beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
Last year, I set only three writing goals for myself. One the one hand, I only accomplished two of them. On the other hand, I really like what I did accomplish:

  • There's the new version of the pirate novel, which I had to rewrite from the ground up. Several chapters proved to be very thorny (I'm looking at you, chapter 10), several new chapters showed up, and the entire second half needed rethinking.

  • Then there's Not!Sherlock, which went out on submission in February, got a revise and resubmit from an amazing publisher in May, and is now awaiting final word from that same publisher.

There was more, but those are the highlights. There were also two fabulous vacations, one medical curveball, my first tattoo, and a promotion at the dayjob.

Here is where I usually list my goals for the New Year. And usually life hands me a plot twist that upends those goals. This year? Even more uncertain than ever. Everthing depends on whether Not!Sherlock sells. Or the pirate novel. (Or both!) But if I had to pick a few goals, I'd choose:

  • Write at least one chapter of Not!Mansfield Park

  • Write one novella in my River of Souls world

  • Release new editions of Passion Play and Fox & Phoenix, print and e-book, with new covers and lower prices for the e-books

Low key goals, but goals that are important to me. Let's see how it goes...
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Fractal Star)
This last year set a record for changes, most of them good ones, several daunting, and all of them necessary.

For the first half of 2015, I switched to part-time status at the dayjob so I could finish my Not!Sherlock novel. We had to juggle the budget a bit, but the result was definitely worth it. Those two extra days each week gave me the space and quiet to finish this novel, with characters I love to pieces, and with time left over for my family.

The first half of the year, I also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Nocturnall, the coda story to my River of Souls books. My goal was to raise enough money to create a professional publication, including custom artwork, a professionally designed cover and interior, and a special print edition for my supporters. I am deeply satisfied with the results, especially that readers can now see Ilse and Raul as they were meant to be.

There were some major changes, as well. I quit my job at the contract firm and started a new one at the University of Connecticut. I'm still a web developer, but now I have minions. (Plus real benefits!) I also parted ways with my agent. She's done many wonderful things for me over the years, but as time passed, we no longer meshed in several key ways.

All those changes—the new job with new responsibilities, the various self-publishing experiments—took up much of my writing time, but I still managed to accomplish a few things:

  • My Not!Sherlock novel complete and ready for the world (plus notes for two sequels)

  • My coda story, Nocturnall, released into the world as an e-book in December

  • My LGBTQA geek girl story, The Ghost Dragon's Daughter, expanded by several thousand words and released as an e-book in October with its own custom cover

  • Seven chapters of The Edge of the Empire ripped to pieces and put back together with one new character and a strong voice for my main character
So what about 2016?

I've learned not to overplan, but I have two goals I want to accomplish. The first is to finish revising The Edge of the Empire. I'm on target to accomplish that by late March/early April. The second is to write a first draft of my Not-Mansfield-Park novel, the one with magic and polyamory. After that? It all depends on the wild and wooly world of publishing.
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 (Rose Fractal)
...of the old year.

I'm spending this last week editing chapters of Current Novel. Tidying up, as it were. Come New Year's Day, I'll start the next new chapter.

And the next year will be a new chapter, in so many ways. I'm switching to part-time at my dayjob for the first six months. I'm switching to a pen name for Current Novel, which itself is very different from the kind of books I usually write.

At the same time, I haven't abandoned my old self. I have plans to revise my fourth River of Souls novel and send that out to publishers. And I haven't forgotten my Not-Mansfield-Park project, which is my old friend historical fantasy, this time with magic and polyamory.

That's next year. For now, I'm content to work through this transitional week in quiet tasks and spending time with my family.

sigh

May. 15th, 2014 09:16 pm
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (three stars)
This has been a long, horrible, and emotionally exhausting day.

Mostly because other people have been given to unwarranted drama.

