I haven’t done a “the year in writing” post in previous years, mostly, because those years have mostly been the same: “wrote a fair number of words, and not much else happened.” I was either not writing enough, or not submitting enough. Despite my participation in NaNoWriMo approaching legal US driving age, my word counts were variable at best.
2018–well, that was a bit different. What happened? Well–
- One novel edited, and I’m sticking with this one until I’m ready to query it.
- 10 new short stories written; the shortest 1000 words, and the longest 7000.
- 49 fiction submissions, more than every other year of my life combined*.
- 3 poetry submissions
- NaNoWriMo 2018 was a bit hit or miss; I was trying to hammer together a novella. I crossed 50,000 words easily (as usual), but it’s mostly world-building rather than anything usable. I’ll go back to this in 2019.
- 1 fiction acceptance! The story, “An Acceptable Risk to the Portfolio,” was written near the end of 2017 specifically for the Zombies Need Brains anthologies, and it hit the mark squarely.
- 1 poetry acceptance! After being reminded that poetry is a thing, I scrubbed an old poem and found it a home. “Tomorrow’s Moments” is particularly dark, but don’t let that stop you from reading it at Liminality.
It only took 25 years of practice–or, perhaps, 25 years of procrastinating on pursuing a long-standing dream.
Having critical feedback helped, certainly. The form rejections don’t tell you much, save that it was a story that wasn’t right for that market at that time. It’s difficult to improve based on that. Hearing from serious writers about what they did and didn’t like gave me insight into my own bad habits, and I think I’m starting to correct some of them before the editors bring down the hammer.
The other side: persistence. Having an acceptance, and moving the meter on SFWA membership, did light a fire, to be sure. It was a little weird, though–my goal had been “be professionally published” for so long that, having met that, I had to figure out for what star I wanted to reach next. But I have, and I will.
Let’s see if I can do that in less than a second 25 years.
*excluding novel queries.