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End of 2015 – End of One Year One Hundred Rejections Challenge

Final tally for 2015:

Submissions: 5
Acceptances: 1
Rejections: 40

On one hand, I am happy I hit 40 by the end of the year. It’s no where close to l00, but that number is larger than 2014 and lets me know I’m getting my work out there.

On the other hand, technically I failed. Big time.

I can’t help but look back and think, What if I worked harder? Wrote more? How would my numbers look better?

But all these questions will drive me crazy. I’m going to let them go. New year, new start.

When I started this challenge, I only wanted to submit more. I felt I was slacking in this department, endlessly rewriting and not putting myself out there. And it worked, I feel like I really made an effort and will keep making the effort. Now that I’m not in school, I have much more time.

And time management is now an important aspect of my writing career. I have to get better at this. Spending a year focused on submitting took away from my other writing duties. (See my upcoming Goals for 2016 post for more.)

Here are some other takeaways from this challenge:

・    I write weird stuff. I need to get better at finding places that like those stories. I have lists upon lists of journals and magazines, but I need to get better at knowing my markets. This year I found a whole new group that I hadn’t heard about.
・    Aim high. Not going to lie. I like getting paid for my work. Exposure is nice when you are first starting out, but really I aim for the paying markets first. This doesn’t mean that all unpaid markets are bad, but I have seen some places that are straight up scams. No I’m not going to sell all my rights to this story forever and ever for an on-line posting. No I’m not going to pay you (a stupid large amount of money) to read my story. I don’t pay any fees at all, but I don’t have anything against small, struggling places who charge a dollar (or so) reading fee. My issues is with the well funded places that charge a fee and then don’t pay the writer! That’s wrong.
・    Social media can be so helpful! Because of Twitter/Facebook Groups/E-mail lists I know when places are open/taking submissions.
・    When rejections come in, it’s best to mail them right back out… unless you have a place in mind and they don’t open for a couple of days or so.

So, I will continue to submit, but not post the numbers every month (but I will be sure to make a note when I hit 100). I really enjoyed this challenge and urge anyone who is shy about submitting to try it. Once they start to pile up, you start to get more and more efficient. It becomes a process and your stories stop being your “precious babies” and instead are just your stories. Fun, well-written, stories that you want to share. The depersonalization helps get you working. And this important point is the BEST (to me) reason to do this challenge.

GET TO WORK.

Thanks for sticking with me this year. Let’s see what new adventures and challenges I find in 2016.

All the Books I Have Read in 2015

Some of the books I read this year.

Some of the books I read this year.



All the books I have read in 2015 (in no particular order):

Get In Trouble – Kelly Link
The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova
Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
Well of Ascension – Brandon Sanderson
Hero of Ages – Brandon Sanderson
Alloy of Law – Brandon Sanderson
Shadow of Self – Brandon Sanderson
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
The Shining Girls – Lauren Buekes
Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N K Jemison
Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town – Cory Doctorow
Quatrain – Sharon Shinn
The Corrections – Jonathan Franzen
Millionare Women Next Door – Thomas J. Stanley
Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith
The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
Dear Robot Anthology – ed. Kelly Ann Jacobson

Mid-December 2015 Update — The Challenge is Almost Done!

Well, my modem decided that this was the week to act up. After a long conversation with Verizon, I have a new modem and hopefully no more internet problems.

The year is winding down and I think this will be it for rejections. I have a lot of thoughts about this year that I will save for another post closer to the end of the month. But for now I will say that this challenge was one of the best I ever took on. Even though I got no where near 100 rejections, I pushed myself, submitted, and got work done. There were some other goals I had for this year that I also want to talk about, but again, later.

Here are the numbers so far (and these probably won’t change):
Submissions: 5
Acceptances: 1
Rejections: 36

As I move into 2016, I will continue to submit, but I don’t think I will keep recording my rejections. (Although when I hit 100, I will definitely note it.) While it is good to keep track and have work out in the world for publication, my production goals are way down. I need to find balance between submitting and writing. Do I take a month off and work on my longer works and let the stories pile up? Or do I spend more time submitting what I have and take longer to finish my new work? I know there is a happy medium and I have to find it. I’m thinking I just have to devote one day (maybe Sunday) as “business of writing day” and the other 6 days are “writing” days.

