Hard to believe, but it is now 2011! I remember as a child watching a show called Beyond 2000 and I assumed that by now we would all be using jetpacks or living under the oceans. While this is not quite the case, it has been an exciting year for me in many ways and I thought I would run briefly through some of the highs and lows, and talk about my goals for the coming year.
It may seem a little pointless as I think my reading audience is about one (including me) but I did learn a very important lesson this year. After talking about it for a long time I got serious about weight loss, and as of today I have lost 20kg. The only way I was able to do this was by putting my goals out there, committing them to paper (virtual or otherwise) and creating that accountability so I, and others, could see if I had met them or not. So, even for my own purposes I am going to externalise my goals so that I have something to look back on and measure myself against.
But first…the Highs and Lows.
My First Sale!
My First Rejection!
That may seem a strange “high point”, but the rejection letter I received for my first submission was incredibly encouraging, and made me believe that I can right at the required level to get published.
Meeting one of my writing heroes, George R.R. Martin.
You can read all about it here. This was an incredibly inspiring experience for me. To meet one of my writing heroes was great, to find that he was a great person as well as a writer was even better.
My First Convention
See the link above, but I will add that if you want inspiration to knuckle down and write, a convention is just the thing to get you fired up.
Getting involved with writing groups
I have been fortunate enough to become a member of a few crit groups, one online and one “face to face” group. It has been a pretty steep learning curve, seeing how other writers work and learning how to provide constructive yet brutally honest feedback. It is also a great chance to meet other people with the same passions as me, some who are at the some stage as me, some much further along.
It’s part of life as a writer and something you have to deal with, but I am not sure it is ever something you get used to. When you put so much of yourself into something and then put it in the hands of someone else, it is quite crushing when for whatever reason it is judged not good enough. Often, because of the sheer volume of submissions the most you get is a form letter, so you are left wondering what it was that was wrong with the story. Then there is the waiting, the longest period I waited was 151 days, which doesn’t help because you spend your time alternating between hope and resignation.
But, as I said, it really is just part of being a writer. And there is often a positive, when you do get an encouraging personal note from the editor, explaining that it was simply a case of too many submissions or letting you know you made through several cuts, which makes you feel like you are getting somewhere with the quality of your writing. Being in the top 20 or 50 of 200+ submissions is better than simply being slush.
I try and remember the positives, but in a week like the one where I received 3 rejections it can get a little discouraging.
There have been a few markets last year where I have had great story ideas but just never found time to get them into submission ready state. It’s one thing when you don’t find time for valid reasons, but another when it is a case of just not getting around to it. That is very disappointing from a personal point of view, and simply not good enough.
GOALS FOR 2011
I have divided this into two categories, things I can control and things that are out of my control. The first are things I that I need to make sure I do, and the second are things that I am aiming for, but all I can do is ensure I make my best possible effort and see how it goes. In July I will look back and see how I went. If I haven’t achieved all the ones in the first category I will have no one to blame but myself.
- One blog post a week, minimum
- 5000 words a week, minimum
- 1st draft of my novel ready for critting by end of July
- Pieces submitted to each on my list of target markets
- Make it to at least one convention
- Make my first Australian Sale (Aurealis, ASIM, Midnight Echo etc)
- First Pro Sale (FS&F, Analog etc)
Hopefully this post will give me something to measure my progress against, and when I look back I will be able to tick each off with a great degree of satisfaction.