January Writing Round-Up

New year, new round-up format!

WHAT WORKED
I spent so much time reading this month! Ten books. TEN. That’s a full third of my goal this year! I’m going to feel so well-read by the time I get to my Boskone panels. This is totally all due to manuscript avoidance, but HEY. I. Read. Good. Books. That’s a win all on its own.

I’ve been enjoying the annual Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. One week of the 5-flashes-in-5-weeks contest. I think two of the ones I’ve written this year are good enough to go somewhere. The others will be great trunked seeds for something later on. Who knows what this (final) weekend will bring!

I wrote a story mid-week and it flew from my fingers fully formed. It was great and I can’t wait to get comments back so I can shine it up pretty and submit it to the market I wrote it for.
WHERE I STRUGGLED
Life. Is life ever not a struggle? I’ve been dealing with existential dread on every level: politics, novel querying, novel drafting, short story submissions, and on and on and on. I’ve got a couple of coping mechanisms that work just enough, but I need to not play manuscript avoidance forever. Time to get the butt in the chair.

Words on the page. I really wanted about double my goal for this month, but I’ll take what I got. It was my most productive month since last May when I was drafting my novella, so frustrated or not, it was an objectively good month. Now I just need to tell my head that.
BY THE NUMBERS

  • Words written: 16,167/200,000 (on track!!!)
  • New works (goal: 12 new shorter works submitted in 2018):
    • Started: 6
    • Drafted: 5
    • Revised: 0
    • Submitted: 0
  • Books read: 10/30 (see above)

 

August Writing Round-Up

Hey, guess what. That book I’ve been writing for almost three years? Yeah that one? Yeah I finished it. (Somewhere in the peanut gallery, someone shouts, “Again?!” To which I reply: “ITSTHEFOURTHDRAFTTHISISWRITINGHUSH.”)

It has been a highly consistent month of writing–I was either revising or writing all but four days this month–and it shows. The novel revision is done. The novella revision is so close. I got a new story out this month. And though the wins never come quite often enough to beat the brain weasels back entirely, I’ve been reminded again and again that friends and family help beat back the rest. The successes this month, the ending on a high note: that’s because I put the work in and because when it didn’t make enough of a difference I had good people there to remind me that I put the work in. So if you were one of those people, thank you.

  • Words Written: 4,281  (YTD: 116,508 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+) Concerned that this bullet has been low for months? Yeah, me too, but that’s only because I’ve been revising and bumbling about with flash. Just wait till I start the next novel.
  • Works Complete: 1 (YTD: 8 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 6 (YTD: 58)
  • Books Read: 3 (YTD: 16 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • My story “The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth” over at Shimmer has gotten some great reviews (links on my bibliography page!)
    • 7 rejections this month, with 2 gut-wrenching, celebrate-the-honorable-loss personals
    • This is big so I need to say it again: I FINISHED REVISING THE BOTANZIER!
    • I started revising my friendly-contest-among-pros-winning novella and it’s…really guys, it’s good. I can’t wait to share it.
    • Still fundraising read a bit more here.
    • Days I’ve written/revised this month: 27/31 (Does another victory lap)
    • Days written since the inauguration: 150/222
    • Longest streak: 31 days (SO CLOSE)

So what’s on the docket for next month? Botanizer-related stuff that I’ll share in one big post (or maybe a series) at some point; sending out the novella to a few sensitivity and beta readers; and starting the next big project. I’ll keep you posted!

May Writing Round-Up

It’s been a busy but focused month. I feel good about where I am right now even though I’m still scrambling to make up for ground lost in the craziness of the two months before. Most importantly: I like the things I’ve been writing and have all month. And isn’t that one of the hardest things to maintain as a writer? So without further ado, here are the numbers.

  • Words Written: 18,789  (YTD: 105,799 | 2017 Goal: 200,000+)
  • Works Complete: 2 (YTD: 5 | 2017 Goal: 10)
  • Submissions to Paying Markets: 5 (YTD: 37)
  • Books Read: 3 (YTD: 11 | 2017 Goal: 30)
  • PLUS
    • SALE! You may remember this post from earlier this month about my sale to Cast of Wonders. Fun note: the illustration in the post will be used for the episode, too! ❤
    • 6 rejections (all forms, #sadtrombone)
    • Revisions to Botanizer have been happening! I’ve hit the scary part where things will start to change substantially this draft. See this Twitter thread for my visceral reactions to this. Only 22 days to SFFPit!
    • I FINISHED THE NOVELLA and I’m very proud of it. Really, really, really proud. Of course, it’s in draft form and will need be revised. Feedback via the Codex Contest is forthcoming, and I definitely will not put this work ahead of Botanzier.
    • I finished a short story and critiqued it with my writing group! I still need to revise it, but I love it and where it’s going.
    • Days I’ve written this month: 23/30
    • Days written since the inauguration: 83/130
    • Longest streak: 31 days

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!

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

 

September Writing Round-up

It’s been quite a month! I’m not even sure where it went, but I can say that I got some good work done.

