New Year’s Reckoning!

With the gift-giving holidays nearly at an end, and New Year’s looming, I thought it was about time to take a look back on 2015’s successes and…not-successes. 2015’s goals included:

  1. Read 30 books for the year, in addition to reading 1 short-fiction venue per month. 
  2. Write everyday.
  3. (Optional) Edit “Lunar Lots” to a submittable, final version.
  4. Submit & keep rotating one new short story a month, for a total of 12 new submissions this year.

I was pretty ambitious with my writing goals for last year, coming off the high of a four-month streak of getting new stories out to markets. Of the seven stories I rotated this year (which, for the record, is the most fiction I’ve ever had out to markets at any given time, so slap on the back for that!), one sold to Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, and should be coming out shortly after New Year’s. So I’m pretty pleased with that (though, Fate’s willing, it’d be great to place the others, too!). I also received a number of kind, personalized rejections after making it through several slush piles at markets I love, so while it’s frustrating to be rejected, at the same time, it’s really encouraging to hear, “Try us again!” I hope it’s a trend that continues (and that I’ll eventually break through at those markets to an unequivocal “Yes!”).

I’d hoped to get a lot more new fiction submitted this year, but time and tides have been hard to predict this year. With the Little Guy turning the big 0-1, and the Doctor starting his residency, moving, and adapting to everything implied by those life-changing events, it’s been a battle to write as regularly as I’d like. However, I did manage to keep almost all of those seven stories out rotating, save for a few which still need some specific tweaking (thanks to those personalized rejections!). And regular or not, I actually *did* write more new fiction this year than I did last year. While I managed to submit a lot last year, it was mostly work I’d written previously and simply edited to submit, rather than producing new words. This year, I’ve made it a priority to write *new* stuff, and am pretty happy with the results. Nothing feels quite so good as getting new words down on paper!

Reading was impacted by those same life-events I mentioned above, but although I didn’t hit my 30 book goal, I did read almost two-thirds of that, which I’m pretty proud about, given the chaotic nature of this past year. I’ll be posting my Top Five of 2015 on the blog shortly. I’m hoping to be a bit more aggressive this year, and though I’m still setting the goal at 30 books, I think I’ve got a better feel for what life’s pace is like these days, and I’ll be content to get all 30!

As for the reading one short fiction market a month…Ahahahahahahaha-a! Yeah, no. Not even close. I think I failed at that one before January 2015 was up. I’m not sure if it’s the length of the goal (a month gives me a long time to procrastinate), or due to my general distractibility this year, but I simply could not keep up with that goal. Maybe in the future I’ll count a magazine issue as a “book” on my reading list. That might light a fire under my bum to get that done. It’s something I *know* I need to do more, and I really enjoy it when I do. I did work my way through a chunk of DailySF‘s backlog, which ignited a passion for flash fiction, so we’ll see where that leads!

One thing is for certain: I need to find a way to keep better track of my overall metrics. 2015 was a crazy year, with lots of changes (some expected, some not; some great, some not so much), but all-in-all I’m feeling pretty good about what little I managed to get done and stay somewhat on track. I *did* start editing “Lunar Lots” and have a second draft all mapped out and ready to go at the start of 2016, so that’s something to look forward to. I also attended the final Mo*Con in Indianapolis (my first con post-motherhood with my BF Kelly), and got to hang out with a bunch of fabulous folks I don’t get a chance to see very often (Jason, Geoff, Chesya, Maurice, Jerry, Janet, Doug, & Rodney–I’m looking at you and those bacon babies! You know what you know and you can’t *un-know*!) And I sold a story, so I’m chuffed about that, too! Of course, I’d love to sell more, but it’s a start, and I’ll take it. 1-in-7 ain’t too shabby for me. :)

Next year, I’ll try to establish a better metrics tracking system of some kind, but here’s what little I’ve got for 2015:

Rejections: (Personal) 9, (Form) 31.
Sales: 1
New (Rough Draft) Short Fiction Projects: 11
Books Read: (Fiction) 9, (Non-Fiction) 3, (Writing-Related) 5.

Onward and upward to 2016!

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