A new year has arrived. Normally this is a cause for pausing and reflecting on everything that came the year before, the good and the bad, and setting goals for the next one to come. But after watching the world lurch hard to the right, watching thinly masked racists gain power as they threaten to destroy the hard work we’ve done to create a more just and equitable society, both socially and economically, during the past century, well… let’s just focus on what a good year it was for me personally and what I plan to do next year.
I wrote 352,000 words last year. At no time did I feel overwhelmed or stressed, it became simply “what I do” every day. I finished one novel that I think has real potential on re-write to be good and publishable, started several others that have the potential to be taken to completion, and wrote a number of short stories. I still remain unpublished as of today, but I don’t think that’s from lack of decent writing. At least one of my stories has received several highly positive rejections (ie, “really liked this story, but not quite right for us at this time”). So I think I’m on the cusp of the beginnings of a career doing what I love and will keep pushing forward.
This year I was going to set a new goal. But, I’ve decided the only goal I need to worry about is writing every day, whatever I’m moved to write. Whether short stories or novels, the goal is to get up, get some words down on paper, get some short stories finished (let’s say at least ten this year) and try to finish another novel. But just write every day, at least six days a week. I’ve put off going back to class this spring so I can focus on paying down some debt this year, so there’s no reason I can’t find time to write.
The other goal I’ll stick to is going to at least one writing conference this year. I had hoped to participate in Clarion this year, but the cost is prohibitive, both in terms of price to attend as well as the loss in income that will happen because my vacation time only covers half of it, and the other half would be three unpaid weeks away from work. So maybe another year or two, possibly three. If I’m still struggling to get anything published in 2020, that’s when I’ll make every effort to attend.
So, with that in mind, we’ve already registered for and will be attending the September 9th Chesapeake Writing Workshop in Arlington, Virginia. It’s a one day event and on a Saturday, so that makes it very doable, and the price was affordable. Both Jen and I will go and will take part in the all day workshops, a choice of three during each block of workshops all day. We’ll try to attend different ones as much as possible to give us a broad overview of things. I’ve also signed up for a Pitch Session with an agent, a ten minute chance to pitch the novel and get their thoughts, and I’ve also signed up for a ten-page critique with a faculty member of the novel. Hopefully that will give me a good overview of where I’m landing in terms of the work itself as well as how I’m presenting myself to the world of publishing.
So welcome, 2017. I expect you to be a hard year as the forces of right-wing corporate oligarchy interests try to take over the world and reduce us all the wage slaves, merely thankful for the opportunity to be shit on by the wealthy. We’ll fight against that of course, and are ready to try and take back the world for the liberal interests that we were founded on (and yet always seem to forget are our ideals).
Happy New Year, everyone!