April Writing Round-Up

This month was more than a little crazy. There was a death in the family. I struggled through some tough stretches with my kid. And I got off on the wrong foot with a story that just ate away at me. None of that is good for work ethic. That said, until I got the worst news of the month last week, I was actually on-target for my meager word count goal and had found my footing again. Here’s to getting back on the horse again this week and month!

  • Words Written: 12,297  (YTD: 87,010 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 0 (YTD: 3 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 7 (YTD: 32)
  • Books Read: 1 (YTD: 8 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • 7 rejections (1 personal)
    • Revisions to Botanizer have been slow, but I’ve got a pile of interlibrary loan books to get through and it’s my top priority this month.
    • A major source of words this month was a novella I’m writing for the Codex Novella Contest. I’m really loving what I have, but it’s not a full novella yet and I have (checks calendar) two weeks in which to finish it. Time to bite my nails…
    • Days I’ve written this month: 13/30
    • Days written since the inauguration: 60/100
    • Longest streak: 31 days

May is my refocus month. I want the novella and a short story done. And I want to make measurable headway on Botanizer. There’s too much to do and not enough time to do it. We’ll see how it goes…

BUT: Look for more news! And soon!

March Writing Round-Up

This month’s round-up is the perfect example of why I need these. I had some big wins early on, but a slow week has gotten me into a funk. So let’s review the month and scare off some brain-weasels, shall we?

 

  • STORY SALE: I will write a whole post for this when I know for sure when it will publish, but I sold “The Moon, The Sun, and the Truth” to Shimmer (yes SHIMMER, #squee) this month! I couldn’t be more proud of this little former-flash future-Western-dystopia that I wrote for the Codex Weekend Warrior flash contest in January. If you were at my Boskone reading in February, you heard it. Expect to see it later this year.
  • Words Written: 17,211  (YTD: 74,713 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 1 novel! #Brains is done and with a few readers! (YTD: 3 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 5 (YTD: 27)
  • Books Read: 0 — but only because I beta-read two novels for friends (YTD: 7 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • 2 rejections (both forms) and 1 SALE
    • Of my 7 active submissions, 4 have been bumped from slush/are in editors’ hold piles
    • Did I mention that I finished #Brains? I’m quite happy with the result, draft though it is.
    • My critique for Botanizer was amazing. Revising has been slow–partly because revising is slow and partly because life.
    • Days I’ve written this month: 13/31
    • Days written since the inauguration: 47/69
    • Longest streak: 31 days

Still wanting to get a short written, revised, and submitted by the end of April, but I’ll be tackling a novella mid-Botanizer revisions so…we’ll see?

February Writing Round-Up

Twenty-eight days of work. Twenty-eight days of not taking any downtime for the sake of downtime. This has been a good month.

  • Words Written: 33,543  (YTD: 55,981 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 1 flash piece finished, revised, and submitted! (YTD: 2 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 9 (YTD: 22)
  • Books Read: 4 (YTD: 7* | 2017 Goal: 30) *I think I missed a book in my January report
  • PLUS
    • 7 rejections (1 personal)
    • Attended Bokone 2017 as a panelist and moderator! Best Boskone yet for me!
    • I did take those days and one for prep off of writing, in part because what little down-time I had was given to ELF. But I’m okay with that. That was work, but it wasn’t writing. I’m proud that I got back to it with no hesitation. That’s how it should be.
    • I interviewed author Meg Howrey and the Q&A appeared in Publishers Weekly! I’ve got a few more of these in the work beyond the reviews I’ve been doing for them.
    • Codex Weekend Warrior 2017 wrapped. I wrote 4/5 stories and have revised and subbed 2 of those 4 already this year. Very pleased with the other 3 ideas that came from the contest, and they’re in my queue. I’ll definitely play again next year, and I’m going to shoot for finishing all 5 stories.
    • I’ve entered #PitchMadness! Just a good way to get myself prepped for everything that comes next for Botanizer.
    • Speaking of Botanizer, my critique is next Sunday. #dyingofbrainweasels
    • I ended January with 13k written in #Brains, my jaunty drivel project that has nothing to do with zombies. This month, that MS us up to 45k and counting!
    • Days I’ve written this month: 24/28
    • Days written since the inauguration: 34/38
    • Longest streak: 31 days

A note for March and April: I’ll be moving away from hard-and-fast metrics as I revise. My big goals: 1) Finish #Brains, 2) Revise Botanizer, 3) get a short story written, revised, and submitted.

