Writer. Adventurer. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a series of steampunk novels and short stories.

Mapping My Road Ahead

I often find it useful to plan ahead by considering where I have already been.  I grew a lot as a writer over the past year, both in terms of craft and business savvy.  I broadened my network and have made some good contacts I hope will push me to the next level.

Like many other writers, I am putting up my writing goals for 2015.

But first, let’s look back at what I accomplished in 2014. This year was a big year in my writing education. I read books and tutorials, listened to podcasts, joined a critique group, downloaded software, and attended writing workshops. (And if you are wondering where the money came from, most items were free or heavily discounted if you bought at the right time. Also, I might have sold the dog, the kids, and anything else not nailed down in the house.)


This list should actually be longer. It doesn’t count the many PDFs I read on my tablet instead of side-loading into Amazon. I included some other nonfiction titles in this list because I believe my education is larger than just writing craft and the business of publishing. I have grown in my understanding of the world, its history, and potential trends I will face during my lifetime.  I also know more about self-publishing too.

by Rebeca Saray

2,000 to 10,000 – Rachel Aaron
At Home – Bill Bryson
Audiobooks for Indies – Simon Whistler
Fiction Unboxed – Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant
Gotta Read It! – Libbie Hawker
How to Market a Book – Joanna Penn
How We Got to Now – Steven Johnson
Let’s Get Digital – David Gaughran
Million Dollar Outlines – David Farland
Supercharge Your Kindle Sales – Nick Stephenson
The Next 100 Years – George Friedman
Write. Publish. Repeat – Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant
Write That Novel – David Farland
Writing New Adult Fiction – Deborah Halverson


The Creative Penn – Joanna Penn & CJ Lyons on Marketing
Five Minute Publishing – Nick Stevenson
How to Stop Stalling and Write That Book – Rachel Herron
Writing for MG and YA – David Farland


Writing Excuses
Rocking Self Publishing


Scrivner – Writing and organization tool
Duotrope – Short story market and organization tool
KD Spy – Snooping on Amazon and geeking out on marketing tool

Writing Workshops

by Rebeca Saray

David Farland – Greenlight Your Novel
Mary Robinette Kowal – Intensive Short Story Workshop
Manda Turetsky – Self-Publishing Workshop
Joanna Hardy – Outline Your Novel in 10 Easy Steps
The Book Doctors – The Art of the Edit
Kristen Lamb – Branding for Authors
Dave Ramsey – Financial Peace University (Why this one? When I finally get published and start raking in the cash, I need to know what to do with it, right?)

Works Written

This is where I see all of my writerly education starting to fall flat. I certainly know a lot of stuff now, but it doesn’t count if I don’t get the words on the page. For the short stories, I only made this a priority the last half of the year. I’m happy with my performance, which is roughly one story per month. My honorable mention gives me warm fuzzies and is great motivation to shoot for the moon with each successive story.

Short Stories Written – 5
Writers of the Future Honorable Mention for Under the Hallowed Tree
Number of Professional Submissions – 2
Number of Professional Publications – 0

This is the biggest problem area, and it’s fairly obvious why. I like to start things. I love the shiny new idea. I want to take it out, play with it, then just when it gets interesting… Ooo, look, a shiny new idea. When I look over the outlines, they seem okay in terms of structure, characters, plot, etc. They’d probably make fun books to read after some edits and beta reads, but it’s just too bad I didn’t manage to write any of them.

Number of Outlines – 10
Number of Novels Started – 5
Novels Written – 0

RS Guy 11

And So We Come at Last to My Writing Goals for 2015

For the education side, I need to cut back this year, but it would be crazy to stop altogether. I can always improve in some form or fashion, whether it is on the writing craft, marketing, publishing, or growing as a person. Also, I really like interacting with people, so the workshops may be a form of reward if I meet some of the other goals below.

Books & Tutorials – 6
Writing Workshops – 2

Productivity is the buzzword for 2015. I’m gonna do it this year, or collapse into a disappointing heap under my writing desk. I want to write one short story per month and submit more frequently to professional markets. My goal would be to win Writers of the Future and have two other pro level publications, which would qualify my for SFWA membership. (Of course it isn’t a sure thing, but I have to make it a goal before I can achieve it.)

Short Stories Written – 12
Writers of the Future Winner – 1
Number of Professional Submissions – 24
Number of Professional Publications – 2

And that pesky novel… I’m finishing and publishing it this year. In fact, I’m going to publish two novels. If I give myself a year, I’ll look around in November and say “Holy crap, where did the time go?” Yeah, that’s not going to happen. Six months, done. So if I need to edit, beta read, edit, proofread, publish, then I’ve got 60 days to get the words on the page. 300 pages / 60 days x 250 words per page = 1,250 words per day.

Number of Outlines – 2
Number of Novels Started – 2
Novels Written – 2
Novels Published – 2

Words per day – 1250

Ready. Set. Write!!

4 comments on “Mapping My Road Ahead

  1. dheyman2014
    January 16, 2015

    Inspirational Tracy – especially having very distinct goal like WINNING Writers of the Future, not just submitting. I really admire that, I’ll try to emulate some of that confidence for myself! Having seen brief glimpses of your work, I know these goals are in your reach!

    • tracycembor
      February 3, 2015

      Awww, thanks! I really need the warm fuzzies. Sometimes I think I could accomplish even more, but on other days I feel like I’ll never make it. But I realized that there’s never a “perfect” time, so I’m just going for it.

  2. Przemek Kucia
    January 27, 2015

    The Next 100 Years – George Friedman | Especially interesting book since I’m myself Polish ;) (totally improbable scenario though, G. Friedman does not understand of how rotten and amateurish Polish politics are)

    With all seriousness though – good luck with the goals you set :D Not to put extra pressure but I would love to be able to buy your book at last! :D

  3. Pingback: The Going Got Tough | tracycembor

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Of Days and Weeks

January 2015
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Posting Schedule for 2014-15

Monday through Friday I will be posting about writing as business and craft, the science of creativity, all things steampunk, and progress on The Dreamless City.

Weekends are reserved for my Music Playlist.

Writers of the Future Honorable Mention

About the Author

Tracy Cembor attempts to juggle a preschooler and a baby, a full-time job, random geekery, and the writing life. Currently working on The Dreamless City, a steampunk urban fantasy novel. Come join the adventure.
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