Am considering whether to take my LJ to friends-only for a bit. Maybe tomorrow. Right now I need to take an Advil and curl up with kittens and a book.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
I'm in my office writing ALLEGIANCE, which is all about how the end of one story carries the seeds for the next. Just so the old year dies, and dying, makes possible the new.

So. Last year.

Last year was not a bad year. It had its share of stress and tedium and frustration. (The mountains of snowfall last winter. The three months of hellish commute. Selling house. Moving house. One hurricane, and one freakish snow storm, both with many days of power outage.) It also had some lovely shiny moments. (M's high school graduation. M in college. Passion Play winning the RT Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Epic Fantasy.)

Things accomplished? Not nearly as much as I wanted.

Fox & Phoenix went through copyedits, galley proofs, and is now a Real Book.

A Handful of Pearls & Other Stories re-released in e-book form by me. I'm pleased with the cover design, and I learned a lot about making e-books.

Pig, Crane, Fox, the short story that comes before Fox & Phoenix, also re-released in e-form.

But what about new short stories? you ask. What about writing novels?

That's the problem. I wrote no new short stories in 2011. I did make progress on ALLEGIANCE, but not nearly as much as I wanted. (See above about hellish commute and moving house.) I also wrote notes for two new novels: a sequel to FOX & PHOENIX and a stand-alone fantasy that I'm calling Mansfield Park with polyandry and magic. And just a few days ago, I wrote notes for a short story in the world of the Seventy Kingdoms.

And there you have the seeds for my next year. I'll finish ALLEGIANCE and send that to my editor. While she's going to work with her red pen, I'll write the short story and send that to its intended market. And once ALLEGIANCE is well and truly delivered, I have seeds for more novels. I might plant them in 2012 or not, but at least I know I have them.

2008

Dec. 28th, 2008 05:06 pm
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Default)
  • Wrote and sold two new novelettes, "Air and Angels" (Subterranean, Spring 2008) and "The Golden Octopus" (Postscripts #15).

  • Sold reprint of "The Golden Octopus" to Rich Horton's Science Fiction: The Best of the Year.

  • Sold reprint of "Air and Angels" to Rich Horton's Unplugged: The Year's Best Fiction.

  • Also sold "Air and Angels" to a (forthcoming) Best of Subterranean Online anthology.

  • Sold a reprint of "A Handful of Pearls" to Apex Digest.

  • Saw in print "Pig, Crane Fox: Three Hearts Unfolding" (Magic in the Mirrorstone) and "Shopping Spree" (Baen's Universe, August 2008), which I'd sold in previous years.

  • Finished editoral revisions for PASSION PLAY and received the delivery/acceptance check.

  • Finished a first and second draft of FOX & PHOENIX.

  • Made a dent in QUEEN'S HUNT, the second book in my Erythandran Series, forthcoming from Tor.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (tea cup)
One sale to Interzone last week.

One story moved from slush to "recommended" at Baen's Universe. (I resubmitted my story from last year, which I'd withdrawn during the buying freeze. It's back in its old place in the queue.)

One story awaiting results from the Best Fantastic Erotica Contest. (The guidelines say the TOC will be announced by February 14th, so not long to wait.)

One novel coming up on its one-year anniversary with a publisher. It's on the editor's desk, and she has "the best intentions" of reading it soon. ::cries in frustration::

Nowordyet from the current agent reading the full ms.

Hmmmm. Down to two stories and one novel making the rounds. I see a need to finish more projects. (She says, writing about pirates as fast as she can.)

2005 Stats

Jan. 5th, 2006 07:15 pm
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (book love)
I don't usually write a stats post, but this past year, I had the sense of "not enough accomplished," so I'm writing down the stats to see how the numbers compare to my impressions.

So... )
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (terpischord)
(1) New short-short written today
(8) Short story submissions out to various markets
(2) Partials requested by agents
(4) Queries out to other agents
(2) Partials with publishers
(1) Novel in progress
(3) Novels awaiting their turn at revision
(6) More novels on the drawing board

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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