January Writing Round-Up

It’s been an exhausting month. I can’t even do justice to digesting what’s going on politically. These benchmarks don’t mean a lot in the global sense, but they prove that I’m writing and writing means resisting and that’s something.

  • Words Written: 20,077 (2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 1 flash piece finished, revised, and submitted! (2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 13
  • Books Read: 2 (2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • Attended Arisia 2017 as a panelist and moderated my first-ever panel!
    • 9 rejections (3 personal)
    • Codex Weekend Warrior contest almost finished! For those not in the know: We spend 5 weekends writing a flash story then vote/critique before the next weekend begins. It’s my first year, so there’s been an interesting learning curve. But I’m 1) enjoying myself, 2) producing, and 3) looking forward to doing it again. Of the 4 pieces I’ve written so far, I’ve subbed 1 (see above), need to expand another a little more, and need to expand a third a LOT. The forth is being read this week, so we’ll see!
    • The secret jaunty drivel project known as #Brains is going well. At just under 13k, it’s not as far along as I’d have liked, but HEY it’s progressing and I like it.
    • Days I’ve written this month: 29/31
    • Days written since the inauguration: 11/11
    • Longest streak: 16 days (and counting)

All in all, I’m pretty damn pleased with my progress.

2016 in Review; 2017 in Preview

Happy New Year! Thanks for reading along as I tackle the crazy world of the written word. It’s been a great and happy year and a dark and stormy year. I had some great wins. I had some tough losses. But we all did, and I think it’s important to take a minute to reflect and appreciate what we’ve each accomplished.

Here’s my Year in Words:

  • Words Written: 122,416 (includes fiction, book reviews, blogs, and essays).
  • Works Completed: 5
    • 1 novel
    • 3 short stories
    • 1 esssay
    • plus: book reviews and blog posts
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 19
  • Publications: 1 (my first!)
  • Books Read: 28
  • PLUS
    • Applied to grants and fellowships
    • Got selected for programming for two local cons
    • Got some amazing feedback on my work from fellow writers, editors, and others
    • Attended Paradise Regained, the Viable Paradise reunion, and got some serious recharging done

And here’s what I’m shooting for in 2017:

  • Words to Write: 200,000+
  • Works to Complete: at least 10; there will be short stories aplenty, more novel writing, and hopefully lots of stuff to celebrate
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: As the time it takes markets to review and respond can vary wildly, I can’t really judge how many subs I’ll get in this year, but I hope to keep 3/4 of my revised-and-ready stories on submission for the whole year.
  • Books to Read: 30
  • PLUS
    • Attending two cons as a panelist/moderator
    • Possible travel to an out-of-state con
    • My first novel critique
    • Lots of rejections

 

November Writing Round-Up

Um, wait. It’s December 1?

  • Fifteenth rejection! Such is the business. Also got a rejection for a grant to which I applied, but it included some wonderful positive feedback.
  • Five submissions, three still active.
  • No new short stories. I promised myself I wouldn’t start anything new until after the novel revisions and I stuck with it.
  • NOVEL PROGRESS (everyone’s favorite panic attack) continues well. I made some more great breakthroughs. I’m currently 8 chapters from the end. That could mean a few weeks, a few months, or a few years, depending on how much time I put in.
  • NaNoWriMo went by and I didn’t write a word for it. This is good since I hadn’t finished novel revisions…
  • I went to my writing group’s annual retreat (just for a few hours, really) and it was wonderful as ever. Nothing  like your tribe to keep you sane and productive.
  • I have a tentative schedule for Arisia programming and that makes me very happy. More on that as it happens!
  • I haven’t been reading a lot this month, but I’ve been working, so here’s a STUFF I’VE BEEN DOING segment
    • Calling my Senators/Congressman about issues at the national level. There are, ya know, a few.
    • Calling my state legislators about issues at the state level, from taking a stand against some of the stuff happening at the federal level to bills I’m hoping get reintroduced in the new legislative session. I’ve gotten a really lovely personal call back regarding one issue, and it was great to know that I’d been heard.
    • Calling my city counselors and finding ways to engage with city politics. I live here and I care. Therefore I should be doing more than getting upset when the newspaper reports decisions I don’t like.
    • Donating. To the NoDAPL efforts and in support of the water protectors. To local organizations that matter to my heart. To movements that I believe in.
    • Reading and listening to things that make me mad. I had done this relatively often before, but I think it’s definitely important now. Not knowing another perspective exists excuses nothing.
    • Talking to like-minded friends. Just because there’s an echo doesn’t mean it’s wrong to converse and congregate and share resources.
    • Sending and receiving support from wonderful friends. You guys have helped keep me sane in this crazy time and sending you reassurances has made me stay focused. So thanks.
  • Upcoming Goals
    • Dec 31 Have novel out for critique NO LATER THAN THIS (still doable)
    • Dec 31 Keep at least 3/4 stories on submission at all times
    • Dec 31 Finish 5 pieces (any length) in 2016 (3 down, 2 to go!)

