoing project, adding things, tweaking things, improving layouts, and so on. (Eventually the poetry page may have poems on separate pages with internal navigation, and I'll be adding a few more stories and probably putting up PDF versions for download.)
My newest online project will now be learning how to navigate and figuring out what to do with my Goodreads page
, where I just signed up a few days ago. I'm still learning how to use the site, but it looks like fun, even if it also looks like it has the potential to take up a lot of time if I'm really trying to catalogue everything I'm reading or want to read. :)
In a way, it feels a little like I'm putting the cart before the horse since I don't have a book to promote yet (my Goodreads author page is there courtesy of short stories in New Fables, an annual anthropomorphic journal/anthology). But all in all, I think I'd rather get comfortable with a place like that before
I have something to promote, because I don't want to be one of those people who suddenly shows up in social media trying to shill their book seventeen different ways to anybody who'll listen, and winds up coming off as somebody who's just there to sell stuff.
Speaking of selling stuff...4. Open an Etsy shop
. No work on this one for March. It's hard for me to have enough energy to spread over writing and art both, so I tend to shift back and forth from one to the other.
Overall, I'm satisfied with this month. Of course I would have liked to get more drafts completed, but these were both long (and long overdue), so I'm still happy with what I've gotten done. At some point I guess I'm going to have to accept that I just don't churn things out as quickly as others do, except in rare cases where everything clicks.