So let me share my New Year’s Eve tradition for the last several years. We usually end up writing down our goals for the coming year and talking about the many things we were grateful for throughout the previous year as well.
Then after everybody else settled in for the night, I’d fix a drink, get on the computer, and write until midnight hit. At the point, I’d go outside, finish my drink (maybe even have a cigar if the weather was tolerable) and watch the fireworks go off all over the city.
Well, this year was a bit different. Instead of waiting for midnight to hit, we were struck by the plague. It started with the one-year-old, and then worked its way through all five of us. We’re all still feeling pretty icky at the moment.
So there while there was no staying up writing and having a scotch while I waited for the ball to drop and bring in 2017, there was plenty of staying up late with crying and vomiting children.
The worst thing to do is start off a new year focusing on the negative. So like I’ve done in the past, I’ll give a quick summary of a few of my writing and writing-related accomplishments in the last year, and also mention my big writing goals for the next.
Write Good Books
I launched this blog two years ago today on January 1, 2015. Traffic in 2016 was nearly 10x the amount of traffic in 2015, so we are growing. It’s been a lot of fun, and I’ll admit it’s also a lot of work at times. But it’s definitely worth it.
Last, I launched the Write Good Books Podcast with my friend and fellow Nebraska Writers Guild member, Scott Michael Childers. We’ve stuck with our bi-weekly schedule and have done 26 episodes so far. We haven’t reached the audience I’m hoping for yet, but all things take time. In the next year we plan to bring in the occasional guest to broaden our topics and shake things up as well. I’m looking forward to seeing where the next year takes us.
Theme of Absence
I’d call this a hit and miss year for the ezine. On the one hand, Theme of Absence received nearly double the amount of submissions as last year. We also qualified for both the 25 Most Approachable Fiction Markets and Most Personable Fiction Markets at Duotrope.com, which is great. Also, in addition to Better Rocksteady, we added another illustrator to the site, Tim Bougger. So I’d like to thank them for their wonderful work and contributions again.
So while there were definitely positives, there was a downside. Annual traffic decreased by 14%, which is atrocious. I’m not sure what to attribute the drop-off to, but I’d like to try to increase that over the next year. Either way, I still love running the site and have no plans to abandon it any time soon.
My own writing
You’ve got to take the good with the bad. I’ve put so much into the websites and podcast this year, that I haven’t written anywhere near as much fiction as I would have preferred. But that’s just how things go sometimes. I did get a couple of short stories finished and completed a second draft of my second novel, although it still needs lot of work. I also outlined and started a third novel. So that’s something, right?
As far as short stories go, my lighthearted alien abduction story “Waking up in the Woods” was reprinted in AntipodeanSF today with an audio version coming to their next podcast. You can check it out here. In 2016 I had 29 submissions, with 3 acceptances and 26 rejections (12 personal and 14 form). Yikes.
Other writing-related stuff
I attended both Nebraska Writers Guild writing conferences as well as the annual Rocky Mountain Fiction Writing Colorado Gold conference in Denver this year. Again, I stress how important it is for writers to attend conferences. You learn so much.
I also co-presented a session on publishing at Constellation 7 in Lincoln with Sabrina Sumsion, which went well. I’d like to present something at that con again this year, but I believe I’ll have a scheduling conflict. In November I participated in my first book signing & author event earlier this year, which went fairly well. Finally, I was asked to be a judge for The Write Practice‘s annual Winter Writing Contest. I had about a week to read 50+ stories in the first round, so when you’re a slow reader like me, that’s quite time commitment, but it was pretty neat reading a diverse group of short stories outside of my regular genres.
So it’s been a good year on the networking and marketing side of things. I’ve already got three events lined up for next year, including a talk and signing at Red Path Gallery and Tasting Room in April, and shelf-space in a local bookstore.
Goals for 2017
This is where things get tricky. If you look at my actual writing accomplishments from 2016, there aren’t very many of them. At least if you measure accomplishments by finished stories, finished novels, and new publications.
Soooooo….writers are supposed to write, right?
Yes, that is my plan. I will certainly write more this year than I did last year. As I’ve mentioned like a million times I don’t do well with daily minimum word counts, but I am going to try a monthly minimum word count this year. It’s not even that large of a number, but it’s one I should be able to achieve.
I do have one small problem and that’s that I’m not yet entirely sure what I’ll be working on. It comes down to these for projects:
- Novel # 2 could use another 15-20K words before I can query.
- Novel # 3, which I believe I’m only about 5000 words into anyhow.
- Something new I’ve been fantasizing about writing, but am afraid to try.
- A bunch of short stories.
The best (but least fun) choice would be to get that Novel # 2 ready to query. Holy Fudgesicles was published in 2015 and I really do need to get another novel out there.
The worst (but most fun) choice would be to just spend the year cranking out short stories. As much as I love the idea of writing a bunch of short stories (as well as the ego boost whenever one is accepted for publication) I know that it’s more important to be finishing and publishing novels. So I’m leaning toward that big goal of finishing Novel # 2 and querying it.
I think my secondary goal will be to finish a few short stories as well, though. But not until I’ve finished that second novel.
So I guess that makes it official. My writing resolution of 2017 will be to finish and query Novel # 2, and then spend the rest of the year writing finishing short stories. Or maybe if I get
crazy dedicated enough, make a strong effort toward Novel # 3.
Time will tell.
I want to thank you all for reading. It’s been a great first two years. I hope you have a awesome 2017, and reach all of the goals you have set for the year.
What are your writing accomplishments in the last year? What are your goals for the next? Leave a comment and let us know!