People have asked: What are your plans for 2005? Well, confining this discussion largely to work subjects, they break into two groups: Things I know I need to do, and things I’d like to do.
Things I know I need to do: Early in the year, I’ll need to do revisions and editing for The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film. I have a series of articles to write for the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader series, on the states of New Jersey, Michigan and Minnesota. And then I’ll start work on The Ghost Brigades, which you all know to be the sequel to Old Man’s War (John Perry teams up with a talking dog! To fight crime! No, not really). And then, depending on a number of factors, there or may not be work I need to do for Book of the Dumb 3, or another project which I cannot discuss at the moment. Among all this will be some corporate writing (which as I’ve noted before is not glamorous but sure pays well), and hopefully I’ll continue my writing associations with AOL, OPM and the Dayton Daily News.
Things I’d Like to Do: In no particular order:
1. Try my hand at writing some short stories. I’ve only written two over the course of my career, actually: This one for Strange Horizons a while back, and then this one which I used for my RIF fundraiser last year. At this point, I feel reasonably competent with writing novels and books, so I’d like to fiddle in the short story format and see what it gets me. Being lazy as I am, I don’t know that I’ll actually get around to selling any, but my wife keeps telling me that if I’d just give the damn things to her she’d mail them out for me and keep track of the submissions, so we’ll see. What I really think would be fun to do is try to contribute to some short story collections — they usually have a theme of some sort and I think at first I’d probably do better with an assigned subject matter than thinking one up myself. Of course, to start doing those it’d probably be useful to have already written some short stories. Stupid Catch-22.
2. Take a break. I keep meaning to take a few weeks where I do nothing, but then I keep not doing that, and it’s really sort of annoying; for example, right now I’d envisioned myself kicking back in the house sleeping until noon and staring blankly at a phosphorescent screen. and while, yes, I *am* doing that, unfortunately I’m also doing work, too. This is partly my own fault and partly the fault of that nasty sickness I had in November, but the point is — no rest for me now. And not likely through the first half of 2005, although I might just take off a week or two just to so it (say, March).
3. Travel a bit: I know I’ll be in the UK in August for Interaction (this year’s Worldcon), and I’ll hit a couple of more-or-less local SF cons (book to promote, you know). Outside of those, however, I’d like to just wander with no particular reason to do so. I imagine I’ll get to New York and DC a couple of times in the year to visit friends and do business and so forth, and I’d like to get a west coast trip together as well. Where I’ll find the time to do this, of course, is an utter mystery, but who knows. Maybe someone in Hollywood will buy the book and I’ll have to fly in for “meetings,” which would, in my opinion, simply be cover for seeing friends and eating Double-Doubles.
4. New markets, and a couple of old ones. I keep meaning to write some non-fiction pieces for Strange Horizons; I queried them a couple of months ago and they responded back enthusiastically, and then the roof fell in on my bandwidth. Still, I want to get back to them as soon as I can. I now also have my foot in the door over at National Lampoon, and I’ll be happy to try to exploit that as well. What I really want out of life at this point is a column, simply because writing at a regular interval is reassuring to me and my mortgage, but again, I’ve been doing my own thing for so long it’s unlikely anyone’s just going to hand one of those to me for free (well, I’m sure if I worked for free I could get one, but I don’t want to do that). So that will be one of the goals for 2005: Get my work out there a little more, and see if a regular gig can come of it.
5. Prepare for the Random. Lots of stuff happens with my writing life that is simply out of the blue, and I think it might simply be worth it to factor that in to life at this point. Preparing for the unexpected is of course a contradiction in terms, but it’s not so much preparing for anything, as simply accepting that things will happen for which one is not prepared, and one should be (heh) prepared for that. We’ll see how I do with that.
That’s the plan, anyway.