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Reflection on 2016 and Goals for 2017

Wow. 2016 is OVER.

I know for a lot of my friends in the Denver writing community 2016 was awful, just awful. Professional setbacks, personal loss and a lot of fear for the future. I too, had my setbacks, professionally and personally. Some of my relationships frayed.

Zombie panel, Denver Comic Con

I even stopped talking to a dear friend and mentor in January of 2016 and haven’t heard from that person since. This doesn’t even begin to talk about all the talented people we lost last year, either.

3 generations of Star Wars women

Remember though, darkness is not the negation of light, but its absence. If you look for them, you’ll find little points of

light illuminating the way.

 

For me, 2016 was a very good year for my writing career. I made some wonderful acquaintances and had some great experiences. But enough vagaries. Let’s review.

 

Cutest Wonder Woman Evah!

At the end of 2015 I wrote on this blog that my goal for 2016 was to write four 85,000+ word novels for the year. I also said I would write four short stories and get one of those books published. I did not complete any of those goals.

This is what I did do:

Did a complete re-write of my first novel, The Gallowglass (pronounced gallowglauw). It was 109,100 words long.

I wrote a second novel. This one a thriller set during the Crusades. I call it Jerusalem’s Menace. It was 99,000 long.

I wrote three short stories. Of those three, two got published in anthologies.

 

So that’s pretty good, right? I completed about half my goals. Not bad, but not great.

As I was going through all of my writing this year, I started adding up words. Here is what I realized.

RMFW Christmas Party 2016
WRITING PROJECTS WORD TOTAL
The Gallowglass 109,1000
Jerusalem’s Menace 99,343
The Setting Sun of Empire Short Story (pre-edits) 12,147
Answering the Bell Short Story (pre-edits) 10,462
Hero Maker Short Story (pre-edits) 6,822
All blogging 7,785
Failed Nanowrimo Novel 3012

 

Grand Total of words written in 2016                                                                                   248,671 words

 

I know I’m under about 1,500 words but I’ll take it. I wrote around a quarter of a million words in 2016. That is HUGE! When I added the numbers up I kept double checking and still came up with this. I was simply blown away.

 

But this was just the beginning of my successes in 2016. Here are a list of the others:

 

  • I joined Belmar Critique Group.
  • I taught a class called How to Write Authentic African-American Characters for both the Pike Peak Writers summer Write Brain program and the RMFW Gold Conference.
  • Lead or sat on seven panels at Denver ComicCon this year.
  • I had two agents request two full manuscripts and a third agent ask for three chapters of each novel.
  • Had a class on Renaissance costuming accepted for the 2017 Historical Novel Society Convention in Portland.
  • I became a regular blogger for Pikespeakwriters.blogspot.com.
  • Had The Setting Sun of Empire accepted into Penny Dread V Anthology by RuneWright Press.
  • Had my first literary story, Answering the Bell, accepted into a charity anthology entitled Shatter Your Image,
  • Finally, the thing I am most proud of, Nikki Ebright asked me to join her non-profit, Shiny Gardens. Shiny Gardens will now support Nikki in running Myth & Legends Con, as well as several other events planned for the future.
Apparently someone took the neighborhood kids to see Mad Max

Looking back, I can honestly say some amazing things happened to me. I made relationships with writers and editors. I reached out and took advantage of opportunities. Most importantly, I tried to give back.

I have found that the more positive I am, the more I am willing to work, and the more I am willing to help, the more successful I will be. I can’t believe I’ve figured this out at 46, instead of 26, but better late than never.

I could be sad or angry or bitter about the things I failed at, or I can learn from them. I can look forwards and see the road to professional writer open in front of me. I can be upset about the things I didn’t do and didn’t get, or I can make a plan and work. I choose the latter.

 

 

 

So what’s going on in 2017? OK, here are my goals for this year:

 

  • Write two novel length projects, 85K+ each.
  • Write two 20k-50k novella/short novel length projects.
  • Blog once a week on my site.
  • Write six short stories, from 3-6K.

 

Hail Hydra!
Susan Spann autographed my Book!!!

There is a saying that you have to write a million words before you get any good at it. Whether it was David Eddings, Jerry Pournelle, or Ray Bradbury who said it, is inconsequential. If it’s true, then I will be half way to a million words by the end of 2017.

I have some other writing-related goals as well. I want to attend the following conferences:

  • Historical Novel Society Convention
  • Pikes Peak Writers Convention
  • Colorado Gold Conference
  • Romance Writers of America Conference
The Fetching Mrs. Evans, side profile!

Yes. I want to attend RWA Conference this summer. I literally don’t know how this is going to happen, but I am putting it out there. I wanna run with the big dogs and the big dogs run at RWA.

I hope you continue to follow me on my blog. If you can’t come back regularly, then sign up for my email list. If you choose to join, I’ll reach out about once a month with updates on where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing.

 

2017 looks to be amazing!

 


2 Comments

  1. All-in-all, it sounds to me like you had a great year for 2016. You definitely succeeded more than I did. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you fulfill your goals for 2017. You’re one of the most motivated people I know, quite an inspiration for me. So keep your head up, feel proud of what you’ve done, and what you will do soon.

    • Thanks man. A lot of the time, I feel like one of Cortez’s soldiers. We’ve landed in Mexico and he burns the ships. Ain’t no going back, so I might as well go forward.

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