Then there are blog posts and keeping up with all the industry news. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I love to retweet interesting essays.

Yes, I that is work.

And yes, I love it.

But still, sometimes I feel like I read more about writing, than actually write. And while I do think it is important to keep up with literary news, I also got to get my word count.

Balance.

That’s going to be a big goal in 2016. When I was at JHU, I was totally concentrated on one thing – finishing the class. Now there is no finish line. There is just the end of the story and on to the next. It’s wonderful and daunting at the same time.

Wonderful because I love stories and can’t wait to see what my brain wants to explore.

Daunting because it is never ending. Just when I think I won’t have another idea, I get three more…

LOL. Writer problems.

I’m on vacation until January 4th (Yay!), so over the next week or so, I’ll be posting my final thoughts on this challenge, my reading list for the year (and reading goals for 2016), goals for 2016, and any other new stuff I think about. Until then…

Happy Holidays!

And if you’re not religious –

Enjoy your time off and Happy Reading & Writing!

Internet Problems

This is a quick note to say that I am having internet problems and will post my Mid-December update as soon as I can. Thanks!

 

–Christina

Dear Robot Blog Hop – #iamhuman

This blog post is part of a blog hop for the Dear Robot Anthology. Please click here for details on the editor, Kelly Ann Jacobson, inspiration for the anthology and to links to other contributor’s stories. There is also a Goodreads sponsored giveaway until December 10th.

You know you want to get this book! Who doesn’t want a free book?

Here’s the story behind the story –

The ticket that started it all.

One year ago, on a cold December night, a handful of fantasy authors and their supporters gathered together in a local writing center. The night was the book release for the anthology Magical. I came to support my fellow contributors with a couple of friends and my mom in tow. The reading was fun and after, when we all were chatting and swapping autographs, the editor, Kelly, let it slip she had thought about another anthology.

“I’m thinking some science fiction,” she said.
“Ooo,” I said. “That sounds interesting.”
“Yeah, but I’m not sure yet. Anthologies are so much work. I’ll have to see.”

After that night, I didn’t think much about the antho. My final class for my MA was coming up and I had to shift my attention to my other stories. In no time spring came, my class was done, and I graduated. Kelly’s e-mail about her new anthology submission call came about a month later in June.

My first thought was, Epistolary Science Fiction????

Now that was new.

To be honest, my brain was fried in June. I was out of ideas and more focused on my brother’s up coming wedding rather than coming up with a brand new story. So I pushed it to the back of my mind. I had time. I would think of something.

In July, I felt more refreshed and ready to write. Sometime in the first week or so, a couple of odd things happened. First I went through some of my old papers, and by old I mean OVER 5 years. I found a few abandoned stories I never finished, but there was a story I wrote in 2005 or 2006 that I couldn’t find. I had thought maybe I would finish it.

Sadly, I think somewhere in the three household moves I’ve made in the last ten years the story got lost. Maybe tossed away in a stack of papers I thought were worthless. I was bummed because I loved the idea of that story, but I had never had a clear vision of how to finish it. I imaged an earth far in the future, where people had flexible genders, flexible sexuality, and flexible ethnicities. It was a daunting task to describe a world like this (mostly because I had to think about how this world would come into being in a realistic way) and keep it in the realm of short story. It was the kind of story I couldn’t write in my twenties, but could now in my thirties (or at least wanted to try).

So I stripped away the previous story (had to there were no reference points for me to refresh my memory) and instead focused on exploring the world’s origins. The pre-story, if you will. What would the early days of this new reality look like? Why would humans change themselves?

The second event was a late night idea I had of a teenage girl, who was getting surgery to get into college. I saw her clearly, red-hair, freckles, and reading a thick paperback waiting nervously for her doctor. Why was she there? I wanted to know more.

Combine those two ideas and my love of long form essays, and you have my story “#iamhuman.” I wrote it in a blistering three day focus, set it aside for a week, read it over, and sent it to Kelly.

A few weeks later, she accepted it.