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Final Post for 2014

Last post for 2014. What a year it has been. As I write, my last story is almost done. I still need to write the ending, but I have one more day left in the month, so time is not up yet. Barring any serious distractions, I should be done by tomorrow afternoon. So finishing 12 pieces for the year completes one goal I had for 2014. This doesn’t even count the numerous short critical essays, fiction, and analyses I did for class. Plus the posts I did for this blog. At last count I wrote about 8,000 words this year for the blog. All that stuff is just bonus material. Who knows when I will have to whip out my thoughts on Chekhov’s Gustav.

Anyway, let’s review the goals I had for the year.

Goal #1 – Finish 12 short stories for the year and one long piece.

I have 12 (or 11 and ¾) pieces finished. I say “pieces” because I did write some personal essays and submitted them for publication. I figured essays took just as much time as a short story, so they should count. My longer piece I did stall out on, but I will get back to it sooner or later. I have a lot on my plate right now, so I’m not in a hurry to get back to the story. It can wait.

Goal #2 – Sell one short story.

Done and Done. Saw my first story in print this year.

Goal #3 – Read at least 25 books this year.

Got through 16 this year. Considering that I only read one while I was in class last semester, I think that is pretty good. My last class was purely on short stories and I read 100-200 pages a week. There was just no time to read stories for class and other books.

Goal #4 – Buy no new books, unless I get gift cards.

Yeah, that goal is a bust.

Goal #5 – Get my credit card balance down.

Truthfully, it is only a little higher than it was last year. I pay down the balance, just to see it go back up again with my school tuition. But I don’t have anymore classes to pay for, so I should see some real progress this year.

For 2015, I have some new goals:

Goal #1 – Write 2 new pieces a month.

I managed to write about one a month, so I can up my game and make it two. It will be tough come spring because of thesis, but I’m going to try. Maybe more flash fiction…

Goal #2 – Finish a longer piece.

I have a lot of other projects I need to get to work on. If I really want to scare myself, I write them all down. I have ideas for days. But because of school, I have to put them on the back burner. Hopefully after this spring, I can really devote some time to these longer projects.

Goal #3 – Teach myself how to format, design a cover, and upload a book for self-publishing. This is something I’ve been thinking about over the past 6 months. I’m really curious about self-publishing and would love to give it a shot. Might be fun.

Goal #4 – One Year, One Hundred Rejections

I’m going to try this challenge. I goal is too get 100 rejections over the course of one year. Even if I don’t hit the number, that is an insane amount of submissions for one year. Way more than I did in 2014 and 2013 combined.

Thoughts on Rejection

One thing you get used to as a writer is rejection. Exactly, one year ago I got the harshest rejection letter I have ever gotten. Over the years I have gotten every kind of rejection: a form rejection, a nice, well meaning letter, a detailed, helpful note, and finally nothing at all. But I never got anything mean.

That was hurtful and something I consider unprofessional. I don’t think I will ever submit to that market again (And no I won’t name them. People change frequently in publishing, so I don’t want a publication to have a bad reputation from my one negative experience, esp. if that reader/editor is no longer there). It depressed me and you can see the results. I didn’t post here for months. I loved the story and to have it and myself insulted was tough.

By April, I pulled myself out. In truth, I didn’t really write much in January through April. I didn’t do much at all. But the warm spring days brightened my spirits and I was back at work soon enough. I wrote more stories and submitted.

Nine months after that harsh note, I got my first story accepted.

I write this because I think the worst has happened in my submitting. My fear about writing (that someone will completely hate my writing and tell me so) was fully realized.

And I survived.

If I had given up after that rejection, I would never be where I am today. I wouldn’t have all these new stories written, my story in the anthology wouldn’t exist, and I would probably be an unhappy person thinking that I should be writing and submitting. But now, I am ending this year on a good note. I pushed through the tough moments and was able to experience the good. That is the lesson I take with me into the new year.

I’ll see you in 2015!

Goal Line in Sight

I’m looking at you December. You’re almost gone and I’m trying not to notice. The fall has gone quickly and now I am staring at the end of the year in my sights. This is the last week of classes for me. I’ve completed everything for the class, save showing up and having one last discussion in class on Bluebeard. (Side note: I had no idea there were so many stories about Bluebeard! Really, it is a bit nuts.) So the pressure is off. I have registered for my thesis class, worked on my stories, completed the form for the class, and have a few short weeks before I will begin my final work.

In the beginning of the year, I laid out some goals. Currently, I have 11 completed pieces and I have no doubt that I will get the last one done by the end of the year. I have 15 days of vacation in December, so I have lots of time to write.

Other goals might not happen. I left the goal of buying books wayyyy behind earlier this year. But I won’t meet my reading goals. In truth, school just kept my too busy. Even though I read books for class, I just didn’t get to all the other books I have on my list to read. The class I’m in now is for short stories and those handouts came first. So it’s hard to read for pleasure when you have to get through 100-200 pages of short stories for class. All in all, I’ll get through about 20 books. My goal was 25, but I’ll take the 20.

I got one story published. So that goal was hit. Yay!

Ah the credit card… Yeah, grad school is still expensive. If I hadn’t gotten furloughed this might have been a kept goal, but two weeks with no pay hurts. Writers need all the money they can get.

Finally, I have my goal of completing one longer work. I haven’t finished it, but I have more words than I did before. I don’t know if I will finish by the end of the year, but I am not disappointed. It is coming along. Maybe I will get to it too over vacation.

It is vacation after all. I gotta hit some of those after X-mas sales!

Looking ahead for 2015, I still think I want to try the One Year, One Hundred Rejections. I have lots of material now, so time to submit more stuff. Also, I want to keep up the pace of one new piece each month. I can speed up after I graduate, but I want to keep it low for now.

Back at the end of December with final numbers.