  • Fifth rejection! If rejected short stories tell you anything good about a writer, they are, at the very least, proof that the writer is submitting. Can’t publish if you don’t submit; can’t submit without facing rejection. So I got my fifth-ever rejection from a short story market today. Time to throw a rejection party!
  • Three submissions. No, not three new stories, but three opportunities taken. I got my SFish piece out the door, put “Taking Care of Business” out for a potential reprint opportunity, and sent the third story to a new market. I might be able to log 10 submissions this year, depending on the turn-around on the existing submissions and how many more shorts are in my immediate future. It’s not exactly a square in Career Bingo, but it’s close.
  • One new short story in progress. A Halloween-y story for a friendly contest on Codex. Trying out second-world fantasy in short form. The big question: can I get it done by next weekend and keep it under the required 5k? We’ll see.
  • NOVEL PROGRESS. Okay, seriously. It’s been slow, but there. I pushed through a few chapters, struggled, pushed through, struggled. And then I needed to get the SFish piece out the door and had some freelance stuff come up. You know, life. So here’s the goal: I will finish the novel revision by Oct 31. There, I said it. Expect a Halloween update from me with good news on that front.
  • I also had the exciting opportunity to put my name in as a potential panelist to two local SFF conventions, Arisia and Boskone. I filled out my participant surveys for both and will hear back about whether they think I’m a good fit for this year’s panel selection or not. I’m thrilled to give this a go. In addition, I suggested a workshop for GrubStreet’s Muse and the Marketplace conference in May. So next year there might be a great deal of public speaking to do. And if you know me, you know this is a good thing.
  • Some Stuff I Read this Month (last month I did a “Stuff I Read on the Internet” section, but this month was more about fiction online and offline, so…)
    • The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. My review on Goodreads says it all: SO. RUSTING. GOOD.
    • Saga, Vol. 1. Everyone said I needed to read this and everyone was right. Can’t wait to get my hands on the next one!
    • “A Ladies’ Guide to Collecting Mermaid Love Songs” (Daily Science Fiction) by Aimee Picci, one of my very talented Viable Paradise XVIII classmates.
    • There was more but these things floated to the surface for me when drafting this
  • Upcoming Goals
    • Oct 8 Finish/submit story for Codex Halloween contest
    • Oct 12-14 Attend Paradise Regained (VP reunion!)
    • Oct 31 Finish novel revisions
    • Nov 30 Finish NaNoWriMo OR a novella
    • Dec 31 Submit 10 times in 2016
    • Dec 31 Finish 5 pieces (any length) in 2016

August Writing Round-Up

In the first of what I hope will be a series, here’s a look at my writing life in the last month and resources I’ve found particularly helpful.

  • Short story sold! Is there anyone on the internet who doesn’t know that I sold my first short story this month? Check out Sword & Steam Short Stories‘ full TOC and marvel at what looks to be a really cool anthology. Add it to your Goodreads shelf and then pre-order a copy!
  • Two new shorts written:
    • one a [redacted]-punk story I submitted to both my writing group’s contest (anonymous, hence the redaction) and to a magazine.
    • one near-future sci-fi that got written in all of three hours; it caught me off guard I’m excited about it
  • Novel progress! Yes I promise I’m still working on it. I’m making some really solid headway on this revision and am enthused.
  •  Grant application sent. I applied for a Sustainable Arts Foundation grant, which go to artists who are also parents. Long shot? Yes. But what about writing isn’t  long shot? If you’re a parent and an artist, apply. Deadline is tomorrow!
  • I was honored to be a Sentient Squid Scholarship recipient which afforded me the opportunity to take two excellent Writing the Other classes:
    • The Writing the Other Weekend Intensive: A weekend-long online course–taught live by Nisi Shawl and K Tempest Bradford–focusing on writing in an educated and sensitive manner about people who don’t look or live like you. We looked at specific categories through which people are othered (e.g., race, gender/sexuality, and class) and also craft issues (e.g., dialogue and worldbuilding) that can create problematic fiction if done wrong or really brilliant fiction if done right. I particularly loved the exercises, which have already made me think about my work differently (see “Novel progress!” and one of the short stories mentioned above).
    • Writing Native American Characters Master Class: This two-hour class was packed with information, but it topic is deep enough to fill two days or two years or two lifetimes. The estimable Debbie Reese gave us a 101-level overview of issues in Native American communities–especially as they are often presented in fiction. Even thought I’ve been dutifully researching issues that would have been at the forefront of my Abenaki and Métis characters’ lives, Debbie’s lecture gave me more questions to ask. I have books to read, listening to do, and some hard thinking about everything from half-mentioned details to important plot points.
    • General thoughts: Based on my experiences, I highly recommend the Writing the Other classes. The instructors are great. The alumni group is great. And the information you get is invaluable. We’re all always learning, and this is a safe and carefully crafted space in which to further the skill of writing others without othering.
  • Stuff I Read on the Internet