2016 was a disappointing year on so many fronts for so many people. I got through it better than most, although I need to remember to leave outrage and justifiable anger to folks who are better qualified to wield them, no matter how good it feels to be part of the crowd … erm mob. From a publishing standpoint, 2016 was a disappointment with only one paying gig for the year. Lots of rejections, but all from top-flight publications. From a writing standpoint, I did not write as much as I should have, but felt better about what I did write.
For 2017, I am going to try things a little differently and pull back from my desire to have my work published. I spent too much time in 2016 chasing random anthology calls, spending time stories designed to fit the desired subject matter for a book I wanted to end up in. What I ended up with were a bunch of half-written, half-assed stories that I didn’t truly want to write in the first place. I have a couple of stories that I am working on at the moment without any idea where I could place them. But it frees me up to write the stories I want to write at whatever length it takes to tell those stories.
In terms of concrete goals, I have set a daily word count of 500 words. Can be for a short story, blog post, essay, Novel #2 or the rewrite of Novel #1. I will also read at least one short story or novel chapter each day. I don’t have the stones to take up the “Story a Week” challenge with Jess McHugh and the folks at This Is Horror but do I plan to write at least one new short each month, with a blog post at least once a week. I’d also like to have the rewrite of Novel #1 completed before the end of the year.
In September, I will be taking Richard Thomas’ new 16 week Contemporary Dark Fiction course. 16 weeks of lectures, analysis of 16 short stories and 4 novels, writing 4 short stories with critiques and analysis. A bit imposing and there are some impressive pub creds amongst my fellow students, but I am going to give it my best shot and try to make the most of an amazing (and affordable) opportunity.