Time to see what I wanted to accomplish in 2013 versus what I did accomplish.
So, here were my 2013 writing resolutions:
1. Write and submit 12 short stories.
2. Finish at least the first draft of Novel B.
3. Finish at least the first draft of Novel C. (The backstory for one of the characters from Novel A.)
4. Revise at least four of my existing short stories and submit each one to at least five more markets.
5. Make at least 50 short story submissions.
How did I do? Not too bad really.
1. I wrote and subbed 15 new stories, so three more than my resolution. (And I have a couple of others that I finished this year but haven’t yet subbed, so that number could’ve been even higher.)
2. and 3. I did write and complete a novel last year. It was not Novel B or Novel C. I also wrote 35K words of Novel C and, if I chose to target it to the MG market it could be considered close to a first draft as is. But, not the progress I wanted on the novel front for 2013.
4. I did revise and submit five of my 2012 short stories, but ended up pulling them before I subbed them to five markets each. One was self-pubbed eventually and one went to seven markets, but the others only went to one or two. I think they had some interesting parts to them, but I can take those parts and write new, better stories with those parts incorporated.
5. I made 66 submissions this year bringing me to a total of 75 submissions ever. So, more than I’d hoped to make this year.
What do I have to show for it? Nothing concrete. But the quality of the rejections I received this year went up significantly and I now have nine pro-paying markets that have said to send them more material. Not too shabby.
(Oh, and as an argument for starting at the top. Some of my strongest rejections have come from the top markets whereas I can’t seem to make an inroads with some pro-paying but less esteemed markets. So, always shoot for the top.)
I think at this point I’m comfortable in saying that I can put sentences together or “write well”. My struggle is telling an engaging story. I have some sort of weird resistance to the over-the-top, escalating action, suspenseful approach. But I haven’t yet found the knack for writing a slower, more nuanced story and keeping readers engaged enough to want to buy my stories.
So…making progress, but stuck in that mushy middle area where you think “wow, lots of effort and not much to show for it.” And, “it’s a good thing I still have a day job.”
It would be nice to break out from that and start selling stories to the pro markets or get an agent interested in one of my novels. But I have no control over that. I can only keep writing and keep subbing.
Oh, and, of course, I did self-pub six short stories or story collections this year. That wasn’t even on my radar last year. If I hadn’t done that, I could’ve probably written Novel B.
As for next year’s resolutions? Not set yet. I’ll have to make some in the next couple of days or else I suspect life will distract me to the point where I accomplish nothing writing-wise, which would be a disappointment to me.
One I can probably already say I’ll make is to hit 100 subs total, since rumor has it that’s the magical point where I should actually make a sale.
Well, six hours until the end of 2013 and, if I don’t sub a short story before then I’ll be entering 2014 with a clean slate. Hmmm….decisions. Clean slate or keep the momentum going?