With NaNoWriMo over and the busy holiday season underway, December is a good time to sit back and take stock of the previous year’s writing accomplishments, and think about next year’s writing goals.
This year I submitted quite a few short stories to magazines, online or otherwise, and though nothing came of them except rejection notices, I’m proud of actually having done something with those stories that have been lying around for awhile. One of them came quite close; it made it to the second round of consideration for publication, and though it didn’t make the final cut, it’s encouraging.
I did accomplish my very first publication this year with my essay The Birth of Courage, for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible. It’s an essay on my reaction to and acceptance of my daughter Lilly’s spina bifida diagnosis at birth. It’s not my usual kind of writing, but when I saw the call for submission for this particular Chicken Soup book, I knew I had to write it. It came from my heart, and I’m proud of it.
I also started this blog, something I thought I’d never do, but it’s turned out to be a fun and interesting way of expanding my writing journey. I’m learning to put myself out there, I’m meeting new people through blogging, and I’m getting familiar with various forms of social media. It’s been a bit bewildering, but I’m starting to get the hang of it. I think.
I finished the rough draft a NaNo novel, and have lots of ideas for continuing the story. I can’t wait to get back to it, actually, but first, a few things:
This week, I’m taking a free revising course run by Joan Dempsey and Jane Friedman called Revise Your Writing. I’ve taken a revision course with Joan before, and learned a lot of new ways to look at my writing objectively. This is an abbreviated version, and I’m looking forward to refreshing my memory on a subject I’ve struggled with for a long time. I’m hoping to use these revising methods on a novella I wrote some time ago and plan on submitting it to a publication where I think it will fit. I’d like that done by the end of the year.
In January, more submitting of stories that have been previously rejected. Sometimes it seems there’s no point in resubmitting. My thinking goes, It’s been rejected already, that must mean it stinks. Who else would want it? But I’m trying to stay positive, and remember that publication is often just a numbers game, or that the story simply didn’t fit the magazine. Think Possible!
I’d also like to take a writing course taught by a short story writer named Cat Rambo called Literary Techniques for Genre Writers. I’ve read a few of her excellent flash fiction stories over at Daily Science Fiction, and she’s a Nebula and World Fantasy Award nominee. It’s an at-your-own pace course, and very affordable, two things that recommend it to me! I’ll write about both courses on this blog and tell you what I learned.
And after that, maybe a new short story, and getting back to the novel.
So that’s my end-of-year writing review and 2016 plan. And as always, the plan changes as I go along, kind of like straying from the outline of a story. It’s not written in stone, and sometimes the detour is worth it.