The Year in Review (2020) & The Year Ahead (2021)

Boy, what a year, am I right? It started waaaaaaay back in January, when I was super pregnant and waiting for Goldbug to show up, and then within weeks it turned into The Plague Year 2020. Who knew?

Life-wise, we had a lot of changes. Goldbug came along mid-January and increased the heart containers in the family unit to four. I took the Writing the Weird class via LitReactor and instructor JS Breukelaar, which was freaking amazing, and led to three of the four short story drafts I wrote this year, including the story “More than Instinct,” which will appear in an upcoming issue of Daily Science Fiction. I sold four new stories this year–Up from two last year, which is a record for me!–and saw four stories published, the last two queued up for 2021.

“Tower’s End” appeared in February 2020 in the Bronzeville Bee online ‘zine; “The Miracle of Jane” appeared in Bards & Sages Quarterly in April 2020; “Rhapsody in Flesh Minor” appeared in Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror in June 2020; and “Any Day but Today…” appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine in June/July 2020. The two stories sold but awaiting publication in 2021 are “Deadhead” in Abyss & Apex, and “More than Instinct” in Daily Science Fiction.

In September, I took Realizing Your World, a character-centric world-building course on LitReactor by author Gwenda Bond, and in November, I took the Creative Writing 1 course from the Australian Writer’s Centre, which was fabulous. I met some wonderful new friends and fellow authors, and I’m signed up to begin Novel Writing Essentials from AWC in January 2021, which will hopefully kick my butt and get me generating a decent rewrite draft of Frosthaven. This year, it’s been much easier for me to make time for writing with a course assignment breathing down my neck. And I finally purchased my own domain name for this site, which makes me feel *terribly official*. XD

So it’s been an amazing year for writing, despite adorably distracting babies and everything else seemingly burning down around us! Who’d have thunk it? In quick summary, here are the rough goals I had from last year, which I intend only to try to improve on a little year-to-year. Some of them were missed more because of the good year of sales (more sales = less stories submitted = less submission attempts), so I’m not beating myself up over those. I can tell by looking at the numbers that it was not a big “production” year, in terms of writing new drafts, which is 100% due to baby and moving and remote schooling, though I’ve picked up the pace again in recent weeks, and should be able to do better this next year. Maybe I’ll give myself a Chekhov month sometime in 2021… I could use the “just bang out drafts” method to stock up my submittable pile!

YEAR IN REVIEW (2020 / 2019)

Submission Attempts: 12 / 39

New Submissions: 2 / 3

Personal Rejections: 1 / 8

New Rough Drafts: 4 / 3

Total Word Count: ~32,500 / 114,000

Stories Sold: 4 / 2

Books Read: 23 / 42


All told, not a terrible year. Fell short of a few markers from 2019, but I doubt anyone will say that 2020 was a normal year, and it wouldn’t have been normal for me regardless due to the arrival of the new baby. My one worry is that by not having as many short story rough drafts waiting to be dusted off, my ability to turn around and submit more fiction next year may be a bit stymied. Still, I have several from this year that I wanted to edit and submit that I just didn’t manage to find the time to work on, so perhaps next year will be better for those as we’re all settled into our more normal routines. I’m actually pleased that I managed to read half of what my reading was last year, because I’ve been doing SO BAD at reading lately. That’s definitely something to revisit this coming year. Word count-wise, again, not surprised at the lower output, due to baby and sleep exhaustion. It’s also probably a bit of an undercount (probably not that much of an undercount, but some) due to my really awful method of tracking daily word counts, so I need to do better on that next year. I’ve started jotting down my daily counts in my notebook whenever I finish, though I’d love to have a more formal notation practice to both track process and progress. I think this next year I’ll also start tracking word count for submitted work and new rough drafts, as I’m branching out into novels more, and those just take a lot more time and words for a rough draft. Personal rejections and sales are both things I just track, since I technically have no say in what they end up being in a year (set goals for what you can control, right?), but it’s nice to see the numbers if only to gauge the success of the year.


So that all said, my upcoming “goals” (really, just totals markers) are as follows:

New Submissions: 4
(one more than 2019’s 3 submissions, which is a personal record)

New Rough Drafts: 5
(1 = Novel Rewrite draft, 4 = short stories)

New Summary Drafts: 1
(I’m going back to this method to see if it helps me plan books better)

Total Word Count: 100,000
(Theoretically, 80k novel draft, 20k in new short fiction of ~5k each)

Books Read: 50
(This may still be a stretch, but I’m starting to find times when I can focus on reading, so I think this will become easier with time and tracking)

As for the rest, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we? Happy New Year, folks! Hope 2021 is kinder to us all! :D

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