In a lot of ways, this past year was not a great one for me. I lost a great many idols and inspirations. I saw the appalling reversal of trends that I thought couldn't help but continue to march forward. I went through a semester of teaching that turned out to be more complicated and difficult than the last few have been. I had to find ways to cope with anxiety and depression without the aid of the healthcare system--which frequently meant not coping very well at all.
Let's just say it's been a rough one.
But, in spite of all of that, 2016 might have been the best year ever as far as my writing is concerned.
I don't say that to romanticize suffering in the way that some might. Sure, struggle can sometimes lead to the creation of great art, but it's really hard to create art when you're so deep in a pit of depression that a managing to get up and get a shower feels like a feat worthy of an Olympic medal. This glamorized image of the suffering artist is a problem in a lot of ways, and I could go one about the issues for hours, but that's for another day. What I mean is that, despite (despite and not because of) the difficulties I faced this year, I still managed to do.
I've mentioned before that one of my (many) stumbling blocks with writing has been momentum. I'll come up with an idea, steam ahead for a while, and then lose interest or stop making the time to work. Projects not only got moved to the back burner, but taken off of the stove all together and shoved into the back corner of the freezer.
That didn't happen this year. I committed to setting aside time for my writing work. I got shit done, and it felt pretty glorious. When I look at the list of achievements for 2016, it's actually pretty impressive.
- I finished the polishes on Evin
- Evin got published--my first ever published novel
- Had semi-regular writing group meetings
- I re-outlined and redrafted Delphinus
- And outlined and drafted its prequel
- I finished two rounds of revisions on Delphinus
- According to my Magic Spreadsheet count, I wrote almost 150,000 words
- I managed to keep up with this blog for most of the year (and I'm notoriously bad about abandoning blogs)
So, yeah. As far as writing goes, 2016 was one for the books. But I don't want to rest on my laurels. I don't want this to be the one productive year that I get.
I've been thinking about what I want for my writing career, such as it is, and what I can do in 2017 to keep the momentum and to get closer to my dreams for my writing.
I'm compiling a list of goals for this year. I'm sure the list will change as the months go by, but I wanted to share some of what I plan to do to keep myself on track this year. Maybe these goals are relevant to you, too.
- Finish the next round of edits for Delphinus and send it back out to test readers
- Attend at least one writing conference and try to do some in-person pitching
- Continue writing group meetings and participate in more local writer events
- Do author events--a couple of signings are already in the works, but I want to make it to at least one convention in 2017 as well
- Send out more queries in batches of four. Review the manuscript and responses after rejections to determine if there are patterns in how agents/editors are responding
- Do round one revisions on the prequel and get it sent to beta readers
- Outline trilogy's third book
- Draft trilogy's third book
- Finish drafts of two short stories
- Continue regular blog posts
As difficult as 2016 was, it was the turning of a new leaf for me as far as my writing goes. I have high hopes for 2017.
In the meantime, I have work to do.
Happy New Year.