Looking Back at my 2018 Writing Goals

Alan Shearer Goal

Alan Shearer knew a thing or two about goals. (Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

2018 was one hell of a ride. It had its amazing moments and it had its terrible moments. It was an emotional rollercoaster in which I learnt a lot about myself and other people. And here I am, on the other side, a little stronger, a little smarter, and with any luck a little better—still a lot of room to improve but that’s the name of the game, friends.

Of course, the biggest life change in 2018 was becoming a father, which continues to be an incredible, humbling, and surprising journey every single day. The second biggest change was moving back from Japan—bittersweet but the right decision at the time.

But onto those writing goals I made at the start of 2018. Let’s see how I did …

1. To always have a first draft on the go. Splitting my writing time in two: ‘writing a new story’ and ‘editing/redrafting’ other WIPs.

Spirit of the goal: To keep productive and fresh and ensure I’m constantly creating new content rather than just revising older content.

The result: I’m delighted to report that I have completed this goal and will be keeping this up indefinitely. Not only did I always have a first draft on the go during 2018 but sometimes I had two or three. I’m not sure I’d recommend more than one first draft at a time but I dare say it helped with my productivity and creativity. At the time of writing, I have the first draft of a novel I’m concentrating on and a couple of other first draft longer pieces that are waiting as soon as I’m done. If you haven’t tried this, I recommend you take the plunge in 2019 and always have a first draft on the go. This is going to be how I do things going forward.

2. Read one story per day.

Spirit of the goal: To continue to read a large volume of stories, diverse voices, and to challenge my reading habits with new authors and stories.

The result: I stopped keeping count of the number of stories I read so it’s difficult to conclusively know if I achieved this one, but I ticked off the ‘spirit of the goal’ which was to continue to read a large volume of stories, diverse voices, and to challenge my reading habits with new authors and stories. I always have several books on the go including short story collections (which often means reading numerous stories in one day) and audiobooks and am constantly seeking out new authors. We released 65 episodes of the This Is Horror Podcast last year which certainly kept me busy reading, too, and that’s not counting the Story Unboxed and Patreon episodes.

3. Submit 24 stories and 4. To have 12 stories published.

Spirit of the goal: To see more of my work in print with a variety of publications I love and respect. And to expand my readership and get my work out into the world.

The result: I fell short here. I submitted eight stories to publications and had two stories published in 2018—‘Things We Say’ (Dark Moon Digest) and ‘Last Christmas’ (The Other Stories). In addition, my novella, The Girl in the Video will be published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing in 2019, I have a number of stories that I’ve submitted and am waiting to hear back about, and there’s even some interest from publishers on a few longer projects. It wasn’t quite the writing year I’d hoped for, but it was perhaps my most productive yet with a number of promising leads. Not bad given I became a father and was competing with 2017 in which I’d attempted the short story per week challenge.

Other cool writing and podcast-related things in 2018

  • I successfully completed NaNoWriMo proving that I can write 50,000 words in a month should the need or desire call for it.
  • This Is Horror Podcast released 65 episodes.
  • This Is Horror Podcast is now up to over 20,000 monthly downloads (a longstanding achievement).
  • This Is Horror Podcast Patreon gained almost 50 patrons.
  • I was interviewed on the wonderful Ladies of the Fright Podcast.

Join me again soon for my 2019 goals. But in the meantime, I’d love to know how your 2018 was. Hit me up in the comments or over on twitter @wilsonthewriter.

‘Last Christmas’ on Hawk & Cleaver’s The Other Stories Podcast and other news

Hawk & Cleaver The Other Stories Podcast banner

Friends, it has been a while but today it’s time to deliver a bumper edition of news and updates.

Last Christmas on The Other Stories Podcast

Last Christmas by Michael David Wilson The Other Stories

Firstly, my festive-themed story ‘Last Christmas’ just went live over on Hawk & Cleaver’s The Other Stories. This is an exciting moment for me on numerous levels. I’m a longtime listener, admirer, and fan of The Other Stories podcast and think they’re up there with the best horror stories podcasts. I especially like the production and way they bring these tales to life rather than just opting for a straight narration. This is doubly exciting because this is the first time I’ve heard an audio version of one of my own stories. I’d love to capture and hold onto the exhilaration that I’m feeling in this moment having just finished listening to it. Anyway, if you like your horror dialogue-heavy, humorous, profanity-laden, and absolutely not suitable for children, this may well be the story for you.

Listen to ‘Last Christmas’ by Michael David Wilson (via Acast) 

Listen to ‘Last Christmas’ by Michael David Wilson (via iTunes) 

Listen to ‘Last Christmas’ by Michael David Wilson (via Player FM) 

The Girl in the Video

Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing

The astute amongst you may well have noticed this line in my bio over at The Other Stories, “His forthcoming novella, The Girl in the Video, will be published in 2019 by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.” Watch this space for more on that very soon.

The Black Room Manuscripts Volume Four

The Black Room Manuscripts Volume Four edited by J.R. Park and Tracy Fahey

Back in October I wrote the foreword to The Black Room Manuscripts Volume Four edited by J.R. Park and Tracy Fahey. It’s the final book in the anthology series and I’m honoured to have played a small part. Support the wonderful people at Sinister Horror Company and follow the link to buy The Black Room Manuscripts Volume Four and if you want to learn more about the anthology and editors then please do check out the two-part conversation that Bob Pastorella and I recorded for This Is Horror Podcast.

TIH 236: J.R. Park and Tracy Fahey on The Black Room Manuscripts, Irish Folklore, and Real Life Horror

TIH 237: J.R. Park and Tracy Fahey on Anthologies, Story Obstacles, and Collaborations

This Is Horror Podcast and Patreon

This Is Horror Podcast

Over on This Is Horror Podcast we are aiming to reach 200 patrons by the end of the year. At the time of writing, we’re at 152 patrons but given we gained thirteen patrons in the first thirteen days of December and are continuing to grow I reckon we can come close. There are so many reasons to join us: submit questions for guests, listen to episodes ahead of the crowd, our patron-exclusive podcast Story Unboxed: The Horror Podcast on the Craft of Writing, and our videocast On Camera/Off Record.

Join This Is Horror Podcast on Patreon

But if you haven’t listened to the podcast yet, may I suggest you either peruse the This Is Horror Podcast archives and see which of your favourite authors we’ve spoken with (you can use the search bar up in the top right-hand corner, too) or jump in with some of our favourite and most popular episodes below.

TIH 245: Ramsey Campbell on Life Lessons Growing Up, August Derleth, and Liverpool

TIH 166: Joe R. Lansdale on Hap and Leonard, Growing Up in East Texas, and Bubba and the Cosmic Blood-Suckers

TIH 182: Kathe Koja on The Cipher, Christopher Marlowe, and Strangest Story Ever Written

TIH 188: Laird Barron on Growing Up in Alaska, Applying Life Lessons to Writing, and Dealing with Despair

TIH 173: Nadia Bulkin on Unpacking Tropes, Japanese Horror, and Writing About Topical Themes

TIH 214: Paul Tremblay on Shirley Jackson, Supernatural Turn-Offs, and Ambiguity in Horror Fiction

All right, friends, that does it for today. Let me know what news you have, tell me how you got on with my story ‘Last Christmas’, ask me anything, or just connect with me in the comments or over on twitter @wilsonthewriter.

Have a great day!