The Year in Review – 2016

We’ll ignore the obvious cheap jabs at this wretched year, because this is supposed to be a recap of my writing year. Though let me state for the record I have not forgiven 2016 for Bowie, Rickman or Prince. [1]

I hope this gratuitous animal photo will hold off the darkness, if only for the briefest of moments

It’s not been a bad year, all things considered.

I had three short stories published in various venues:

I came second in a writing competition, with ‘The Nature of Monkey’ (which you can read right here).

And I had a couple of stories accepted for anthologies, though they won’t come out until next year at the earliest. Come to think of it, next year might make me look rather more prolific than I really am, since I am expecting a couple of old sales to finally show up in print early in 2017.

I wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped. I only finished two new stories to completion – one of them was ‘The Nature of Monkey’ and the other was a complete rewrite of an old story. I had couple of stories in my ‘To Finish’ pile all year, but haven’t got around to the final polish. Maybe after the Weekend of Festive Feasting.

In ongoing projects, I’ve written five pieces of Orphans’ Moon, the serial adventure I’m sending to readers on my email list. There’s a lot more to go on that one.

And I’ve hand-written several thousand words of a fantasy adventure codenamed Chrysanthemum in my notebook; that one is my project for when I have a few free minutes here and there, so it has progressed at a pace of 250 words or so at a time for most of this year.

And of course I have been editing my novel A Flash of Black Wings on and off all year, but it, too, is nowhere near ready.

Listing it all out makes it look like I’ve had a busy time of it, but I confess I’m a tad disappointed. I had hoped to be very focused on finishing things and getting them out into the world. Instead I’ve floundered and become distracted and wandering off-script more times than I can count.

I shouldn’t complain too much. Both of the pieces I finished were unplanned distractions. Without them I might have had nothing new to show for the year.

As I mentioned in my post about taking stock, I’ve started making plans for 2017. Reflecting on my output for the year, my disappointment about the low number of new short stories will definitely plan into my goals for next year.

I’m already thinking about ways to balance my novel projects with shorter pieces; part of that will be trying to work out a budget. This year I have been tracking word counts vs how many hours I’ve worked. As a result I have a pretty good idea of how fast I work in various forms – writing fiction vs writing blog posts vs editing. Those metrics will form a good basis for estimating how long it will take me to complete new work.

Then, because I am wracked with bloody-minded contrariness, I will try to beat my own estimates. Nothing is more satisfying than setting a challenging target and then crushing it. Basically, if I can be said to have a work ethic at all, it can be summed up by this Simpsons quote:

Principle Skinner: Oh, licking envelopes can be fun! All you have to do is make a game of it.
Bart: What kind of game?
Principle Skinner: Well, for example, you could see how many you could lick in an hour, then try to break that record.
Bart: Sounds like a pretty crappy game to me.
Principle Skinner: Yes, well… Get started.

Yes. Well. Time to get started.

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[1] Or Lemmy. Or Leonard Cohen, or Victoria Wood, or Jon English, or Darwyn Cooke, or Steve Dillon, or Jerry Doyle or… Oh hell, this has been a rain of excrement, hasn’t it?[2]
[2] At least it looks like Carrie Fisher will pull through... No, I spoke too soon. Damn this year.


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3 Responses to The Year in Review – 2016

  1. I hear you! 12 months gone and so much could have been achieved (by me, anyway.) Let us go forth and flagellate ourselves at the altar of the muses.

    Here’s to 2017, a year of publication and vanquishing of writerly goals.

    As for the deaths, I say ‘Bah! Humbug!’ to The Grim Reaper. Less take, more give, Sir!


    P.S. Your newsletter link isn’t working. I thought I’d signed up but haven’t received anything, so I’ll resign.

  2. Hmmm, looks like your newsletter link is working now. Must have a been a temporary glitch at my end.

  3. Lexifab says:

    Oh, thank goodness I didn’t see your comments until after the second one came through. I probably would have spent the evening staring at my website dashboard, frowning helplessly and conspicuously failing to work out what the problem was.

    I think my muses have seen enough self-flagellation to last them a while. I might try listening to them a bit more in 2017 πŸ™‚

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