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!