beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
Every year, I update my website journal with a new page for the new year. It's a time for taking stock, for looking back at the old year, and forward into the new.

So. 2014. It wasn't an awful year for me, personally. But wow, it did have its challenges. (Newbie. Unsales. Bronchitis.) It also had some splendid moments. (London!! RT Nomination for The Time Roads!!!)

The unsales are disappointing, but I can do something about them. One item, a short story, is already back out on submission. The other item needs a thorough rewrite before it goes out into the world again.

What truly discourages me is how little I wrote last year. I added up all the new work and came up with barely 50K of new work. And nothing new finished. Not only am I someone who *needs* to finish things, I also realized that unless I did finish at least one novel in 2015, my career would lose momentum. Again.

So. What did I accomplish in 2014?

A couple rough chapters for Not-Mansfield-Park
Fourteen edited chapters for Current Novel
Copyedits for The Time Roads (which almost counts as revision)
A thorough rewrite of Nocturnall, the coda story for River of Souls
A rewrite of The Ghost Dragon's Daughter, a short story set in the same world as Fox & Phoenix
A rewrite of chapter one for The Edge of the Empire, a River of Souls novel

See what I mean? I've written more in six months in previous years than I did in 2014. Or even three months. But beating myself up is pointless. Better to cast the old year aside and do better in the new.

To that end, I've made a few specific writing goals for 2015, and some sketchy plans that depends on how those first few goals pan out. They all can be summarized by "Finish things. But don't burn myself out. Take joy in the writing."

Speaking of which, I have a couple edits to finish up, and a new chapter to start.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
Every January I write a brief summary of the previous year. It helps me focus on what I have achieved, which in turn lets me sift through the noise of every day life so I can (if only for a day) figure out what I want to achieve next.

Just to add a few more details:

  • Last year, I wrote somewhere around 120K words. One novel (Queen's Hunt) and one new novelette ("Jump to ZIon"), and the first chapter for Allegiance.

  • Sales were few but significant. One short story collection (A Handful of Pearls & Other Stories), one YA novel (Fox & Phoenix).

  • Stories in print were also a bit scarce, but again, they marked new milestones for me. My first chapbook (Ars Memoriae) came out from PS Publishing, and my story "Air and Angels" appeared in Rich Horton's Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy
.
That was nine. For ten, my goals are pretty much what I described in my linked post. If all that talk about contracts and deadlines sounds dry, it isn't dry to me. It means books—books edited to make them better, books printed and showing up in bookstores. And to me that's magic.

goals...

Jan. 3rd, 2009 10:04 am
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
...they are few in number, but large in effort.

Finish QUEEN'S HUNT by summer. Doable, I think, especially now that I've locked the previous version in time-vault set to open no earlier than January 32, 3030. Am also trying to suppress major anxiety over this one. (The anxiety doesn't stop me from writing, however.)

Get a final draft of FOX & PHOENIX to my agent, thence to the editor who has currently has the partial. Blurry visions of a sequel have started to haunt me, but I won't do anything unless the first book sells. Right now, I'm convinced I should never write YA again.

One short story. Most likely this would be the fourth and final story in the Eireann series, told from the queen's POV, and finally dealing with the Anglian question. Fred handed me notes for this one a couple months ago.

Make a dent in ALLEGIANCE, the third book in my Erythandran series.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
Last year, in seven, I set myself a very few writing goals--finish my Eireann novella, finish the pirate novel, start a new novel. I met all those goals and a few things more. I also signed with an agent, who sold the first three novels in my fantasy series, and I made several shiny short story sales on my own.

So seven was good.

For eight, my goals are shaped by the novel sales. Revise the first novel according to editorial notes, rework the second novel's plot and finish at least half the new draft before year's end. I also have a few more want-to-do items, but everything else needs to fit in and around the first two.

And now, to start writing...

goals

Jan. 3rd, 2007 07:25 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (sepia woman)
Finish a submission-ready version of the second story in my Eireann series. (There are three planned. The first appeared last year in Asimov's.) First draft is currently with readers.

Finish a new version of another story that's currently with a reader. After that, no more new short stories until I finish at least one novel. Speaking of which...

Finish at least one novel project, and submit to editors. That work starts today. I have two in progress. The pirate novel has more editors asking about it, plus more existing material, so I'll start there and see what happens.

Write plot notes for a YA novel, set in the same world as my Pig, Crane, Fox story. (Fred handed me a glimmer of an idea.)

I could probably add more goals about finding an agent, or making another Asimov's-level sale, or even placing the current novel that's making the rounds, but those are out of my hands. All I can do is write and query and submit. Ditto the more concrete goals of finishing a second novel, etc. because things change. Last year I intended to finish one novel. Didn't happen because a number of short stories ambushed me, and I let them. (And I'm glad I did.)

So. Onward.

Renewal

Jan. 8th, 2005 04:43 pm
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue unicorn)
It happens every year. I slog through the grim dark month of December, only to arrive in January feeling renewed. Which is strange, because in spite of the gradually lengthening days, January usually brings nasty slushy icy weather. (Like today's.)

But anyway. I'm here and making progress on my goals for the year. Work on my novel WIP is going better than I feared. I applied to the Oregon Coast Short Story Workshop. They've accepted me, and I'm looking forward to having my writing dissected. Though I've made little more progress on my Poison novel, I am reading more Indian folktales and mythology. Of course I continue to obsess about editors and submissions, but hey, I'm a writer. :)

So. Onward into the light.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (sepia woman)
I don't often make New Year's Resolutions. Rather, I tend to spread my resolutions through the year. And though it might sound odd, I also give myself permission to fail. It's a question of mental trickery. If I lambaste myself for failing, I get too discouraged to try again (soon, anyway). As the Grand Master told us before our black belt test, "We're human, so we're imperfect. We expect you to make mistakes. Part of the test is how you handle those mistakes."

So, instead of resolutions, some goals:
  • Finish the current draft for "In the Presence of Her Enemies" (the second novel in the series I'm writing). How soon and how fast I finish depends on what happens with the first volume (currently with a couple editors), but I would like to finish the draft no matter what.

  • Get at least half of my Poison novel finished. Rough or polished or somewhere in between -- the level of draft doesn't matter. I want to anchor this story in my mind.

  • Find a short-story workshop that's doable. Clarion and Odyssey both sound lovely, but taking six weeks out of my life is just not possible. I might be able to swing one week, or a long weekend. A correspondence course would be even better. The point is to stop making writing exercises with lovely prose, and to start making real short stories.
Yes, it's a short list, but long detailed lists don't survive the first three months, I've found -- especially when it comes to writing. However, I would like to add a few more goals, ones only tangentially related to writing:
  • Take care of myself, mind and body. That means make time for karate, for eating the right things, for getting enough sleep. I started doing that last spring, and it's made a huge difference this winter.

  • Remember drawing. I used to be an artist -- that was how I defined myself. Since I took up family and writing and other activities, I've neglected all my drawing, to the point where I fear I can't do it anymore. It's time and past time to recover that part of myself.

  • Try one new thing.

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