goals, Magic of the Everyday, Writing

Accounting for the Year 2012

2013 is right around the corner (quite literally if you consider the calendar’s weekend to be ‘a corner’ the way I do), so it’s time for the obligatory look back. It’s obligatory for a reason: most people find it useful to see what goals were met, what slipped by un-noticed (good or bad), where we failed, and what trends we can cipher out of all this.

In January I posted my goals, and in August I did a mid-year review. Since then, my goal of 2 stories finished per month is still hit-or-miss. August saw three finished stories, but September only one. October I swung back with 2 finishes, and November had 2 again, but with December almost over I have finished no stories at all. (Sigh.) December is always a difficult month, and this year was no exception, but still–no finished stories is just sad. Lesson learned? Don’t make great plans for December. No check for this goal.

To repeat August’s post, for the record, I’m actively writing on:

  • First Draft: 3
  • Later Editing Drafts: 7
  • At the Writers’ Group: 0
  • On indefinite “Pause” for thinking: 4
  • Ideas Consciously Percolating: 10-12

I saw progress on my first stated goal, improving my craft in the areas of character arc and conflict. I’m sure of this now, and my acceptance in the Cajun Sushi Hamsters brought it home to me that I’m growing as a writer (yay!). Consciously focusing on those areas reminded me with each story I started that I needed to hone those specific skills.

Also helpful were beta-reading for another author and reading slush for Blue Shift. Seeing a novel-in-progess, and tracking that progress, was invaluable. Reading the early draft, seeing those less-than-polished words, reminded me that published novelists are not gods with superhuman abilities, but humans like me who have practiced longer or better. Which means that I can get there too! It also let me see the comments made by other alpha and beta readers, to see how their opinions differed from or echoed my own, and how the author dealt with both situations.

Blue Shift’s slush showed me the difference between an almost-acceptable story and an acceptable one. Getting a peek into the editing processes of Bryan Thomas Schmidt (the editor) was a treat, too. With a touch of his editing, stories went from ‘good’ to ‘really good.’ In other words, I can whole-heartedly recommend slush reading to put a new spin on how you see your own writing. It’s already had an effect on mine.

Finally, I have 6 submissions out right now, and have maintained that number for most of the year, so that is a goal well-met. I’m continuing that in the new year with the Write 1/Sub 1 program. This should help light a fire under my backside by giving me goals and deadlines to meet each month, which in turn will up my submission rate as well as the end-of-year quality of my writing (which is the real reason for all of this).

Here’s the year-end tally of my submissions for 2012:

  • Submissions: 36
  • Acceptances: 4
  • Pending: 6
  • Withdrawals: 1
  • Rejections: 24

It’s been a busy year, and I hope that 2013 will be even better, bringing more submissions, more acceptances (oh, fingers are crossed) and maybe even acceptance at one of the Clarions or Odyssey (fingers double-crossed!).

redfoxUntil then, let me share this bit of news. Yesterday hubby (working from home) and I saw a red fox darting across the steep slope of the riverbank across the way. Today it was a buck deer. Is this another ominous animal messenger foretelling massive rejections in the near future? Only time will tell, but I’m hard at work thinking up new stories to slip into the gap left by stories sliding into the trunk.