October Writing Round-Up

I don’t know if you like reading these posts, but it turns out that I like writing them, so you’re going to keep getting them. So what have I been up to in the last month?

  • Tenth rejection! *and the crowd goes wild* Yes, I submitted stories often enough in the last month that I got FIVE more rejections. Crazy stuff. Also, of the five rejections, three were personal. And of the personals, one (at least) is getting framed because it was so nice.
  • Six submissions, three still active! That includes one new story in the mix. And I’m working on finding reprint opportunities for “Taking Care of Business.” This means that I’m already one over my ultimate submission goal for the year!
  • One new short story. I missed the deadline for the Codex Halloween contest but then managed to write something after the Viable Paradise reunion. This means I have 3 works finished this year of the 5 that I’d like. Shooting for at least one more short that has been keeping me thinking and thinking, plus the novel (duh)
  • NOVEL PROGRESS (that’s why you’re here, right?) has been amazing. No, I’m not done. Still plugging away far slower than I’d like when it comes to words/day. BUT. I made some really great revisions that have really  made the Dreaded Middle pick up the pace. And my research reading has helped me along significantly. Can’t say enough about how important it is to be well read going into books like this one.
  • NaNoWriMo is probably off the table for me. I am being very strict with myself that I cannot start another sizeable project without finishing the novel.
  • I got two wonderful nods from my peers. Two short stories (both on submission currently) placed in friendly contests, one run by BSpec and one by Viable Paradise alums. I am honored and encouraged by the responses.
  • Viable Paradise’s reunion, Paradise Regained, was exactly that. I needed that weekend so much and will probably be forever thanking the staff for all the extra work they did to host us.
  • Stuff I Read This Month
    • “Writing Begins with Forgiveness: Why One of the Most Common Pieces of Writing Advice Is Wrong” by Daniel Jose Older. This has been keeping me sane this month. I hope it can do the same for you.
    • About Writing by Samuel R. Delany. Still working through this one and I’ll probably start re-reading it when I hit the last page. He bills it as a book for writers who already know what they’re doing, and I don’t feel pandered to. Nor do I feel like I’m being taught literary lessons at the expense of my love for genre. Nor am I learning lessons from genre at the expense of my love for literature. To Delany, talented writing is always that, no matter what you’re writing about. Huge thanks to the Writing the Other instructors for putting this on my radar.
    • Walking the Clouds edited by Grace L. Dillon. I haven’t finished this, but everything I’ve read has been eye opening and great food for thought. I think of all of the books I’ve used for research, this has helped me the most (more on this when I share some experiences about the writing process). I’d hazard a very broad generalization to say that anyone writing SFF should read this anthology, because I think it can only help widen your perspective and because you can never go wrong when you’re reading good work.
  • Upcoming Goals
    • Nov ?? Finish novel revisions (I’m okay now with this taking the time it needs)
    • Nov 30 Finish NaNoWriMo OR a novella (MAYBE. But only after novel revisions!)
    • Dec 31 Have novel out for critique NO LATER THAN THIS (hopefully much earlier)
    • Dec 31 Keep at least 3/4 stories on submission at all times
    • Dec 31 Finish 5 pieces (any length) in 2016 (3 down, 2 to go!)